A CHRONOLOGICAL VIEW OF WESTERN MUSIC HISTORY IN THE CONTEXT OF WORLD EVENTS

Michael Tippett

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January 2, 1905: Michael Kemp Tippett is born in London, second of two children born to Henry William Tippett, a lawyer, and Isabel Clementine Binny Kemp, author and daughter of a civil servant.
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April 5, 1930: A concert at Barn Theatre, Oxted, features the first public performance of any music by Michael Tippett (25), including a Concerto in D for chamber orchestra, Three Songs for voice and piano to words of Mew, Variations on Jockey to the Fair for piano, String Quartet in F, and Psalm in C for chorus and orchestra to words of Fry. Tippett designed the program himself, but forgot to include his own name.
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December 9, 1935: String Quartet no.1 by Michael Tippett (30) is performed for the first time, in the Mercury Theatre, London.
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November 11, 1938: Piano Sonata no.1 by Michael Tippett (33) is performed for the first time, in Queen Mary Hall, London.
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September 3, 1939: Michael Tippett (34) begins composing A Child of Our Time.
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April 21, 1940: Concerto for double string orchestra by Michael Tippett (35) is performed for the first time, at Morley College, the composer conducting.
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October 15, 1940: World War II: In very heavy bombing of London, 400 people are killed. During the attack, a high explosive bomb obliterates Morley College. Later this month, its newly appointed Director of Music, Michael Tippett (35), will begin choir rehearsal in a nearby school.
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November 16, 1940: Michael Tippett (35) applies for provisional registration as a conscientious objector.
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February 3, 1942: The South East London Tribunal at Lambeth assigns Michael Tippett (37) non-combative military duties in response to his request for conscientious objector status. The composer appeals the decision. See 16 November 1940 and 30 May 1942.
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March 7, 1942: Fantasia on a Theme of Handel for piano and orchestra by Michael Tippett (37) is performed for the first time, in Wigmore Hall, London.
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May 30, 1942: The Appellate Tribunal gives Michael Tippett (37) conditional registration, that is, full time work in air raid precautions, National Fire Service, or on the land. The composer refuses. See 3 February 1942 and 21 June 1943.
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March 27, 1943: Michael Tippett’s (38) String Quartet no.2 is performed for the first time, in Wigmore Hall, London.
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June 5, 1943: Michael Tippett’s (38) cantata Boyhood’s End for tenor and piano to words of Hudson is performed for the first time, at Morley College, London by Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten (29).
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June 21, 1943: Michael Tippett (38), after having been found guilty of failing to comply with the conditions of registration (conscription), is taken to Wormwood Scrubs handcuffed to an army deserter. His neighbors in prison are a rapist and a murderer. Years later, Tippett’s mother will describe the day as “her proudest moment” and the composer himself will state that he felt he had “come home.” See 21 August 1943.
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July 11, 1943: Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten (29) give a recital at Wormwood Scrubs prison, London, with inmate Michael Tippett (38) turning pages.
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July 17, 1943: Two Madrigals for chorus by Michael Tippett (38) to words of Thomas and Hopkins, are performed for the first time, at Morley College, London while the composer is resident at Wormwood Scrubs prison.
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August 21, 1943: After serving two months of a three-month sentence for refusing to perform national service in lieu of military duty, Michael Tippett (38) is released from Wormwood Scrubs. See 21 June 1943.
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September 21, 1943: Rejoice in the Lamb op.30 for solo voices, chorus, and organ by Benjamin Britten (29) to words of Smart, is performed for the first time, in St. Matthew’s Church, Northampton conducted by the composer. The work was composed for the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the church. Also premiered is Fanfare no.1 for brass by Michael Tippett (38).
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March 19, 1944: A Child of Our Time, an oratorio for four vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra by Michael Tippett (39) to his own words is performed for the first time, in the Adelphi Theatre, London. The work was inspired by the murder of Ernst von Rath by Herschel Grynszpan and the pogroms which followed. See 7-9 November 1938.
