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Midsummer marriage
King Priam
The Knot Garden
The Ice Break
A Child of Our Time
A Child of Our Time
The Mask of Time
Symphony no. 1
Symphony no. 2
Symphony no. 3
Symfoni nr. 4
Byzantium
Symphonies  2 & 4
Concerts
Orchestral works
The Rose Lake
Songs
The String Quartets
The Nimbus recordings
Symphony no. 3
Piano Concerto
Symphonies 1 - 3
A child of our time
Midsummer marriage
Chamber music
Ritual dances etc
A Child of our time
Ritual dances etc
Triple concerto etc
Piano concerto etc
Tippett conducts Tippett
Remembering Tippett
Boyhood's end
Choral works
Concerto for double string orchestra
Ritual dances
The piano sonatas

bulletThe midsummer marriage. Lyrita SRCD.2217 (2CD), full price. More info.

This was Tippett's first opera, and in my opinion the best of them all. It's also a very long opera (over 2 1/2 half hours), but it is not too long. It was written during the 50's. I believe this is the only complete recording of this opera, but since this recording is as good as it is, I don't consider that to be a problem. This is a very good recording on all accounts. The sound is very good, and the performances are excellent. Sir Colin Davis is a very good Tippett conductor, and both of his opera recordings are highly recommended. This recording is a must for all who are interested in Tippett's music.

Read a summary here

bulletKing Priam. Chandos CHAN 9406/7 (2CD), full price.Released 1995. More info.

This opera has its story from the Greek mythology and famous Greek characters of that time. It's a "typical" Greek drama. The recording itself is very good, and the same is the sound. I am very pleased with the performance. This is also the only recording available of this opera (as it is with most of his operas). It's a very good opera, and I like it very much. This is maybe not an opera for newcomers in the world of opera, but maybe for those who has heard some before. With its story being as it is, I would love to see this opera on stage. With battles and lots of action, it would be an opera worth seeing.

bulletThe Knot garden & A child of our time. Philips 446 331-2 (2CD), full price. Released 1995. More info

This was Tippett's third opera, and it sound much more "modern and contemporary" than his two first. It also includes some unusual instruments not normally used in an opera. I would prefer his first two opera before this one. I have never enjoyed this opera as much as I have done with the first two. The coupling, on the other hand, is my favourite Tippett composition. I believe he has written nothing more beautiful and moving than his oratorio A child of Our time. This recording is an excellent one. If you don't like this opera, get it anyway. It's a marvellous recording of A child of our time on this CD. So, all in all, this is a highly recommended CDset.

bulletThe Ice break. Virgin Classics 0777 7590482 6, full price. Recorded 1990. Total 74:09. More info.

This is maybe his most controversial opera. He deals with racism and relations between blacks and whites in the USA. His use of language is also rather "colourful". This is the only composition I know of where they sing "You mother-fucking bastard". He also uses several unusual stage effects like sirens and gun shots. This is also a "modern and contemporary" opera, so it isn't as accessible as his two first. I do like this one better than The Knot garden. The subject of this opera is still very important, and will be for a long time (I am afraid).

bulletNew Year

No complete recording yet, only a recording of the suite. Read about this suite some other place on this page. It has been released on video though.

bulletA Child of Our Time. Chandos CHAN 9123, full price. Recorded 1992. More info.

A Child of Our Time is Tippett's most famos work. It's not a very complicated work for the listener, you get fascinated by the first note. His use of negro spirituals is also awesome. Richard Hickox, Chandos and Tippett is a great combination. This is a very good recording and should be in the shelf of every Tippett fan. Also, don't be afraid to get duplicate recordings of this work. It's worth it...

bulletA Child of Our Time. BBC Radio Classics BBCRD 9130, budget price. Released in 1995. More info

This is my third recording of this work. This the cheapest Child I know about but it can be difficult to get hold of. This label has stoped excisting and it's only "leftovers" available today, if you can get it at all. Grab if it you find it in a shop, it's well worth your money. It's a very good recording. The Hickox and Davis recordings are a little bit better though. It's a very recommended CD and it's also a cheaper alternative to the other recordings. If you can find it, that is.

bulletThe mask of time. EMI CMS 7 64711 2 (2CD), mid price. Recorded 1986. More info.

