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The Cambridge Companion to Michael Tippett
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    The Cambridge Companion to Michael Tippett
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Book description

Sir Michael Tippett is widely considered to be one of the most individual composers of the twentieth century, whose music continues to be performed to critical acclaim throughout the world. Written by a team of international scholars, this Companion provides a wide ranging and accessible study of Tippett and his works. It discusses the contexts and concepts of modernism, tradition, politics, sexuality and creativity that shaped Tippett's music and ideas, engaging with archive materials, relevant literature and models of interpretation. Chapters explore the genres in which Tippett composed, including opera, symphony, string quartet, concerto and piano sonata, to shed new light on his major works and draw attention to those that have not yet received the attention they deserve. Directing knowledge and expertise towards a wide readership, this book will enrich the listening experience and broaden understanding of the music of this endlessly fascinating and challenging composer.


'A valuable, detail-packed, vade mecum to a body of work we are forgetting to our loss.'

Source: Gramophone

'… a very good introduction to those who want to get simply acquainted or even better acquainted with Tippett as a man and composer.'

Source: Cercles

‘If The Cambridge Companion to Michael Tippett communicates the state of research on the composer, that is not its only valuable feature. One of the greatest strengths of the volume is in its copious, extended music examples, which are sufficiently intriguing on the page that they do some of the work of advocacy by sending readers to the piano or to recordings of less-familiar works … the volume contains a wealth of illustrations, most of them analytical in nature and focused on the large-scale structure of works.’

Kevin Salfen Source: Notes

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Select bibliography

Writings by Tippett, interviews with Tippett

The following list is arranged in chronological order.

‘Dilemma of Pacifism’ [letter], Times Literary Supplement, 6 December 1941.
A Child of Our Time’, The Listener, 33 (1945), 66.
The Creative Artist in a Mechanized World’, The Listener, 39 (1948), 745–6.
Composers’ Forum: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra’, London Musical Events, 11 (December 1956), 32–3.
Holst: Figure of our Time’, The Listener, 60 (1958), 800.
Moving into Aquarius (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1958); expanded edn (St Albans: Paladin Books, 1974).
Our Sense of Continuity in English Drama and Music’ in Imogen Holst (ed.), Henry Purcell, 1659–1695: Essays on his Music (London: Oxford University Press, 1959), pp. 42–51.
At Work on King Priam’, The Score, 28 (1961), 58–68.
The Gulf in our Music’, The Observer, 14 May 1961, 21.
King Priam: Some Questions Answered’, Opera, 13 (1962), 297–9.
The Composer Speaks’ [interview with Ian Kemp and Malcolm Rayment], Audio and Record Review, 2/6 (February 1963), 27–8.
