Nicholas Simpson

String Quartet no.2

duration: 25 minutes

String Quartet No.2

Originally written in 1991, I rewrote substantial parts of this quartet in 1998. There are six movements, each successively increasing in length, and perhaps also depth. Out of the light, pattering music of the first movement emerges a repeated note figure which comes to dominate the piece, appearing in a wide variety of guises: Vivaldi-like pecking in II, lush repeated chords in III, sort-of minimalist syncopations in IV, wild down-bow hacking in V, passionate arabesques in VI. I dislike programme music, and would be irritated to find I'd written some; however I was having a hard time when working on this piece, and it shows. Surrounding the fleeting patches of light are outbursts of strenuous counterpoint, and long passages where the music seems almost to have lost its will to continue. Ooh-er.

Nicholas Simpson
was born in Manchester, and after a brief and inglorious career in pop music took up composition seriously in his mid-twenties. He studied for four years with John Tavener at Trinity College of Music, where he won the Chappell Prize for composition and the Ricordi Prize for conducting (twice). In 1987 he was a finalist in the Yehudi Menhuin and Royal Overseas League competitions, and whilst still a student his first string quartet was given by the Roth Quartet at the Purcell Room. Subsequently he has worked with artists as diverse as the Composers' Ensemble, the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra and the English String Quartet.

Recent performances include a new piece for Andrew Ball, and Cold Epiphany for the European Chamber Ensemble, given in London in 1999. His music has been broadcast in Britain and abroad. An orchestral piece, Your Passacaglia, has just been named joint winner of the Surrey University international composition competition. Nicholas Simpson lives in Manchester with his wife and three children.

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