It's difficult to say what kind of composition this is. It's not a mass or an oratorio, Tippett himself called it "for voices and instruments". The work is in two parts, with one more mythological and one more historical. This work is maybe not as accessible as the Child, but it's still very much worth listening to it. It's a very good recording, and you don't hear much audience noise. The sound is also good. Maybe not my favourite Tippett work, but it's still a very good one.

bulletSymphony no.1 & Piano concerto. Chandos CHAN 9333, full price. Recorded 1994. More info

Tippett's first symphony is one of his more accessible pieces. It's a four movement symphony. I have enjoyed this symphony very much, and it's a very good piece of music. I haven't quite got the grip on the piano concert yet, so I won't comment much on it. Hickox's Tippett series on Chandos are very good, and this CD is no exception. It's very good performances from both orchestra and soloist. A highly recommended recording.

bulletSymphony no. 2 & Suite from New Year. Chandos CHAN 9299, full price. Recorded 1994. More info

This is also a traditional four movement symphony. It's also a very accessible piece, so both the First and the Second symphony are works I can recommend to new Tippettians. The other work on this CD is the suite from the opera New Year. It's an opera from the future -Terror town, located "somewhere today". It's a very violent city, and the main characters are trying to cope with life as well as they can. This opera also includes space voyagers, who are there to help the main characters. This opera is very much about violence, and some of the music are rather disturbing. It's not easy to sit and listen to the music when it is characterising someone who are beaten without meaning (blind violence). This suite is based on music from the opera, but is constructed as an independent concert work. I like much of the music, and I am very sorry that there are no recording of this opera yet. This is the only Tippett opera that hasn't been recorded yet. If the opera is as good as the suite, I can really recommend it to everyone! I am deeply impressed with the suite.

bulletSymphony no. 3 & Præludium. Chandos CHAN 9276, full price.Recorded 1993. More info.

Tippett's Third symphony is maybe the most famous of the four. It's in two parts, and includes several unusual features. As far as I know, this is the only symphony that uses blues as a part of the musical language. It's also his only symphony that includes voice. It works very well, and I like it. It's different from his first two symphonies, but Tippett make it work very well. He also quote from Beethoven's 9th symphony, also something that work very well (track 8). I have enjoyed this symphony very much, but not as much as his two first. All in all, a highly recommended CD. The performance is outstanding, as it is with all these four symphony CDs.

bulletSymphony no. 4; Fantasia concertante on a theme of Corelli; Fantasia on a theme of Händel. Chandos CHAN 9233, full price. Released 1993. More info.

Tippett's Fourth symphony is the first Tippett CD I bought, and I haven't regretted it yet. The symphony itself are very good (a one-movement symphony), but the two fantasias are also terrific. I especially like the Corelli fantasy. It's a very beautiful theme, and Tippett does some very good things with it. He uses two short extracts from the first movement of Corelli's Concerto grosso no. 2 in F. It's one of Tippett's most famous pieces. The Händel fantasy is lesser known, but it's also a very good one. It's scored for piano and orchestra. The booklet say nothing were in Händel's music he found the theme. This CD is the one I have been listening most to of the four symphony CDs. It's mostly because of the two fantasias. This is, as with the other three, a highly recommended CD.

bullet Symphony no. 4 & Byzantium. Decca 433 668-2, full price. Released 1993. More info.

This is a very good CD. It opens with Byzantium, a work for orchestra and soprano. It is one of Tippett's late works,  commissioned by the Chicago symphony orchestra in 1991. It was premiered by the same forces who performs on this CD. I like this work very much. Tippett found the lyrics from a poem by W. B. Yates. The other work on this CD is his 4th symphony recorded back in 1979. It's especially fitting that these two works are coupled together as they both were commission by the same orchestra. Solti's 4th is a very good recording and it's highly recommended. If you already have a 4th in your collection buy this CD anyway because of Byzantium. It's worth it.

bulletSymphonies no. 2 & 4. BBC Music Magazine  BBC MM 130. Released 1995. More info

According to the brief introduction to this disc, it's informed that this is the last recordings conducted by the composer himself. That make this disc a historical one. This was the very first Tippett recordings I got. It came with BBC Music Magazine so it might be a little difficult to get hold of it today. I thought this was strange music the first time I listened to it and at the time I hadn't even heard about him at all. I love this music now but I didn't then. It wa a while later that I got to Tippett's music and it was a revelation to go back to this CD and hear what I had been missing. It's a wonderful CD and since it's Tippett himself who conducts, it's essential CDs. I don't know about other symphony recordings by the composer himself.

bulletTriple Concerto and Concerto for Orchestra. Chandos CHAN 9384, full price. Released 1995. More info.

