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Early Tippett


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Author Topic: Early Tippett  (Read 261 times)
Clambert
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« on: February 02, 2018, 11:28:03 am »

Well, the first broadcast of Tippett's discarded first-First symphony was a surprise! I'd assumed it would at least have some faint pre-echoes of the Tippet we know - sprung rhythms, a hint of Tudor music, Beethovenian notes mixed in with a sprinkling of Stravinsky, probably even some VW -  but in the event...when he described it as being excessively influenced by Sibelius he sure wasn't wrong! I hadn't appreciated how much impact Sibelius 1st must have had on British composers of the time - especially the opening woodwind solo (a feature also of Gardner's 2nd.) And indeed the woodwind writing throughout was deeply in thrall to the Sibelian sound. Listening blind (?) I can't think I'd ever have identified the composer.  A distinct oddity - it'll need greater familiarity to assess its worth as a symphony per se, though it's clear already that the "official" 1st is far more accomplished. An interesting thought though that in some ways Tippets fourth and final symphony also references Sibelius, albeit in much more fundamental and structural ways - this time expressed entirely in Tippett's own voice...
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2018, 06:43:27 pm »

I attended the concert last night in Glasgow.

I agree with most of what has been written about the piece. It is distinctly odd and I am not sure that it works as a symphonic unity. I can understand why Tippett suppressed the symphony; it is simply not echt Tuppett and his dissatisfaction with the work must have been both frustrating for him and a very clear-headed decision.It is certainly worth hearing and there are some beautiful passages but others which seem singularly out of place (including several brass passages which seemed to bear little relation to what had gone before or followed).

Heard without any knowledge of the composer's identity one would have placed it somewhere between early Sibelius and somewhat off-colour Arnold Bax.

It is certainly no undiscovered masterpiece! But perhaps further hearings may do more to clarify what the composer was attempting.
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calyptorhynchus
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2018, 02:30:39 am »

I was hoping for an early version of the Concerto for Double String Orchestra, and of course was disappointed.

But I do think that this is a fascinating symphony. It is very Sibelian, and most of the obvious references are to the Sibelius Symphony No.1 (except the ending, which is Sibelius 3). However, although the material is early Sibelius, the method is mid Sibelius (3 onwards) and the Symphony does have that fascinating mid-Sibelian-owards symphonic movement that doesn't seem to be moving. I found the whole very satisfying, the dramatic first movement, slow movement/intermezzo and the finale which managed to have lots of slow passages but maintain momentum. The landscapes weren't Finnish, I don't know what landscapes Tippett was familiar with in the 1930s and earlier, but I got East Anglian salt marshes and beaches in the middle and last movements, which is a small way towards Finland.

I think that Tippett was right to suppress it when he did because it isn't like the rest of his works and we have a prejudice against composers writing in the style of other composers, but the Tippett estate was wrong to sit on it as long they did.
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2018, 05:02:22 am »

I think that you are being unfair to the Tippett Foundation. Tippett himself in his will specified quite explicitly that his unpublished works were not to be performed until 50 years after his death.

Had the Tippett Foundation and Will Trust adhered to the terms of the will then we would not have heard the Symphony until 2048.

In fact the Foundation and Will Trust, by unanimous vote of its members, decided to overrule the terms of the will. As a consequence the decision was-reached because they believed the composer had been over severe and that the Symphony deserved performance.

We actually owe them our gratitude for allowing us to hear the symphony and reach our own conclusions.
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calyptorhynchus
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2018, 05:56:38 am »

I didn't know that, in which case I apologise to the trustees, though I'm glad we got now—I'm not going to last until 2048.
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2018, 02:45:06 pm »

I didn't know that, in which case I apologise to the trustees, though I'm glad we got now—I'm not going to last until 2048.

I would be 101 years old in 2048 so it distinctly improbable that I would be around then either
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2018, 02:17:23 pm »

With all due respect, should this thread not be more properly now be subsumed within the British and Irish Music thread in this section of the forum Huh
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