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Michael Tippett

Born: 1905. Died: 1998. Lived in: England

(Born; London, 2 Jan 1905)died 1998. English composer. He studied with C. Wood and Kitson at the RCM (1923-8), then settled in Oxted, Surrey, where he taught, conducted a choir and began to compose. However, dissatisfaction with his technique led him to take further lessons with Morris (1930-32), and he published nothing until he was into his mid-30s. By then he was conducting at Morley College, of which he became music director in 1940; there he performed his oratorio A Child of our Time (1941), which uses a story of Nazi atrocity but draws no simple moral from it, concluding rather that we must recognize within ourselves both good and evil. Earlier works, like the String Quartet no.1 and the Concerto for double string orchestra, had married Stravinskian neo-classicism with a bounding rhythm that came from the English madrigal, but the oratorio added to these a Baroque concept of form and black spirituals to replace the chorales of a Protestant Passion. It also made clear Tippett's willingness to exert himself in the public world, which he did again as a conscientious objector in 1943 in accepting imprisonment rather than conscription.

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BBC Singers : Choral Images - Sir Michael Tippett : 00  1 CD : Stephen Cleobury : 092

BBC Singers : Choral Images - Sir Michael Tippett

When Sir Michael Tippett first worked with the BBC Singers in 1944, the experience was such that he recalled nearly 50 years later that "It was to be the first of many such occasions when a composer's dreams were brought to fulfillment." Tippett's relationship with the BBC Singers went back to almost the beginning of his career, and he often expressed intense admiration for them. His faith is rewarded here. Now under the Conductor Laureate, Stephen Cleobury, the present-day BBC Singers return the compliment with this program of his works for choir, both unaccompanied and with organ. The plaintive high solo of the Nunc Dimittis, floating above strange middle-range harmonies, soars worlds away from cosy Anglican convention. The 'sprung' rhythms of Dance Clarion Air and The Windhover have a muscular freedom unlike anything in contemporary English music. The strangely irregular figures Tipett waves around the tune in Over the Sea to Skye may seem over-ingenious at first, but by the end their quite hypnotic, at the same time challenging the ear to re-examine a very familiar melody.

Songlist: Dance, Clarion Air, Plebs Angelica, Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis, Unto The Hills, England: Early One Morning, Ireland: Lilliburlero, Scotland: Poortith Cauld, Wales: Gwenlian, Skye Boat Song, The Source, The Windhover, Lullaby, Steal Away, Nobody Knows, Go Down Moses, By and by, Deep River

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8861c | 1 CD | $15.95

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