Monday, May 05, 2008


Peter Rivendell
of Gay for Today on Michael Tippett: "Under Tippett, the Leicester Schools Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra of ordinary secondary school children aged 14 to 18, regularly performed on BBC radio and TV, made commercial gramophone records and established new standards for music-making in an educational context. Many leading British performers had their first experience of orchestral music in the LSSO under Tippett. [He] was, in the words of his partner Meirion Bowen, an 'unabashed homosexual', and he defied the social taboos of his time by incorporating homoerotic themes in his operas. Tippett was regarded by many as an outsider in British music, a view that may have been related to his conscientious objector status during World War II and his homosexuality. His pacifist beliefs led to a prison sentence in World War II, and for many years his music was considered ungratefully written for voices and instruments, and therefore difficult to perform. An intense intellectual, he maintained a much wider knowledge and interest in the literature and philosophy of other countries (Africa, Europe) than was common among British musicians. His (sometimes quirky) libretti for his operas and other works reflect his passionate interest in the dilemmas of human society and the enduring strength of the human spirit."

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