Many who know something about Robert Simpson may not be aware that he had three qualities in one: he was a splendid composer, a splendid writer, and a splendid human being. There are those who have one or two of these, but all three in one person are indeed rare.
I met him in 1971, after I asked his help regarding the music of Havergal Brian. He was generous with information and advice, not only to me but to anyone who wanted to know about Brian. Subsequently I became familiar with Simpson’s music and found it, like Brian’s, unjustly neglected. I wrote about it as a critic but regret not having the time to go into it more deeply. Happily, others have done that. The Robert Simpson Society and Hyperion also deserve much credit for making his music better known to listeners everywhere.
Few living composers have had societies and companies of this calibre devoted to them. No one deserved it more than Robert Simpson. I hope that this kind of enthusiasm and the increasing honour and love for his music made his last, painful years somehow more bearable.
As his old and dear friend the late composer and pianist Harold Truscott might have said, I shall go on admiring Robert Simpson and his activities and creations as long as I can admire anything.
Dr. Paul Rapoport
24 November 1997