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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 May 2012
Already owning several versions of the first two works on this disc, and a version of the opera from which the material of the third work is drawn, my purchase of this disk was as much about creating a legitimate opportunity for a rejoinder to the faint praise of Tippett's other music by the other reviewer here. As it happens the disk turns out to be a worthy addition to my substantial Tippett collection.

The first movement of the Double Concerto, as even on Tippett's own recording of it, is just a tad fast for my taste. For me, the delight is so much in the ingenious contrapuntal detail, and as such, Neville Marriner's ASMF Tippett: Concerto for Double String Orchestra yet remains the benchmark version that lays bare for inspection the beautiful clockwork below the sparkling surface. However, the gorgeously nostalgic keening of the second movement, and the hail, well-met affability of the third are all I could wish for. I find myself struck yet again by the open hearted joy imparted by the exuberant additive rhythms, and abundant goodwill that so arrested me when I first heard this work on a televised Prom, around age fifteen, almost forty years ago. I went to the high street record shop the next day and bought the Marriner version on good old vinyl, whence I was introduced to the accompanying Corelli Fantasia.

The Corelli Fantasia has been one of my two favourite pieces of music throughout my life (the other being the track Lady L, from John Mclaughlin's Shakti, A Handful of Beauty, discovered the same year. I can remember in my student days putting it on, night after night, in the pitch dark, volume turned up to seriously anti-social levels, and letting its glorious sound flood over me, again and again. The central climactic fugue is, for me, the finest and must unabashedly erotic two minutes in all of music. On this recording there are many dynamical differences to my Marriner benchmark. The approach to the fugal climax is, if anything, even more intense, even more overtly virtuosic. The release, perhaps a bit rushed, somewhat less luxuriant and more pleased with itself just for having arrived safely. In all, a worthy addition and a fresh angle on the core abstraction of the work.

Though I own the Davis recording of the Tippett: The Midsummer Marriage, I have never got around to checking out the Ritual Dances Suite distilled from its music. Though all the material is familiar to me, this arrangement of it adds up to something very impressive, indeed, I found it quite breathtaking. The result is something a lot like Stravinsky's Rite, but without the pervasive menace and abandoned savagery. A real surprise, and a bonus for being unexpected.

This is, as my enthusiasm would suggest, as good as Tippett gets; for me, as good as music gets. But I would like to contribute my two-penneth to offset the general opinion that this is the only accessible music, and therefore the only worthwhile music that Tippett wrote. Tippett was a bold explorer, with a supremely individualistic imagination. As such, much of his music, especially after the first 'radiantly lyrical 'phase that culminated in the Midsummer Marriage, is notoriously difficult to form an appreciation of. Then there are the infamous operatic lyrics, (to my mind no less nutty than those of Wagner), which give people an easy excuse to dismiss the musical baby with the lyrical bath water. It took me nearly ten years, and persistent and repeated effort, for the penny to drop with the string quartets, Tippett - String Quartets. When it finally did, I found myself transported to a world more refined and subtly nuanced than had been indicated to me by any other art or art-form. Since then, each of Tippett's works, one by one, has yielded slowly, and usually quite suddenly to my comprehension. I know that most music lovers are content to encounter music in terms of easy jumps from what they have known and enjoyed before. I would just like to wave a flag in the air to those of a more adventurous spirit, to indicate that perseverance with Tippett's difficult works can lead to unprecedented experiences and treasures of near inestimable price
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on 20 October 2015
These are very vigorous, and quite urgently fast in places, performances of these two Tippett 'classics', quite overwhelming on a casual listen! I went back to my old vinyl version by Marriner/ ASMF (Argo 1975) and found it more spacious overall, possibly ponderous(?) at times. This is a good contrast in interpretation
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on 15 June 2009
These are excellent performance of some of Tippett's most accessible orchestral works. They are an fine introduction to his work for new comers.

The Ritual Dances offer something different to the other works, being theatrically based and conveying the sense of magic in the opera. Having the later added choral finale is a bonus.

I can't fault the concerto or the fantasia at all. These are three very attractive scores so, if you're new to Tippett, start your collection here. It's a bargain. A word of warning though; this is as good as it gets with Tippett.
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on 10 November 2013
Love it or loathe it, you cannot ignore Tippett's music. The Double String Concerto bounds around the room like an over-enthusiastic and well-intentioned red setter dog, jumping on the furniture, bouncing off the walls, and generally exuding such joy and energy that even the darkest mood cannot but lift. That somewhat over-written description should not conceal the fact that it is remarkably constructed, too, with motifs and rhythms subtly interwoven. On Davis' recording, we get the energy and we get the structure. Although the Marriner recording is an old friend, I quickly accepted Davis's different tempo in places, and thoroughly enjoyed this performance.
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on 20 January 2016
This is a very attractive selection of major orchestral works from Tippett’s early maturity in a superbly engineered recording, reissued at bargain price. Time and time again, Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC SO deliver amazing things here, the demands of these works apparently overcome effortlessly. All three works demonstrate Tippett’s early taste for complex layered textures and additive rhythms, permeated by an unerring sense of long breathed, captivating melody. The overall effect can be both exciting and ravishing. In the Concerto for Double String Orchestra, the outer movements are crisply articulated with a terrific sense of onward propulsion. The middle movement with its wonderful initial theme, bluesy but somehow very English, is emotionally charged while avoiding overindulgence. With the Corelli Fantasia we come, in my view, to one of the summits of 20th century English string music. This is given the kind of brisk, de-romanticised reading that Tippett would presumably have approved of. The approach perfectly suits this Baroque-inspired work throughout. The big fugue in the middle (based on a Bach fugue, based in turn on a Corelli fugue) is riveting and builds up to a goose pimple inducing climax, followed by a lovely rendering of the elegy that follows. Hearing this recording of the Ritual Dances was a revelation to me. This continuous piece, assembled from Tippett’s quirky opera The Midsummer Marriage, is very satisfying on its own. This is virtuosic music for the orchestra, stunningly delivered here. The choir’s entry in the final section on the word ‘Fire’ is spine tingling and the music soon works up to an overwhelming climax, subsiding in flickering flames. Breathtaking.
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on 20 June 2015
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on 27 September 2013
I am very disatisfied ..the music is great this recording very poor ..At the opening its much too low in power
You have to have the player turned up to max volume to hear it
it gets better much later in the piece..I shall return this Cd ..first time I have every done this .
Is it the conductors fault ?..I dont know ..but I am not a happy bunny
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on 30 October 2014
Superb value new CD.
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