Michael Tippett’ in Murray Schafer, British Composers in Interview (London: Faber and Faber, 1963), pp. 92–102.
Music on Television’, The Listener, 71 (1964), 629–30.
A People and their Music’, The Listener, 72 (1964), 434.
Michael Tippett’ [interview with Tom McGrath], Peace News, 15 January 1965, 10.
The BBC’s Duty to Society’, The Listener, 74 (1965), 302–3.
Symphony No. 2’, liner notes to Argo, ZRG 535 (1967).
The Festival and Society’, Musical Times, 110 (June 1969), 589–90.
Michael Tippett [on Concerto for Orchestra]’ in Robert S. Hines (ed.), The Orchestral Composer’s Point of View: Essays on Twentieth-Century Music by Those Who Wrote It (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970), pp. 203–19.
Sir Michael Tippett Writes about his New Opera “The Knot Garden”’, The Listener, 84 (1970), 790.
Sir Michael Tippett’ [interview with Alan Blyth], Gramophone, 48 (1970–1), 1598–601.
The Vision of Saint Augustine’, liner notes to RCA SER 5620 (1972).
Tippett on Opera’ [interview with Harold Rosenthal], Opera, 23 (1972), 1055–9.
Tippett’s Third Symphony’ [interview with Bayan Northcott], Music and Musicians, 20/10 (June 1972), 30–2.
A Personal View of Music in England’, Festschrift für einen Verleger: Ludwig Strecker zum 90. Geburtstag, ed. Carl Dahlhaus (Mainz: Schott, 1973), pp. 61–4; repr. ‘Music in England: A Personal View’ in Twenty British Composers, ed. Peter Dickinson (London: Chester Music for the Feeney Trust, 1975), pp. 1–5.
My Kind of Music’ [interview with Stephen Walsh], Observer Magazine, 7 October 1973, 28.
Michael Tippett Talking about the PPU [Peace Pledge Union]’ [interview with M. Solomon], Pacifist, 13/3 (October 1974), 11–14.
Michael Tippett’ [interview with Mike Thorne], Hi-Fi News and Record Review, 20 (January 1975), 115–17.
‘String Quartets Nos. 1, 2 and 3’, liner notes to Decca 425 645–2 (1975).
The Composer as Librettist’ [interview with P. Carnegy], Times Literary Supplement, 8 July 1977, 834–5.
Sir Michael Tippett’ [interview with O. Trilling], Opernwelt, 18/9 (1977), 45.
An Interview with Sir Michael Tippett’ [R. Hall], Journal of Church Music, 20 (April 1978), 11–15.
E. William Doty Lectures in Fine Arts, 2nd series, 1976 (Austin: College of Fine Arts, University of Texas, 1979).
Music of the Angels: Essays and Sketchbooks of Michael Tippett, selected and ed. Meirion Bowen (London: Eulenberg Books, 1980).
The Composer’s World’ in Keith Spence and Giles Swayne (eds.), How Music Works (London and New York: Macmillan, 1981), pp. 347–56.
In the Psychiatrist’s Chair [dialogue with Anthony Clare], ‘“I was always willing to pay the price”’, The Listener, 116 (14 August 1986), 10.
Sir Michael Tippett’ in Richard Dufallo, Trackings: Composers Speak with Richard Dufallo (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 353–66.
Thoughts on Word-setting’, Contemporary Music Review, 5/1 (1989), 29–32; originally published as the ‘Conclusion’ to Denis Stevens (ed.), A History of Song (London: Hutchinson, 1960), pp. 461–6.
Those Twentieth Century Blues: An Autobiography (London: Hutchinson, 1991).
Einfall’ [with Natalie Wheen and others], radio broadcast talk, BBC Radio 3, 20 February 1995.
Tippett on Music, ed. Meirion Bowen (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995).

