Michael Tippett


Born: January 2, 1905; England   Died: January 8, 1998; England  
A composer who came to music relatively late in life, Sir Michael Tippett has come to be regarded as one of the most original and important British composers of the twentieth century. Tippett brought a highly individual interpretation to twentieth century neo-Classicism, writing in all the principal genres. His compositions are characterized by a strong rhythmic vitality and a complexity of the basically tonal harmonic language, and were a Read more vehicle for the articulation of his personal views of philosophical, social, and personal issues.

Tippett spent his childhood in Wetherden, a small village in Suffolk where his parents moved shortly after he was born. At the age of 13, he won a scholarship to Fettes College in Edinburgh. However, he disliked Fettes, and in 1920 transferred to Stamford Grammar School in Lincolnshire. Aside from piano lessons, Tippett received no musical training in his childhood. Despite this, after leaving Stamford, he expressed an interest in becoming a composer. At first, he decided to train as a professional pianist, staying on at Stamford so that he could continue to study with Frances Tinkler. However, in the summer of 1923 he left to begin study at London's Royal College of Music. While at the RCM, he studied composition with Charles Wood and C.H. Kitson, as well as piano with Aubin Raymar and conducting with Sargent and Boult.

When he left the RCM in 1928, Tippett settled in Oxted, Surrey. In 1929, he asked to teach French part-time at the local preparatory school. Thus began a series of occupations, which gave him money to live on, as well as some freedom to compose. In 1930, he gave a concert of his own works, which he felt highlighted the relative immaturity of his technique. With this in mind, Tippett began to study counterpoint and free composition with R.O. Morris. Soon after completing his lessons with Morris, in July 1932, Tippett was asked to run the music at an annual work camp in north Yorkshire. Musically, these experiences were positive; however, for Tippett, a political leftist, the miserable conditions encountered at the work-camps inspired an even more radical commitment. Eventually, Tippett came to espouse a strictly pacifist viewpoint. He centered his activities for the unemployed in London at Morley College, where in 1933 he was asked to conduct what later became the South London Orchestra, a group formed specifically to give unemployed musicians the opportunity to continue playing. A year later he also began conducting two choirs which were run by the Royal Arsenal Cooperative Society. In the summer of 1940 the South London Orchestra was disbanded. In October, after Morley College was almost destroyed in an air raid and the director of music was evacuated from London, Tippett was asked to become director of music. In November 1940, Tippett joined the Peace Pledge Union. After he received his call-up papers he registered as a conscientious objector. His case was heard in 1942, and he was ordered to non-combatant military duties. Tippett refused to comply, believing that he could best serve his country as a musician. He was sentenced to three months imprisonment, but qualified for a one-third remission.

