JF offered this thumbnail for SMT a couple of weeks ago.
I think it deserves its own thread. Some of us need a nudge towards Tippett
<<<<For people struggling with Tippett here are some thoughts. I guess features of Tippet's music that particularly attract me are:
*) an atypical use of more extreme intervals in melody and contrapuntal line, often imparting an ecstatic leaping quality.
*) frequent use of dotted triplet and scotch snap rhythms again able to impart a high spirited dancing quality.
*) Occasionally quite ferocious counterpoint.
*) In later works, use of close but discordant harmonies giving rise to novel timbres from otherwise familar instrumental combinations.
*) in later works, often curious ways of confounding expectation; diverting a line from a clearly anticipated climax; abruptly halting a line without a cadence.
*) In later works, an unafraidness to use quite ugly timbres in juxtaposition with beautiful ones to create a gritty kind of realism.
I think anyone wanting to get into Tippet has to start with the Double String Concerto with its life affirming and swaggering jazz inspired triplet rhythms, and the Corelli Fantasia with its orgasmic culminating fugue. I think the next most accessible work is the Piano Concerto, which to me evokes the flutter of gossamer wings in Faerie dells on Midsummer's Eve, and for which the piano part is quite astonishing if full concentration is given.
If someone can't get past any of these then I don't see that they're going to get much out of the later 'tricksy' stuff.
As to the symphonies, my estimations are:
No.1) Some fine ideas, but ultimately so lightweight a form as to only just qualify as a Symphony.
No.2) A loping, well hung beast of a symphony that ought to be a national treasure. Tonal but utterly modern. Criminally neglected.
No.3) Definitely a failed experiment, as someone says it goes rather downhill from the Beethoven 9 quote.
No.4) If you can get past the occasional awkward heavy breathing tape loops then a staggeringly inventive cosmic soundworld that's out there with the best of Lutoslawski or Ligeti. The breathing loops are least obstructive in the Hickox version
Personally I haven't caught the Tippett bug, but maybe an open discussion on Tippett's qualities and contribution to twentieth century music might make more of us take the plunge!
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