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Tippett: A Child of Our Time

London Symphony Chorus & Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis
Indra Thomas (soprano), Mihoko Fujimura (mezzo), Steve Davislim (tenor) & Matthew Rose (bass)

DSD LSO0670 [live at the Barbican December 2007]

At c. £7 this is a welcome addition to the live recordings catalogue from LSO.

The work, to Tippett's own libretto, impressed at its 1942 premiere and early performances, but was quite 'difficult' then and some of the angularities of the melodic lines seemed even perverse. The following year Tippett was imprisoned for his pacifism.

Tippett's music did not always have easy births - remember the 2nd symphony which had to be re-started after a disastrous false entry, Sir Adrian Boult taking it on himself to save the day by saying magnanimously "Entirely my fault, ladies & gentlemen"...

CooT has, sadly, remained ever topical, but only the optimistic ending with "an abiding hope" rings a little hollow, with war and bloody ethnic conflict all but ubiquitous around the world. The spirituals, taking the place of Bach's chorales, are seemlessly woven in with utmost naturalness and are as moving as ever in context.

Sir Colin Davis has a rare ability to bring the 'liveness' of live recordings into the sitting room at home, and this is one of the best, with acoustical translation onto disc managed ideally. Elegantly produced, with full texts and authoritative notes by Paul Griffiths & Meirion Bowen, all in a slip case; a recommendable acquisition for your library.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Photo: Gautier Deblonde