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Donald Macleod explores Tippett's life via his intense personal relationships. Today, Barbara Hepworth and Benjamin Britten.

Michael Tippett was a particularly absorbent composer, soaking up an incredibly wide range of inspirations and influences from the world around him, and perhaps most often from outside the field of music. His huge intellectual capacity and endless interest in other people combined with immense charisma to make him a personality to which everyone who met him seemed irresistibly drawn. His - often complex - relationships were particularly intense ones, and frequently blurred the lines between professional and personal, artistic and sexual.

This week Composer of the week looks at some of the people closest to Tippett and asks what influence they had on the life and music of a man whose story has still never been fully told. Joining Donald Macleod to explore sometimes uncharted territory is Oliver Soden, the author of a new - and the first complete - biography of the composer.

Today, Donald Macleod explores Tippett's relationship with Barbara Hepworth, Benjamin Britten, and the BBC.

Various: Variations on an Elizabethan Theme: Var 2 (Tippett): Lament
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Jac van Steen, conductor

Tippett: Fantasia Concertante on a theme of Corelli
Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Sir Neville Marriner

Tippett: The Midsummer Marriage – Act One Scene 8: ‘Is it so strange’, ‘You, you who were with me when she left me’, ‘See by a heavenly magic in this glass’.
Joan Sutherland (Jenifer), soprano
Richard Lewis (Mark), tenor
Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
John Pritchard, conductor

Tippett: Praeludium For Brass, Bells And Percussion
English Northern Philharmonia
Sir Michael Tippett, conductor

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Michael Tippett

    Variations on Sellinger's Round: Lament

    Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Jac van Steen.
    • NMC : NMCD062.
    • NMC.
    • 3.
  • Michael Tippett

    Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli for string orchestra

    Orchestra: Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Conductor: Neville Marriner.
    • DECCA : 476-7960.
    • DECCA.
    • 7.
  • Michael Tippett

    The Midsummer Marriage: Act I (Morning)

    Singer: Joan Sutherland. Singer: Richard Lewis. Orchestra: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Choir: Royal Opera House Chorus. Conductor: John Pritchard.
    • Gala GL100524.
    • Gala.
    • 15.
  • Michael Tippett

    Praeludium for brass, bells and percussion

    Orchestra: Orchestra of Opera North. Conductor: Michael Tippett.
    • NIMBUS : NI5217.
    • NIMBUS.
    • 10.

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