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Album Title:Royal Winter Music
Artist:Elliot Simpson
Item Code:ALBUM-00401
Label:Soundset Recordings
Performance Type:   Studio Recording
Sub-Genre:20th/21st Century, Guitar


"No notes on the performer, only some rather vague notes from the composer. Who is this person who chose the Royal Winter Music for his debut recording? He is a spectacular player and artist, fully up to the demands of this music. He has an impeccable technique, the intellect to comprehend and convey the works, and enough heart to hear the beauties behind the forbidding exterior.
These two works, described by the composer as “Sonatas on Shakepearean Characters”, are huge, thorny compositions that make tremendous demands on the performer and almost as many on the listener. The opening movement of No. 1, ‘Gloucester’, is particularly harsh, as if to dissuade the timid listener from discovering the often ethereal beauties of some of the inner movements. The first was written for Julian Bream in the 60s, who gave its premiere recording; the second, cut from the same cloth, was written five years later.
Mr Simpson, his website tells us, is from New Mexico and studied with David Tanenbaum at the San Francisco Conservatory (that explains the Henze connection: Tanenbaum’s very fine recording of these works is still available). He did his graduate work at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague under Zoran Dukic, and is currently based in the Hague. This may not be his first recording- the website mentions another devoted to the music of Iranian composer Sabha Aminikia, though the disc is not on the site and appears not to be available. But this is some remarkable music making. Simpson is even more colorful than Tanenbaum, though the mark of his teacher is evident. I also prefer his performance to Franz Halasz on Naxos, though you won’t go wrong with any of the three."

Ken Keaton- American Record Guide