List of compositions by Michael Tippett

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The compositional career of the British composer Michael Tippett extended over eight decades, from juvenilia and unpublished works written in the 1920s to his final works of the 1990s. He composed across many genres, from large-scale orchestral works and full-length operas to solo songs and brass band fanfares. From the mid-1930s his music began to be published and performed publicly. The main list is restricted to published and publicly performed works; a subsidiary list gives details of unpublished pieces, some of which may have been privately performed.

Published works[edit]

Genre Date of composition Title Musical forces First performance details Notes Ref.
Opera 1946–52 The Midsummer Marriage Voices and orchestra 27 January 1955:
London. Royal Opera House cond. John Pritchard
Opera in three acts. Libretto by composer. See also "Ritual Dances from The Midsummer Marriage" in orchestral works [1]
Opera 1958–61 King Priam Voices and orchestra 29 May 1962:
Coventry. Coventry Theatre. Royal Opera House chorus & orch. cond. John Pritchard
Opera in three acts. Libretto by composer. [2]
Opera 1966–69 The Knot Garden Voices and orchestra 2 December 1970:
London. Royal Opera House cond. Colin Davis
Opera in three acts. Libretto by composer. [3]
Opera 1973–76 The Ice Break Voices and orchestra 7 July 1977:
London. Royal Opera House cond. Colin Davis
Opera in three acts. Libretto by composer. [3]
Opera 1985–88 New Year Voices and orchestra 27 October 1989:
Houston, Texas. Houston Grand Opera cond. John DeMain
Opera in three acts. Libretto by composer.
Orchestral Suite 1989.
Orchestral 1938–39 Concerto for Double String Orchestra Orchestra 21 April 1940:
London. South London Orchestra (Morley College) cond. Michael Tippett
Dedicated "to Jeffrey Mark" [6]
Orchestral 1944–45 Symphony No. 1 Orchestra 10 November 1945:
Liverpool. Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Malcolm Sargent
Orchestral 1946 Little Music for Strings String Orchestra 9 November 1946:
London. Jacques Orchestra cond. Reginald Jacques
Written for 10th anniversary of Jacques String Orchestra [1]
Orchestral 1948 Suite in D: Birthday Suite for Prince Charles Orchestra 15 November 1948:
London. BBC broadcast, BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Sir Adrian Boult
BBC commission to mark Prince Charles's birth. Revised in 1983 by Brian Bowen [1]
Orchestral 1952 Ritual Dances from The Midsummer Marriage Orchestra and optional chorus 13 February 1953:
Basel. Basler Kammerorchester cond. Paul Sacher
Dedicated "to Walter Goehr" [1]
Orchestral 1953 Variations on an Elizabethan Theme (Composite work: second variation, "Lament" by Tippett) Small Orchestra 16 June 1953:
London. BBC broadcast, orchestra cond. Benjamin Britten
Variations by six composers. First public performance Aldeburgh Festival, 20 June 1953 [7]
Orchestral 1953 Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli String orchestra 29 August 1953:
Edinburgh. BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Michael Tippett
Edinburgh Festival celebration of tercentenary of birth of Arcangelo Corelli [8]
Orchestral 1953–54 Divertimento on Sellinger's Round Chamber orchestra 5 November 1954:
Zürich. Collegium Musicum Zürich cond. Paul Sacher
Commissioned by, and dedicated to, Paul Sacher [8]
Orchestral 1956–57 Symphony No. 2 Orchestra 5 February 1958:
London. BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Sir Adrian Boult
Dedicated "to John Minchinton" [2]
Orchestral 1962 Incidental Music; The Tempest Orchestra 29 May 1962:
London. Old Vic production; music directed by John Lambert
Orchestral 1962–63 Concerto for Orchestra Orchestra 28 August 1963:
Edinburgh. London Symphony Orchestra cond. Colin Davis
Written in celebration of Benjamin Britten's 50th birthday and dedicated to him [9]
Orchestral 1962–63 "Braint" (last of Severn Bridge Variations, a composite work) Orchestra 12 January 1967:
Swansea. BBC Training Orchestra cond Sir Adrian Boult
One of 7 variations on a trad. Welsh melody, each by a different composer [3]
Orchestral 1970–72 Symphony No. 3 Soprano and orchestra 22 June 1972:
