Jan 01

1. Michael Tippett [365 Composers for 2013]


1st January – Sir Michael Tippett OM CH CBE


Tippett (2 January 1905 – 8 January 1998) is our chosen composer for 1st January since his last opera was entitled “New Year” and contains his version of the famous New Year’s song “Auld Lang Syne”.


Nationality: British

Lifespan: 93 years

Religion:/Philosophy: Humanitarian, Pacifist

Genre: Modern

Education: Royal College of Music

Fame Ranking: 3


Tippett is considered to be one the UK’s most important modern composers. His best known work is “A child of Our Time”, which he started composing on September 3rd 1939, the day (in the UK) when the Second World War was declared. Sticking to his pacifist principals, Tippett refused conscription into the British Army and was subsequently imprisoned for 3 months in 1943 as a conscientious objector. While in prison, he studied Bach’s “Art of Fugue”. “A Child of Our Time” was premiered the following year, with favourable reviews.

Tippett was a prolific composer. Of his larger works, there are five operas, three large-scale choral works and four symphonies. He was influenced by styles from many different eras ranging from the 16th century to his contemporaries. His work tends to be interesting rhythmically – he frequently uses irregular or “additive rhythms” (for example adding 2/8 and 3/8 to make a rhythm in 5/8).


Here is Tippett’s “New Year Suite”, a medley of themes from the Opera.


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Listen to some more Tippett here (click the arrow!)


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