Those Twentieth Century Blues

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Pimlico, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 290 pages
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This autobiography of a British composer is as idiosyncratic as the man himself, revealing his insatiable curiosity about people and places, ideas and sensations, and music of every kind. Sir Michael writes vigorously and bravely and is candid about his sexual and emotional life.

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About the author (1994)

Sir Michael Tippett studied at London's Royal College of Music, where he later returned to learn the contrapuntal skills so integral to his musical style. Deeply responsive to world events, he began 'A Child of Our Time' on the day war broke out in 1939 - on the advice of T S Eliot he wrote his own libretto for it and future works. In 1940, whilst Director of Music at London's Morley College, Tippett discovered the music of Purcell, whose sensitive word-setting and dramatic vocal style he emulated and developed in his operas. A conscientious objector, in 1943 he was sentenced to three months in Wormwood Scrubs - he remained a committed pacifist and humanitarian. Forever inspired by the music of the past Tippett also worshipped Beethoven, particularly his innate sense of musical architecture and structure. Tippett absorbed many musical influences into his work, including negro spirituals in 'A Child of Our Time', and the blues in 'The Knot Garden', which, along with 'The Ice Break' includes substantial parts for electric guitar.

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