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Customer Review

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Late Work Of Great Beauty, 5 May 2008
This review is from: Rose Lake, The, The Vision Of St. Augustine (Davis, Lso) (Audio CD)
A late work and his last large scale orchestral composition (1991-93)
found Sir Michael Tippett none-the-less still very much in control of
his art.

In his own words : "During a holiday in Senegal, late in 1990, with a
young architect friend, Graham Modlen, we were recommended to visit a
small lake, known as Le Lac Rose, where at midday the impact of the
sun was such as to transform its whitish green colour to whiteish pink
....As things turned out Graham and I reached Le Lac Rose at midday,
just in time to see it turn into a marvelous translucent pink. The sight
of it triggered a profound disturbance within me : the sort of
disturbance which told me that the new orchestral work had begun".

(Recounted in Meirion Bowen's sleeve notes 1997).

This extraordinarily beautiful work although broadly programatic in
form never becomes merely illustrational. As with much of Tippett's
musical legacy the visionary within him was never far away.

Rising out of the gamelan-like opening the sprightly woodwind, string
and percussion figures lead us towards the weightier brass chorale of the
second part, 'The Lake Begins To Sing', portentious and oppressive.

The alternation between 'lighter' interludes and the 'heavier'
transformative sequences as the lake changes colour reveals
stunning orchestration of limpid beauty, rhythmic complexity and
dark melodic power.

As with many of Tippetts' works The Rose Lake ends not with a tidy
resolution but with a question mark as percussion and strings dissolve
inconclusively into nothingness.

Sir Colin Davis (Long-time friend and interpreter of Tippetts' music)
and the LSO give a very fine and dynamically detailed performance.

The Pairing with the 1971 recording of 'The Vision Of St Augustine'
a work for Baritone,Chorus and Orchestra (1965) is inspired.
John Shirley-Quirk tackles the fearsomely difficult vocal part bravely.
Tippett himself conducts the LSO and Chorus with masterful aplomb.

Essential.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Apr 2014 01:22:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 Jan 2016 15:13:22 GMT
When originally issued on an RCA LP (The Vision of St. Augustine), Tippett's recording of "The Vision of St. Augustine" included a copy of the orchestral score, which was quite a luxury. Ironically, it might have been wiser for RCA not to have included the score, as those who could follow it would have noticed that Tippett's performance hardly shows "masterful aplomb" - I winced in places, as following with the score draws the listener's attention to the problems in the performance, which does not sound confident and is insecure both as regards ensemble and tuning.

It's a wonderful performance of "The Rose Lake" though, so the CD is worth having for that. But if you specifically want "The Vision of St. Augustine", go for this BBC Radio Classics CD: Tippett: A Vision of St Augustine; Concerto for Violin, Viola and Cello
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Review Details

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Reviewer

The Wolf
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

Location: uk

Top Reviewer Ranking: 35