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The Orchestral Music of Michael Tippett
Creative Development and the Compositional Process

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Part of Music since 1900

  • Date Published: February 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107000247
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About the Authors
  • With extracts from the composer's letters, writings, interviews and broadcasts, and supported by evidence from his sketchbooks and manuscripts, The Orchestral Music of Michael Tippett explores Tippett's intentions and argues that the experiences that triggered his creative impulses are integral to understanding his music. In his discussion of Tippett's creative process, Thomas Schuttenhelm attempts to recapture the circumstances under which Tippett's orchestral works were created, to document how his visionary aspirations were developed and sustained throughout the creative cycle, and to chart how conception was transmuted from idea through to performance. Analysing Tippett's orchestral works throughout his long career, from the Symphonic Movement of 1931 to his final masterpiece The Rose Lake in 1991–3, Schuttenhelm explores each work in detail to provide a comprehensive commentary on one of the most influential British composers of the twentieth century.

    • Proposes a new model for understanding the creative process
    • Offers a comprehensive assessment of Tippett's compositional process as applied to his orchestral music, which can also be applied to his chamber music and operas
    • Uncovers new evidence and examines in close detail all primary source material in association with Tippett's orchestral music, extending and supporting existing scholarship and promoting further study
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Detailed and often illuminating.' BBC Music Magazine

    '… Schuttenhelm's reach and narrative is of interest … the chapters on The Rose Lake and other understudied works make the book a worthwhile purchase for the specialist reader …' Oliver Soden, Cercles

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    Customer reviews

    15th May 2014 by Trsgtr

    The author and Cambridge University Press are grateful to The British Library, The Will Trustees of the Michael Tippett Estate and the Michael Tippett Musical Foundation for their kind permission to quote from the letters and unpublished works of Michael Tippett, and to Michael Tippetts lifelong publishers, Schott Music Ltd, for their kind permission to quote numerous passages from his published scores. A full catalogue of the complete works of Michael Tippett may be found at

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107000247
    • length: 338 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 180 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.84kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus. 51 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Symphonic Movement (1930) and the Symphony in B-Flat (1933–4)
    2. Concerto for Double String Orchestra (1938–9)
    3. Fantasia on a Theme of Handel (1939–41)
    4. Symphony No. 1 (1944–5)
    5. Little Music (1946)
    6. Suite in D (1948)
    7. Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli (1953)
    8. Divertimento on 'Sellinger's Round' (1953–4)
    9. Piano Concerto (1953–4)
    10. Symphony No. 2 (1956–7)
    11. Praeludium for Brass, Bells and Percussion (1962)
    12. Concerto for Orchestra (1962–3)
    13. Symphony No. 3 (1970–2)
    14. Symphony No. 4 (1976–7)
    15. Triple Concerto (1978–9)
    16. The Rose Lake (1991–3).

  • Author

    Thomas Schuttenhelm, Central Connecticut State University
    A composer, guitarist and scholar, Dr Thomas Schuttenhelm is on the faculty at the Hartt School (University of Hartford) and Central Connecticut State University. He was a UK Fulbright Fellow and a British Music Studies Fellow (The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin). He has lectured at Yale University, Connecticut, Cardiff University, the University of Newcastle, the University of Sussex, the University of London and the Mannheim Hochschule für Musik. He was the editor of The Selected Letters of Michael Tippett and is a contributing author to The Cambridge Companion to Michael Tippett. In addition to performing and promoting Tippett's music, he has contributed to numerous BBC broadcasts and continues to play an important role in the creation, performance and scholarship of contemporary music.

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