This music is very new to me. I came late to his non-symphonical orchestral works. Late, but good. This is excellent music. It's not boring but full of life and fun. Just listen to the first 40 seconds of the 4th movement of the Triple Concerto and you'll smile too. This is indeed great music. The Concerto for Orchestra is of equal high class. This is Tippett at his best. A highly recommended CD.

bulletVarious orchestral works. Chandos CHAN 9409. Released 1995. More info.

The Divertimento on Sellinger's Round opens this CD and it's so beautiful that it almost brings tears to my eyes. Sellinger's Round is an anonoymous 16th century melody. Tippett's involment with this melody arouse from an occasional piece made for the 1953 Aldeburgh festival. By Britten's initiativ, several composers contributed a variaton on this melody, Britten and Tippett included. Tippett got so fascinated by this that he wanted to compose a major work out of it. The result is breath taking. This is not the only masterpiece on this CD. The other works are also first class. The Concerto for Double String Orchestra is a real gem. So is the Little Music for String Orchestra. I am more reserved about The Heart's Assurance. It's first class recordings and it's a highly recommended CD.

bulletThe Rose Lake & The Vision of St. Augustine. Conifer 7 5605 51304 2. Released 1997. More info

This is a very exciting CD. The Rose Lake is Tippett's very last orchestral work It's actually less than six years since he composed it (premiered May 1993). This work was inspired by a holiday in Senegal in 1990 where he visited the local lake Le Lac Rose (The Rose Lake). This work is not a description of the lake, but more his feelings. It's a marvelous work, it's even more special at his age, he was 88 years old in 1993. No senility there... The other work on this CD, The Vision of St. Augustine. Augustine fascinated Tippett, so it was just right that Tippett wrote music inspired by him. I am not sure whether it's Tippett or Augustine who wrote the lyrics to this work. It's in Latin. It's conducted by the composer and wonderfully sung by John Shirley-Quirk.

bulletSongs by Michael Tippett. Hyperion CDA 66749, full price. Released 1994. More info.

Tippett has not written a lot of songs, and all of his original songs included on this CD are all premiered between 1945 and 1961. There are three song cycles (two with piano and one with guitar). I have to admit that his songs are not among my favourite works. I like the Songs for Ariel very much, but not so much Songs for Achilles and The Heart's assurance. The Purcell songs on the other hand, are all very good. All the music is very well performed.

bulletThe 5 string quartets. ASVCD DCS 231, 2CD, full price. More info.

This is the first complete series of Tippett's string quartets (Chandos has recently completed their recordings of the five Quartets). Tippett wrote his first three string quartet between 1934 and 1946, and then he waited for 32 years until no. 4. and then another 13 years before he completed the last one. So when you are listening to the first and the last quartets, you are hearing two different Tippett's. I like all of his string quartets, and it's highly recommended music to be listening to. The Lindsay's worked together with Tippett during their preparations for these recordings, so there is a kind of authenticity around these recordings that other recordings can't get. They have performed very well on this 2CD, and I can strongly recommend this recording to everyone who are interested in good chamber music.

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The Nimbus Recordings. Nimbus NI 1759, 4CD, budget price. Released 1998. More info.

There is only one thing to say about this box: Buy it! This box contains a mix of Tippett's famous and less famous music. Many of these works are also conducted by the composer, which make it a must-have for all us Tippettians (among the works he conducts is the Triple and Piano concertos). This box is self recommending.

More details on the partisipants in these recordings.

To come:

bulletSymphony no. 3 on BBC Radio Classics.
bulletPiano concerto & Ritual Dances on Naxos
bulletSymphonies 1 - 3 on Decca The British music collection
bulletA Child of our time on RPO
bulletThe Midsummer marriage on Gala
bulletChamber music on EMI
bulletRitual dances etc on Warner Apex
bulletA Child of our Time on Naxos
bulletRitual dances etc on EMI
bulletTriple concerto and Concerto for orchestra on Philips
bulletPiano concertos and sonata nos. 1 & 2 on EMI
bulletTippett conducts Tippett on EMI
bulletRemembering Tippett on NMC
bulletBoyhood's end on Hyperion
bulletChoral works on Chandos
bulletConcerto for double string orchestra on EMI Classics for Pleasure
bulletPartsongs on BBC
bulletThe four piano sonatas on CRD
 


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Copyright © 2004 Tore Frantzvåg Steenslid
Last updated:
29.04.2005