Writings on Tippett

The following list is arranged in alphabetical order.

Allenby, David, ‘Tippett’s New Year’, Tempo, 175 (December 1990), 35–6.
Amis, John, ‘New Choral Work by Michael Tippett: “A Child of Our Time”’, Musical Times, 85 (February 1944), 41–2.
Amis, John, ‘A Child of Our Time’, The Listener, 44 (1951), 436.
Atkinson, N. T., ‘Michael Tippett’s Debt to the Past’, Music Review, 23 (1962), 195–204.
Banfield, Stephen (ed.), The Blackwell History of Music in Britain: The Twentieth Century (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995).
Bowen, Meirion, Michael Tippett, 1st edn (London: Robson Books, 1982), 2nd edn (London: Robson Books, 1997).
Bowen, Meirion, ‘Tippett’s Byzantium’, Musical Times, 132 (September 1991), 438–40.
Cairns, David, ‘The Midsummer Marriage’ in Responses: Musical Essays and Reviews (London: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, 1973), pp. 33–45.
Clapham, John, ‘Tippett’s Concerto for Double String Orchestra’, Welsh Music, 5/6 (1977), 47–52.
Clarke, David, Language, Form and Structure in the Music of Michael Tippett, 2 vols. (New York: Garland, 1989).
Clarke, David, ‘Tippett in and out of “Those Twentieth Century Blues”: The Context and Significance of an Autobiography’, Music & Letters, 74/3 (August 1993), 399–411.
Clarke, David, ‘Visionary Images: Tippett’s Transcendental Aspirations’, Musical Times, 136 (January 1995), 16–21.
Clarke, David, The Music and Thought of Michael Tippett: Modern Times and Metaphysics (Cambridge University Press, 2001).
Clarke, David, ‘Tippett, Sir Michael’ in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edn, ed. Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London: Macmillan, 2001), vol. xxv, pp. 505–20.
Clarke, David, ‘Between Hermeneutics and Formalism: The Lento from Tippett’s Concerto for Orchestra (Or: Music Analysis after Lawrence Kramer)’, Music Analysis, 30/2–3 (July/October 2011), 309–59.
Clarke, David, (ed.), Tippett Studies (Cambridge University Press, 1999).
Clements, Andrew, ‘Tippett at 80’, Opera, 36 (1985), 16–24.
Composer, 70 (Summer 1980) [Tippett issue].
Cross, Jonathan, The Stravinsky Legacy (Cambridge University Press, 1998), esp. pp. 63–70.
Dennison, Peter, ‘Reminiscence and Recomposition in Tippett’, Musical Times, 126 (January 1985), 13–18.
Dickinson, A. E. F., ‘Round about The Midsummer Marriage’, Music & Letters, 37/1 (January 1956), 50–60.
Docherty, Barbara, ‘Tippett’s Triple Concerto’, Tempo, 135 (December 1980), 49–51.
Driver, Paul, ‘The Mask of Time’, Tempo, 149 (June 1984), 39–44.
Docherty, Barbara, ‘Sentence into Cadence: The Word-Setting of Tippett and Britten’, Tempo, 166 (September 1988), 2–11.
Docherty, Barbara, ‘Syllogism and Symbol: Britten, Tippett and English Text’, Contemporary Music Review, 5/1 (1989), 37–63.
Driver, Paul, ‘Tippett at 80: A Personal Tribute’, Musical Times, 126 (January 1985), 11–13.
Fingleton, David, ‘The Ice Break’, Music and Musicians, 25 (July 1977), 28–30.
Gloag, Kenneth, Tippett: A Child of Our Time (Cambridge University Press, 1999).
Goddard, Scott, ‘The Younger English Composers, IX: Michael Tippett’, Monthly Musical Record, 69 (March–April 1939), 73–6.
Goddard, Scott, ‘Michael Tippett and the Symphony’, The Listener, 43 (1950), 84.
Hill, Peter, ‘Tippett’s Fifth String Quartet’, Tempo, 182 (September 1992), 28–9.
Hurd, Michael, Tippett (London: Novello, 1978).
John, Nicholas (ed.), The Operas of Michael Tippett (London: John Calder, 1985; New York: Riverrun Press Inc., 1985).
Jones, Richard Elfyn, The Early Operas of Michael Tippett: A Study of The Midsummer Marriage, King Priam and The Knot Garden (Lewiston, Queenston and Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1996).
Kemp, Ian, ‘Rhythm in Tippett’s Early Music’, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, 105 (1978–9), 142–53.
Kemp, Ian, ‘Tippett, Michael’, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan, 1980), vol. xix, pp. 1–11.
Kemp, Ian, Tippett: The Composer and his Music (London: Eulenburg Books, 1984); repr. (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).
Kemp, Ian, (ed.), Michael Tippett: A Symposium on his 60th Birthday (London: Faber and Faber, 1965).
Lewis, Geraint, ‘The Breath of Life: An Approach to Formal Structure’, Musical Times, 126 (January 1985), 18–20.
Lewis, Geraint, ‘New Year in the New World’, Musical Times, 130 (November 1989), 665–9.