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September 16, 1944: Michael Tippett’s (39) motet for chorus Plebs angelica is performed for the first time, in Canterbury Cathedral.
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December 24, 1944: Poet’s Christmas is broadcast as a feature over the airwaves of the BBC Home Service. It includes first performances of Michael Tippett’s (39) motet for soprano and chorus The Weeping Babe to words of Edith Sitwell and A Shepherd’s Carol by Benjamin Britten (31) to words of Auden and also Britten’s Chorale after an Old French Carol to words of Auden.
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June 7, 1945: Peter Grimes, an opera by Benjamin Britten (31) to words of Slater after Crabbe, is performed for the first time, at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London. Present are Ralph Vaughan Williams (72), William Walton (43), and Michael Tippett (40). The audience and the press are enraptured and the artists receive multiple curtain calls. It quickly becomes one of the most performed operas written in the 20th century.
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November 10, 1945: Symphony no.1 by Michael Tippett (40) is performed for the first time, in Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.
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July 5, 1946: Michael Tippett’s (41) organ work Preludio al Vespro di Monteverdi is performed for the first time, in Central Hall, Westminster.
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October 19, 1946: String Quartet no.3 by Michael Tippett (41) is performed for the first time, in Wigmore Hall, London.
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November 9, 1946: Little Music for string orchestra by Michael Tippett (41) is performed for the first time, in Wigmore Hall, London.
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November 15, 1948: Suite in D by Michael Tippett (43), celebrating the birth of Prince Charles, is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC Third Programme.
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May 7, 1951: The Heart’s Assurance, a cycle for high voice and piano by Michael Tippett (46) to words of Keyes and Lewis, is performed for the first time, in Wigmore Hall, London by Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten (37).
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February 13, 1953: Ritual Dances from Michael Tippett’s (48) unperformed opera The Midsummer Marriage, are performed for the first time, in the Musiksaal, Basel. See 27 January 1955.
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June 1, 1953: Four works for chorus by British composers are performed for the first time, in Royal Festival Hall, London, as part of the celebrations for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II: Silence and Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams (80) to words of his wife Ursula Vaughan Williams, What is it Like to be Young and Fair by Arnold Bax (69) to words of Clifford Bax, The Hills by John Ireland (73) to words of Kirkup, and Michael Tippett’s (48) madrigal Dance, Clarion Air to words of Fry.
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June 6, 1953: Michael Tippett’s (48) Fanfare no.3 for three trumpets is performed for the first time, from St. Ives Church tower, Cornwall.
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June 20, 1953: Variations on an Elizabethan Theme for strings is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC Third Programme, conducted by Benjamin Britten (39). Each of the six variations is composed by a different prominent British composer. Contributors include Britten, Michael Tippett (48) and William Walton (51).
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August 29, 1953: Fantasia concertante on a Theme of Corelli for strings by Michael Tippett (48) is performed for the first time, in Usher Hall, Edinburgh, the composer conducting.
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August 1, 1954: Michael Tippett’s (49) Four Inventions for two recorders is performed for the first time, at the Froebel Institute, London.
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November 5, 1954: Divertimento on Sellinger’s Round for chamber orchestra by Michael Tippett (49) is performed for the first time, in the Zürich Tonhalle.
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January 27, 1955: The Midsummer Marriage, an opera by Michael Tippett (50) to his own words, is performed for the first time, at Covent Garden.
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December 20, 1955: Sonata for four horns by Michael Tippett (50) is performed for the first time, in Wigmore Hall, London.
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October 30, 1956: Michael Tippett’s (51) Piano Concerto is performed for the first time, in Town Hall, Birmingham.
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February 5, 1958: Symphony no.2 by Michael Tippett (53) is performed for the first time, in Royal Festival Hall, London.
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July 6, 1958: Four Songs from the British Isles for chorus by Michael Tippett (53) are performed for the first time, in Abbaye de Royaumont, Seine-et-Oise, France.
