Tippett: A Child of our Time
Author(s): Kenneth Gloag
Publication Date: 28/10/1999
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Michael Tippett's oratorio A Child of our Time was written at the beginning of the second world war as an expression of 'man's inhumanity to man'. It has become one of his most widely known works and one which is seen to symbolise the composer's extra-musical concerns, both political and psychological. This study places these concerns within a wider historical and cultural context while also focusing on specific aspects of Tippett's musical language. Central to this enquiry is Tippett's relationship to the work of T. S. Eliot, a relationship which is seen to condition both the text and its musical representation through Tippett's allusions to specific poetic images within the text and references to historical genres, forms and gestures within the musical dimension. Also of importance is the initial critical reception of the work, a reception which determined responses that still surround the work.