In 1951 Tippett resigned from Morley College. Aside from working as a broadcaster at the BBC, he devoted himself entirely to composition. Tippett was knighted in 1966, and in 1979 he was made a Companion of Honour. He died peacefully at home on January 8, 1998. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 134 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Canticles From St. Paul's Cathedral, London
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 68058 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Archer,  Thomas Attwood Walmisley,  Michael Tippett,  Alan Gray  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Johnson
    Conductor:  Andrew Carwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Choir
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  • 2.
    Noel Mewton-wood
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4619002 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Michael Tippett,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Ferruccio Busoni  ... 
    Performer:  Noel Mewton-Wood,  Peter Pears,  Harry Sevenstern,  Ida Haendel  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter Goehr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utrecht Symphony Orchestra,  Winterthur Symphony Orchestra
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  • 3.
    100 Great Symphonies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054602 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Giovanni Battista Sammartini,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Johann Christian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Hanna Schwarz,  René Kollo,  Kurt Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Kevin Mallon,  Christopher Hogwood,  Thomas Füri,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Camerata Bern  ... 
    On sale! $259.98
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  • 4.
    The Argo Years / Neville Marriner, Academy Of St Martin In The Fields [28-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002081902 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Giuseppe Torelli,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli  ... 
    Performer:  Gwynne Howell,  Philip Langridge,  Anna Reynolds,  Elly Ameling  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
    CD: $163.49
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  • 5.
    Remembering Alfred Deller / Blaze, Bowman, Turner, Robinson
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 25114 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett,  William Williams,  George Frideric Handel,  John Blow  ... 
    Performer:  John Turner,  Laura Robinson,  James Bowman,  Robin Blaze  ... 
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  • 6.
    New Music Collections, Vol. 4: Piano
    Label: Nmc   Catalog: 207 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Huw Watkins,  Simon Holt,  Julian Anderson,  Sadie Harrison  ... 
    Performer:  Huw Watkins,  Rolf Hind,  Thalia Myers,  Nicky Losseff  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 7.
    Sir Colin Davis - Anthology
    Label: Lso Live   Catalog: 766 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Antonín Dvorák,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Ben Heppner,  Michelle DeYoung,  Petra Lang,  Sara Mingardo  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 8.
    Celebration Of The Spirit
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2013021 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  John Rutter,  Benjamin Britten,  Michael Tippett
    Performer:  Jonathan Brown,  Rachel Masters
    Conductor:  Timothy Brown
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wallace Collection (Brass Ensemble)
    CD: $12.99
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  • 9.
    Britten The Performer - Complete Decca Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001922102 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 27
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Adrian Thompson,  John Tobin,  Jenny Hill,  Robert Tear  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir,  Wandsworth School Choir  ... 
    CD: $104.49
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  • 10.
    English Choral Music Of The Twentieth Century
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1323 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Michael Tippett,  Sir William Walton,  William Henry Harris  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Farr
    Conductor:  Stephen Darlington
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  • 11.
    English String Masterpieces
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1138 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett,  Benjamin Britten,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Conductor:  Charles Groves
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Colin Davis: The Philips Years [15-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001850302 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich,  Claudio Arrau,  Jessye Norman,  Jon Vickers  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $76.99
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  • 13.
    An Immortal Legacy / Christophers, The Sixteen
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16111 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Tallis,  Orlando Gibbons,  William Byrd,  James MacMillan  ... 
    Performer:  Neil MacKenzie,  Carys Lane,  Robert [Bass-Baritone Vocal] Evans,  Ian Partridge
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
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  • 14.
    Philips Original Jackets Collection  [55-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001767702 Release Date: 12/04/2012   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Max Bruch,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Elisabeth Unger,  Claudio Arrau,  Thomas Zehetmair  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Bernard Haitink,  Frans Brüggen,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
    On sale! $169.98
    CD: $148.49
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  • 15.
    Anniversary Series - Art Song Collection
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 303 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Francis Poulenc,  Alec Roth  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Crawford-Phillips,  Andrew Kennedy,  Roderick Williams,  Iain Burnside  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dante Quartet
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  • 16.
    Anniversary Series - Choral Collection
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 304 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Francis Poulenc,  Eric Whitacre,  Robert Chilcott  ... 
    Performer:  Elin Manahan Thomas
    Conductor:  Nigel Short,  Robert Chilcott,  Joseph Cullen,  James Vivian  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voces8,  Tenebrae,  King's Singers  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 17.
    Icon - John Ogdon
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4637 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Paul Dukas,  Henri Dutilleux,  Florent Schmitt,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  John Ogdon
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Lawrence Foster,  Paavo Berglund,  John Pritchard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $67.98
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  • 18.
    Icon: Colin Davis - The Early Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 63989 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Goossens,  Yehudi Menuhin,  John Ogdon,  Sir Ralph Richardson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia of London,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $42.99
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  • 19.
    Elementia / Eric Banks, The Esoterics
    Label: Terpsichore Records   Catalog: 301 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  David Asplin,  Donald M. Skirvin,  Ildebrando Pizzetti,  Lajos Bárdos  ... 
    Performer:  Skylar Carroll,  Tom Hitt,  Cathy Federici,  Pam Anderson  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Banks
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Esoterics
    CD: $29.99
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  • 20.
    Tippett: Corelli Fantasia, Berkeley: Serenade For Strings / Boughton, English String Orchestra
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7082 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett,  Lennox Berkeley,  Michael Berkeley
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 21.
    English Choral Music
    Label: Heritage   Catalog: 213 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Lennox Berkeley,  Herbert Howells  ... 
    Performer:  Rachel Elliott,  Hester [Soprano Vocal] Gomme,  Ruth Morris,  Tanya Wicks  ... 
    CD: $12.49
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  • 22.
    Music for Strings - Vaughan Williams, Purcell, Britten...
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 660705 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Benjamin Britten,  Arvo Pärt,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolas Bône,  Nicholas Bone,  William Conway,  Marieke Blankestijn  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Egarr,  William Conway,  Douglas Boyd
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  • 23.
    Tippett: String Quartets 1-4 / Britten Quartet
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9257 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Michael Tippett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Britten String Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    Magnificat - 500 Years Of Choral Masterworks [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001664502 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Gregorio Allegri,  Antonio Lotti,  Orlando de Lassus,  Josquin Des Préz  ... 
    Performer:  Patrick Russill,  Marinella Pennicchi,  Michael Chance,  Mark Tucker  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers,  Paul McCreesh,  Stephen Cleobury,  Edward Wickham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen,  Gabrieli Consort,  Gabrieli Players  ... 
    CD: $179.99
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  • 25.
    Joan Sutherland - Legendary Performances
    Label: Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog: 9915 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Michael Tippett,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Dino Dondi,  Giuseppe Campora,  Raina Kabaivanska  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  John Pritchard,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $33.98
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