Sir Michael Tippett

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I am considering ‘dipping my toes’ in Sir Michael Tippett’s symphonies.

Of course, I am careful of picking up bias, but I think there is a large hole in my ‘British Composers’ that needs at least some plastering over if not filling well.

Any opinions on Tippett?



[There are many other areas I could could beneficially explore: Britten, Elgar, Brian, but many have at least a little content.]
 

JANDL100

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I find Tippett symphonies difficult. I keep occasionally trying, but to little avail.

A more interesting obscure British composer for me is Malcolm Arnold. His symphonies are all interesting, the 1st is a total masterpiece imo, just incredible. My favourite recording of it is on Chandos.
 
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bohemian

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I agree with your view of Arnold - I have the first four symphonies on Naxos (Charity Shop finds).
But no Tippett.
 

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rabski

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Another to add to the infrequently mentioned list? Sir Arnold Bax.

I'm afraid I struggle with Tippett as well.
 

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Tippett, wonderful composer once you get into his sound world. For an easy introduction try his Concerto for Double String Orchestra, particularly the sublime slow movement.

In general his music can sound a tad “spiky” but it is full of vitality and colour. His string quartets are magnificent with some exquisite slow movements. Definitely a composer that is worth persevering with; after a while you’ll wonder why he is regarded as “difficult”.
 
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JANDL100

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Inspired by this thread, I've been trying Tippett again.
String quartets and a symphony or so.
My problem remains, it's not spikiness. It doesn't actually sound especially spikey to me. It just seems structureless and random. And the overall "sound world" doesn't appeal, I don't find it attractive or interesting.
Damn. Must try harder.
It annoys me when I can't get into what others enjoy! I feel I'm missing out.

But yes, the concerto for double string orchestra is nice. I guess I regard Tippett as a one hit wonder!
 

Fazioli

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Of Tippett's works for orchestra I would agree the Concerto for Double String Orchestra is an excellent introduction to his orchestral music. I would also suggest you try: Fantasia Concertante on a theme of Corelli, Divertimento"Sellinger's Round" for Chamber Orchestra, Piano Concerto (1953), Ritual Dances from The Midsummer Marriage and many enjoy his work for choir and orchestra A Child of our Time with its use of spirituals . As for the symphonies, I too find them more problematic and harder to get into than other British symphonic composers, but like many worthwhile things they take repeated listening to absorb and enjoy their style.
 

bohemian

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@rabski I would agree with there too. I bought the Chandos set of symphonies but again it takes work.
 

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Fazioli

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@rabski I would agree with there too. I bought the Chandos set of symphonies but again it takes work.
Yes I agree, it's a good set. People may find his tone poems a good introduction to his style with works such as Tintagel, November Woods, Garden of Fand etc. For LP lovers the earlier Chandos series with Bryden Thomson and the Ulster Orchestra is worthwhile as well as the Lyrita recordings with various conductors still available for beer money prices.
 

musicbox

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I've struggled with his symphonies too, and I'm normally a symphony sort of person..... but I do like his Piano Concerto & Piano Sonatas. And the late work "The Rose Lake" is quite something.
 

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Camverton

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Inspired by this thread, I've been trying Tippett again.
String quartets and a symphony or so.
My problem remains, it's not spikiness. It doesn't actually sound especially spikey to me. It just seems structureless and random. And the overall "sound world" doesn't appeal, I don't find it attractive or interesting.
Damn. Must try harder.
It annoys me when I can't get into what others enjoy! I feel I'm missing out.

But yes, the concerto for double string orchestra is nice. I guess I regard Tippett as a one hit wonder!
Well, if the sound world doesn’t appeal it is difficult to make much headway. Looking back, it is the sound world that has led me into the works of Gubaidulina, Sibelius, Macmillan and many more. On the other hand I’m still not inclined to get to know the music of Richard Strauss, Four Last Songs excepted of course, not to mention the undoubtedly worthy music of Bax.

Fear not, there is structure in his music; it just takes time for it to reveal itself. One hit wonder, Tippett most certainly isn’t!
 
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JANDL100

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Bax took me most of a lifetime to eventually succeed with. But I got there in the end just a few years ago. I really like his symphonies now, especially 1, 2 & 4. And some of the tone poems are quite magical.

I'll pursue some of the Tippett recommendations here, and see if I can find my way in.
If not, maybe next year!
 
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