Tippett, Sir Michael (Kemp)
- David Clarke
(b London, Jan 2, 1905; d London, Jan 8, 1998). English composer. His importance lies not only in his revitalizing contribution to the genres of symphony, concerto, opera, string quartet and sonata, but also in his awareness – displayed in his writings as well as his compositional practice – of the complexities of the modern condition and the artist’s role in relation to this. One result of his longevity was an engagement with the radically different social and cultural climates across the century, particularly reflected in a dramatic, modernist change of style in the 1960s. In his first period the salvage and regeneration of materials and aesthetic conceptions from the past – most particularly elements of the English Renaissance and Baroque, and Beethoven – was central. But even in his works of the 1960s and after, such a process continued, only now with music of his own times. After reaching a peak of stylistic experimentation in the earlier 1970s, Tippett’s style began to look back to the lyricism and diatonicism of the earlier works. While these features with which he purged the extremes of the intervening period, may not have marked as decisive a style change as that around ...