Tippett: A Child of Our Time
Michael Tippett's oratorio A Child of our Time was written at the beginning of the second world war as an expression of 'man's inhumanity to man'. It has become one of his most widely known works and one which is seen to symbolise the composer's extra-musical concerns, both political and psychological. This study places these concerns within a wider historical and cultural context while also focusing on specific aspects of Tippett's musical language. Central to this enquiry is Tippett's relationship to the work of T. S. Eliot, a relationship which is seen to condition both the text and its musical representation through Tippett's allusions to specific poetic images within the text and references to historical genres, forms and gestures within the musical dimension. Also of importance is the initial critical reception of the work, a reception which determined responses that still surround the work.
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allusions alto solo bass bass line begins Bowen Britten and Tippett Child Chorus chromatic clearly composer concerns Concerto contrast Deep river descending dramatic effect Eliot example extra-musical fifth relationship figure final focus function Grynspan imitative implied indicates initial integration interpretation intertextual interval JULIAN RUSHTON Jung juxtaposition Kemp Kemp's key signature large-scale linear melodic gesture ment Messiah Michael Tippett Midsummer Marriage minor sonority minor third minor third formed Moses motion move Music of Britten musical contexts Negro Spirituals oratorio passage pedal pitch centre poetic previous number provides recurring reference reflects Tippett's repetition Rosamond Johnson scena score semitone sense significance sketch soloist soprano solo sound worlds specific statement Steal string stylistic suggests sustained T. S. Eliot tenor solo texture tion Tippett on Music Tippett's tonality tripartite Trotskyist vertical harmony violin vocal line Waste Land Whittall Wilfred Owen words writing
Page 2 - Firstly, the writer is a reader of texts (in the broadest sense) before s/he is a creator of texts, and therefore the work of art is inevitably shot through with references, quotations and influences of every kind. [...] Secondly, a text is available only through some process of reading; what is produced at the moment of reading is due to the cross-fertilisation of the packaged textual material (say, a book) by all the texts which the reader brings to it.