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TSE  June 2003

TSE June 2003

Subject:

Re: Inquiry: Eliot and Michael Tippett

From:

"Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Mon, 16 Jun 2003 22:12:01 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (82 lines)

Bob Summers wrote:

> I am very intrigued about the relationship between Eliot and Tippett.
> Was there any correspondence between them?  Can any list member enlighten
> me?



Although Tippets is dead there is a website saying that it is his
"official" website at
    http://www.michael-tippett.com/

There is a page there entitled "Books about Sir Michael Tippett"
    http://www.michael-tippett.com/mtbooksabout.htm
In particular see the book by Kenneth Gloag.

Also there is a page on his "A Child of Our Time" that includes links
to MP3 files of selections from the work.
    http://www.michael-tippett.com/iocchildeng.htm

The following two paragraphs are just some of what was there:

    In 1938, the shooting of a German diplomat in Paris by a young Polish
    Jew, made desperate by the Nazi persecution of his race in general and
    his family in particular, led to one of the most terrible pogroms of
    Jews - the infamous Kristallnacht of 9 November. Tippett shared in the
    public horror which this aroused, feeling inwardly also that he must
    respond with a composition which, as it turned out, was to be his
    first major public statement as an artist.

    Having become friendly with the poet T. S. Eliot, he asked him if he
    would write the libretto. Eliot agreed to consider the project on
    condition that Tippett prepared a scenario for him, showing the shape
    and character of each movement and sketching in his own ideas about
    the text. This the composer did, taking as his model the Bach Passions
    and Handel's Messiah. He thus laid out the basis for a three-part
    oratorio, using standard baroque methods, such as recitative for
    narration, and arias and ensembles culminating in negro
    spirituals. The spirituals were the best twentieth-century counterpart
    he could find to the Lutheran chorales of Bach's time, embodying texts
    and music of an inherently universal significance. Eliot studied the
    scenario in detail but then advised Tippett to write the text himself,
    as any words from Eliot would probably overwhelm the music. Tippett
    accepted his advice and, ever after, wrote his own libretti.



Other pages and excerpts from them are:


http://www.artsworld.com/music-dance/works/a-c/a-child-of-our-time-michael-tippett.html

    Tippett's revulsion at the terrifying pogroms of 1938, including the
    infamous Kristallnacht of 9 November, produced this work, a modern
    choral masterpiece which for many is the best work this visionary
    composer produced. At first TS Eliot considered writing the text, but
    eventually suggested that Tippett write the words himself. This he
    did, using as his model the Bach 'Passions' and Handel's 'Messiah',
    resulting in a three-part oratorio with standard baroque methods, such
    as recitative for narration, and arias and ensembles. Being a modern
    composer aware of current trends, Tippett included 'Negro spirituals',
    as they were then called, as a modern counterpart to the Lutheran
    chorales of Bach's time. The title came from a novel by the anti-Nazi
    writer Ödon von Horvath, 'Ein Kind unserer Zeit' (1938).


http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521597536/qid%3D1033923970/sr%3D1-10/ref%3Dsr%5F1%5F1%5F10/026-4235284-3150811

    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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