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July 25, 1958: Crown of the Year, a cantata for female chorus and small ensemble by Michael Tippett (53) to words of Fry, is performed for the first time, at Badminton School, Bristol the composer conducting.
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June 13, 1959: Michael Tippett (54) is named Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
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January 31, 1960: Lullaby for solo voices and chorus by Michael Tippett (55) to words of Yeats is performed for the first time, in Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
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April 26, 1960: Music, for unison chorus, strings, and percussion by Michael Tippett (55) to words of Shelley, is performed for the first time, in Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells.
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June 8, 1960: Words for Music Perhaps for speaker, bass clarinet, trumpet, percussion, piano, viola, and cello by Michael Tippett (55) to words of Yeats, is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC Third Programme, the composer conducting.
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July 7, 1961: Three new works by British composers are performed for the first time, in Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh: Sonata in C op.65 for cello and piano by Benjamin Britten (47) performed by Mstislav Rostropovich and the composer, Songs for Achilles for tenor and guitar by Michael Tippett (56) to his own words, and Sir Patrick Spens for tenor and guitar by Thea Musgrave (33) to traditional words.
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March 13, 1962: Magnificat and Nunc dimittis for chorus and organ by Michael Tippett (57) is performed for the first time, in Cambridge.
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May 29, 1962: King Priam, an opera by Michael Tippett (57) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in Coventry.
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May 29, 1962: Incidental music to Shakespeare’s play The Tempest by Michael Tippett (57) is performed for the first time, at the Old Vic, London.
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September 3, 1962: Piano Sonata no.2 by Michael Tippett (57) is performed for the first time, in Freemasons’ Hall, Edinburgh.
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September 21, 1962: Songs for Ariel, excerpts for voice and piano of the incidental music to The Tempest by Michael Tippett (57), is performed for the first time, at Fenton House, London.
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November 14, 1962: Praeludium for brass, bells, and percussion by Michael Tippett (57) is performed for the first time, at Royal Festival Hall, London.
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August 28, 1963: Concerto for orchestra by Michael Tippett (58) is performed for the first time, in Usher Hall, Edinburgh.
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January 13, 1965: String Trio in B flat by Michael Tippett (60) is performed for the first time, in London, 33 years after it was composed.
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January 19, 1966: The Vision of St. Augustine, a cantata for baritone, chorus, and orchestra by Michael Tippett (61) to words of the saint and the Bible, is performed for the first time, in Royal Festival Hall, London the composer conducting.
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January 11, 1967: The Severn Bridge Variations for orchestra are performed for the first time, in Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Variations were composed on the Welsh tune Braint to celebrate the opening of the new Severn Bridge connecting England and Wales. Each of the six variations is by a different British composer, the last being by Michael Tippett (62).
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July 8, 1970: The Shires Suite for chorus and orchestra by Michael Tippett (65) to words of various authors is performed for the first time, in Cheltenham Town Hall, directed by the composer.
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October 12, 1970: Songs for Dov for tenor and small orchestra by Michael Tippett (65) to his own words is performed for the first time, at University College, Cardiff the composer conducting.
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December 2, 1970: The Knot Garden, an opera by Michael Tippett (65) to his own words, is performed for the first time, at Covent Garden, London.
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June 17, 1972: New works by British composers in honor of Igor Stravinsky (†1) are performed for the first time, in St. John’s Smith Square, London on the 90th anniversary of Stravinsky’s birth: In memoriam Magistri for flute, clarinet, and string quartet by Michael Tippett (67), the first live performance of Canon in memoriam Igor Stravinsky for flute, clarinet, harp, and string quartet by Peter Maxwell Davies (37), and Tombeau in memoriam Igor Stravinsky for flute, clarinet, harp, and string quartet by Harrison Birtwistle (36). See 6 April 1972.
