New York Times Friday Jan 9 1998
Michael Tippett, a composer of vision and inventiveness who was considered one
of Britain's most important contemporary musical talents, has died. He was 93.
died Thursday at his west London home after suffering from pneumonia for two
months, Meirion Bowen, his manager and biographer, announced Friday. The
composer became ill on a trip to Stockholm for a 12-day festival of his music.
works included opera, choral, orchestral, chamber and piano music, and fused
strong rhythms, jazz, spirituals, madrigal-like counterpoint and imaginative new
sounds like the wind machine that ends his Fourth Symphony.
considered his music difficult to play, and his individualism and modernity
inevitably attracted criticism. But he endured to become one of the leading
figures of British 20th-century music, along with his late colleagues Benjamin
Britten and Sir William Walton.
most famous work, the oratorio ``A Child of Our Time, was begun days after the
outbreak of World War II and grew out of his outrage at the world's apathy to
the plight of Jewish refugees.
Handel's ``Messiah'' and Bach's Passions as a foundation, he substituted Negro
spirituals for the traditional Lutheran chorales. The piece, first performed in
1944, was described in Newsweek magazine three decades later as ``something
Handel might have written had he lived in the age of Auschwitz.''