Lewis, Geraint, (ed.), Michael Tippett O.M.: A Celebration (Tunbridge Wells: The Baton Press, 1985).
Long, N. G., ‘“A Child of Our Time”: A Critical Analysis of Michael Tippett’s Oratorio’, Music Review, 8 (1947), 120–30.
Mason, Colin, ‘Michael Tippett’, Musical Times, 87 (May 1946), 137–41.
Mason, Colin, ‘Tippett’s Piano Concerto’, The Score, 16 (1956), 63–8.
Matthews, David, Michael Tippett: An Introductory Study (London and Boston: Faber and Faber, 1980).
Mellers, Wilfrid, ‘Michael Tippett and the String Quartet’, The Listener, 66 (1961), 405.
Milner, Anthony, ‘Rhythmic Techniques in the Music of Michael Tippett’, Musical Times, 95 (September 1954), 468–70.
Milner, Anthony, ‘The Music of Michael Tippett’, Musical Quarterly, 50/4 (October 1964), 423–38.
Neighbour, Oliver, ‘Ralph, Adeline, and Ursula Vaughan Williams: Some Facts and Speculation (with a Note about Tippett)’, Music & Letters, 89/3 (August 2008), 337–45.
Northcott, Bayan, ‘Tippett Today’, Music and Musicians, 19/3 (1970–1), 34–40, 42–5.
Payne, Anthony, ‘Michael Tippett’s “The Vision of Saint Augustine”’, Tempo, 76 (Spring 1966), 19–21.
Peat, F. David, Interviews with Composers: Sir Michael Tippett [online], 1996,
Puffett, Derrick, ‘The Fugue from Tippett’s Second String Quartet’, Music Analysis, 5 2/3 (July–October 1986), 233–64.
Puffett, Derrick, ‘Tippett and the Retreat from Mythology’, Musical Times, 136 (January 1995), 6–14.
Richards, Denis, ‘Ruin and Recovery’ in Offspring of the Vic: A History of Morley College (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1958), pp. 248–71.
Robinson, Suzanne (ed.), Michael Tippett: Music and Literature (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002).
Rodda, Richard E., ‘Genesis of a Symphony: Tippett’s Symphony No.3’, Music Review, 39/2 (May 1978), 110–16.
Routh, Francis, ‘Michael Tippett’ in Contemporary British Music (London: MacDonald, 1972), pp. 282–91.
Rubbra, Edmund: ‘The Vision of St Augustine’, The Listener, 76 (1966), 74.
Scheppach, Margaret A., Dramatic Parallels in Michael Tippett’s Operas: Analytical Essays on the Musico-Dramatic Techniques (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990).
Schuttenhelm, Thomas (ed.), The Selected Letters of Michael Tippett (London: Faber and Faber, 2005).
Souster, Tim, ‘Michael Tippett’s Vision’, Musical Times, 107 (January 1966), 20–2.
Spence, Keith, ‘“Midsummer Marriage” and its Critics’, Musical Times, 112 (January 1971), 28.
Stannard, Iain, ‘“Arrest and Movement”: Tippett’s Second Piano Sonata and the Genesis of a Method’, twentieth-century music, 4/2 (2007), 133–61.
Sutcliffe, Tom, ‘Tippett and the Knot Garden’, Music and Musicians, 19/4 (1970–1), 52–4.
Theil, Gordon, Michael Tippett: A Bio-Bibliography (New York: Greenwood Press, 1989).
Venn, Edward, ‘Evoking the Marvellous: Michael Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage’ in Axel Michaels (ed.), Ritual Dynamics and the Science of Ritual, vol. ii: Body, Performance, Agency, and Experience (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2010), pp. 183–93.
Warrack, John, ‘The Knot Garden’, Musical Times, 111 (November 1970), 1092–5.
Warrack, John, ‘The Ice Break’, Musical Times, 118 (July 1977), 553–6.
White, Eric Walter, Tippett and his Operas (London: Barrie and Jenkins, 1979).
Whittall, Arnold, Music Since the First World War (London: Dent, 1977).
Whittall, Arnold, The Music of Britten and Tippett: Studies in Themes and Techniques (Cambridge University Press, 1982; 2nd edn, 1990).
Whittall, Arnold, ‘Resisting Tonality: Tippett, Beethoven and the Sarabande’, Music Analysis, 9/3 (October 1990), 267–86.
Whittall, Arnold, ‘“Byzantium”: Tippett, Yeats and the Limitations of Affinity’, Music & Letters, 74/3 (August 1993), 383–98.
Whittall, Arnold, ‘Lately Celebrated’, Musical Times, 136 (May 1995), 238–40.
Whittall, Arnold, ‘Sir Michael Tippett 1905–98: Acts of Renewal’, Musical Times, 139 (March 1998), 6–9.
Whittall, Arnold, ‘Three Individualists’ in Whittall, Musical Composition in the Twentieth Century (Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 239–65.
Whittall, Arnold, Exploring Twentieth-Century Music: Tradition and Innovation (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
Whittall, Arnold, ‘New Opera, Old Opera: Perspectives on Critical Interpretation’, Cambridge Opera Journal, 21/2 (July 2009), 181–98.


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