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June 22, 1972: Symphony no.3 by Michael Tippett (67) for soprano and orchestra is performed for the first time, in Royal Festival Hall, London.
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May 26, 1973: Piano Sonata no.3 by Michael Tippett (68) is performed for the first time, in the Bath Assembly Rooms.
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July 7, 1977: The Ice Break, an opera by Michael Tippett (72) to his own words, is performed for the first time, at Covent Garden.
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October 6, 1977: Symphony no.4 by Michael Tippett (72) is performed for the first time, in Orchestra Hall, Chicago.
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May 20, 1979: String Quartet no.4 by Michael Tippett (74) is performed for the first time, in the Bath Assembly Rooms.
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June 29, 1980: Michael Tippett’s (75) Wolf Trap Fanfare for brass is performed for the first time, at Wolf Trap in Virginia.
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August 22, 1980: Concerto for violin, viola, cello, and orchestra by Michael Tippett (75) is performed for the first time, in Royal Albert Hall, London.
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November 9, 1983: The Blue Guitar for solo guitar by Michael Tippett (78) is performed for the first time, at the Ambassador Auditorium, Pasadena, California.
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February 6, 1984: Michael Tippett’s (79) Festival Brass with Blues for brass instruments is performed for the first time, in Hong Kong.
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April 5, 1984: The Mask of Time for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra by Michael Tippett (79) to his own and others’ words, is performed for the first time, in Symphony Hall, Boston. The work was commissioned to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
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September 25, 1984: Great Britain issues a postage stamp honoring the British Council on the Arts. It depicts a young violin player against a score of The Midsummer Marriage by Michael Tippett (79).
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January 14, 1985: Piano Sonata no.4 by Michael Tippett (80) is performed for the first time, in the Japan-America Theatre, Los Angeles.
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January 23, 1985: Moving Into Aquarius for orchestra by Thea Musgrave (56) and Richard Rodney Bennett is performed for the first time, in Royal Festival Hall, London to celebrate the 80th birthday of Michael Tippett.
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June 15, 1988: Water Out of Sunlight, Michael Tippett’s (83) String Quartet no.4 arranged for string orchestra by Meirion Bowen, is performed for the first time, in Royal Festival Hall, London.
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October 27, 1989: Michael Tippett’s (84) opera New Year to his own words is performed for the first time, in Houston.
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January 10, 1990: New Year Suite for orchestra by Michael Tippett (85) is performed for the first time, in the Flint Center, San Francisco.
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April 11, 1991: Byzantium for solo voices and orchestra by Michael Tippett (86) to words of Yeats, is performed for the first time, in Orchestra Hall, Chicago.
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December 28, 1991: Autumn for oboe and piano by Michael Tippett (86) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC. It is an arrangement by Bowen of music from Crown of the Year . See 25 July 1958.
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May 9, 1992: String Quartet no.5 by Michael Tippett (87) is performed for the first time, in Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.
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May 15, 1994: Michael Tippett (89) unveils a commemorative stone to conscientious objectors in Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury.
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February 19, 1995: The Rose Lake for orchestra by Michael Tippett (90) is performed for the first time, in London.
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July 31, 1995: The Shires Suite by Michael Tippett (90), arranged for orchestra by Bowen, is performed for the first time, in City Hall, Newcastle. See 8 July 1970.
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November 26, 1995: Caliban’s Song for baritone and piano by Michael Tippett (90) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC. It is an excerpt from the Suite: The Tempest . See 14 December 1995.
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December 14, 1995: Suite: The Tempest for tenor, baritone, and instrumental ensemble by Michael Tippett (90) is performed for the first time, in the Purcell Room, London. The suite is arranged by Bowen from Tippett’s incidental music to The Tempest, plus the newly composed Caliban’s Song . See 26 November 1995 and 29 May 1962.
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January 8, 1998: Michael Kemp Tippett dies of pneumonia at his home in West London, United Kingdom, aged 93 years and six days.  His earthly remains will be cremated and given over to private hands.