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.