London. Heather Harper, London Symphony Orchestra cond. Colin Davis
Dedicated "to Howard Hartog" [3]
Orchestral 1976–77 Symphony No. 4 Orchestra 6 October 1977:
Chicago. Chicago Symphony Orchestra cond. Sir Georg Solti
Dedicated "to Ian Kemp" [10]
Orchestral 1988 Water Out of Sunlight Orchestra 15 June 1988:
London. Academy of St. Martin in the Fields cond. Neville Marriner
Orchestral arrangement by Meirion Bowen of String Quartet No. 4 (1977–78) [5][11]
Orchestral 1991–93 The Rose Lake Orchestra 19 February 1995:
London. London Symphony Orchestra cond. Colin Davis
Premiered at a Tippett 90th birthday celebration concert [12]
Concertante 1939–41 Fantasia on a Theme of Handel Piano and orchestra 7 March 1942:
London. Phyllis Sellick, London Symphony Orchestra cond. Walter Goehr
Dedicated "to Phyllis Sellick" [6]
Concertante 1953–55 Piano Concerto Piano and orchestra 30 October 1956:
Birmingham. Louis Kentner, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra cond. Rudolf Schwarz
Dedicated "to Evelyn Maude" [8]
Concertante 1978–79 Triple concerto for violin, viola and cello Violin, viola, cello and orchestra 22 August 1980:
London. György Pauk, Nobuko Imai, Ralph Kirshbaum, London Symphony Orchestra cond. Colin Davis
Dedicated "to Herbert and Betty Barrett" [10]
Choral 1939–41 Oratorio: A Child of Our Time SATB soloists, choir and orchestra 19 March 1944:
London. Joan Cross, Margaret MacArthur, Peter Pears, Roderick Lloyd, London Regional Civil Defence Choir, Morley College Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Walter Goehr
Text by Michael Tippett, who in 1958 arranged the five spirituals for unaccompanied chorus. [6]
Choral 1942 Two Madrigals for unaccompanied chorus: "The Source" and "The Windhover" SATB chorus 17 July 1943:
London. Morley College Choir cond. Walter Bergmann
Settings of poems by Edward Thomas and Gerard Manley Hopkins [6]
Choral 1943–44 Motet: Plebs Angelica Double choir 16 September 1944:
Canterbury. Fleet Street Choir cond. T. B. Lawrence
Commissioned by Canterbury Cathedral and dedicated to the cathedral's choir [6]
Choral 1944 Motet: The Weeping Babe Soprano and SATB choir 24 December 1944:
London. BBC broadcast, BBC Singers cond. Leslie Woodgate
Setting of poem by Edith Sitwell. Dedicated "in memory of Bronwen Wilson" [1]
Choral 1956 Four Songs from the British Isles: "Early One Morning"; "Lillibullero"; "Poortith cauld"; "Gwenllian" Unaccompanied SATB chorus 6 July 1958:
Royaumont Abbey, France. London Bach Group cond. John Minchinton
Performed at the 1958 Royaumont Festival [2]
Choral 1956 "Over The Sea To Skye" Unaccompanied SATB chorus 31 July 2003:
Dublin. National Chamber Choir of Ireland conducted by Celso Antunes
Work lost after 1956, rediscovered 2002 [13]
Choral 1958 Cantata: Crown of the Year SSA chorus; recorders or flutes, oboe, clarinet, cornet or trumpet, string quartet, percussion, handbells and piano 25 July 1958:
Bristol. Badminton School choir and ensemble, cond. Michael Tippett
Composed for the Badminton School centenary [2]
Choral 1958 Hymn tune: Wadhurst (setting for "Unto the hills around", by John Campbell) Written at the request of The Salvation Army [2]
Choral 1960 "Music" (Shelley poem) Unison voices, strings and piano (or voices and strings) 26 April 1960:
Tunbridge Wells. Choirs of East Sussex and West Kent Choral Festival, cond. Trevor Harvey
Choral 1961 Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis SATB chorus and organ 13 March 1962:
Cambridge. St John's College Chapel Choir cond. George Guest
Composed for the 450th anniversary of the foundation of St John's College, Cambridge [9]
Choral 1962–65 The Vision of Saint Augustine Baritone solo, chorus and orchestra 19 January 1966:
London. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, BBC Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Michael Tippett
Commissioned by BBC [9]
Choral 1965–70 The Shires Suite Chorus and orchestra 8 July 1970:
Cheltenham. Schola Cantorum of Oxford, Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra cond. Michael Tippett
Written for the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra [3]
Choral 1980–82 Oratorio: The Mask of Time SATB soloists, chorus and orchestra 5 April 1984:
Boston. Faye Robinson, Yvonne Minton, Robert Tear, John Cheek, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, Boston Symphony Orchestra cond. Colin Davis
Commissioned for 100th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra [10]
Vocal 1943 Cantata: Boyhood's End Tenor and piano 5 June 1943:
London. Peter Pears (tenor), Benjamin Britten (piano)
Text by W. H. Hudson [6]
Vocal 1950–51 Song cycle: The Heart's Assurance Solo high voice and piano 7 May 1951:
London. Peter Pears (tenor) and Benjamin Britten (piano)
Setting of poems by Sidney Keyes and Alun Lewis. Dedicated "in memory of Francesca Allinson (1902–45)" [1]
Vocal 1952 Madrigal for five voices: "Dance, Clarion Air" Two sopranos, alto, tenor, bass 1 June 1953:
London. Golden Age Singers and the Cambridge University Madrigal Society cond. Boris Ord
Text by Christopher Fry. From A Garland for the Queen, a collection of madrigals by various composers, marking the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II [8]
Vocal 1956 Bonny at Morn (folksong arrangement) Unison voices, recorder accompaniment April 1956 Written for 10th anniversary of the International Pestalozzi Children's Village at Trogen [8]
Vocal 1959 Lullaby for Six Voices Six voices, alternately for alto solo and small SSTTB choir 31 January 1960:
London. Deller Consort
Written for the Deller Consort's 10th anniversary [2]
Vocal 1960 Words for Music Perhaps Speaking voice and chamber ensemble 8 June 1960:
London. BBC broadcast, ensemble conducted by Michael Tippett
Poem by W. B. Yeats [9]
Vocal 1961 Songs for Achilles Tenor and guitar 7 July 1961:
Aldeburgh. Peter Pears (tenor), Julian Bream (guitar)
Sung at Aldeburgh Festival 1961 [9]
Vocal 1962 Songs for Ariel Solo voice, piano or harpsichord 21 September 1962:
London. Grayston Burgess and Virginia Pleasants
Adapted from The Tempest suite (1962); rearranged in 1964 for voice and small instrumental ensemble [9][13]
Vocal 1970 Songs for Dov Tenor and small orchestra 12 October 1970:
Cardiff. Gerard English, London Sinfonietta cond. Michael Tippett
Dedicated "to Eric Walter White" [3]
Vocal 1988–90 Byzantium Soprano and orchestra 11 April 1991:
Chicago. Faye Robinson, Chicago Symphony Orchestra cond. Sir Georg Solti
Vocal 1995 Caliban's Song Baritone and piano 26 November 1995:
London. BBC broadcast, David Barrell (bar), and Iain Burnside (piano)
Adapted from The Tempest Suite (1962) [13]
1934–35 String Quartet No. 1 Violin (2), viola, cello 9 December 1935:
London. Brosa Quartet
Dedicated "to Wilfred Franks". Revised in 1943 [15]
1936–38 Piano Sonata No. 1 Piano 11 November 1938:
London. Phyllis Sellick
Dedicated "to Francesca Allinson" [6]
1941–42 String Quartet No. 2 in F Sharp Violin (2), viola, cello 27 March 1943:
London. Zorian Quartet
Dedicated "to Walter Bergmann" [6]
1945–46 String Quartet No. 3 Violin (2), viola, cello 19 October 1946:
London. Zorian Quartet
Dedicated "to Mrs Mary Behrend" [1]
1946 "Preludio al Vespro di Monteverdi" Solo organ 5 July 1946:
London. Geraint Jones
Dedicated "for Geraint Jones" [1]
1954 Four Inventions for recorders Treble and descant recorders 1 August 1954:
London. Society of Recorder Players
1955 Sonata for Four Horns French horns 20 December 1955:
London Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble
1962 Piano Sonata No. 2 Piano 3 September 1962:
Edinburgh. Margaret Kitchin
Dedicated "to Margaret Kitchin" [9]
1962 Praeludium Brass, bells and percussion 14 November 1962:
London. BBC Symphony Orchestra (sections) cond. Antal Doráti
Composed for 40th anniversary of the BBC [9]
1962–63 "Mosaic" Wind band Setting of first movement of Concerto for Orchestra (1962–63) [13]
1964 Prelude, Recitative and Aria Flute, oboe and harpsichord or piano February 1964:
London. BBC broadcast, Orion Trio
Arrangement of Hermes’ aria "O Divine Music" from King Priam (1958–61) [13]
1971 In Memoriam Magistri Flute, clarinet and string quartet 17 June 1972:
London. London Sinfonietta cond. Elgar Howarth
Commissioned by Tempo magazine in memory of Igor Stravinsky (died 6 April 1971) [3]
1972–73 Piano Sonata No. 3 Piano 26 May 1973:
Bath. Paul Crossley
Dedicated "to Anna Kallin" [3]
1977–78 String Quartet No. 4 Violin (2), viola, cello 20 May 1979:
Bath. Lindsay String Quartet
Dedicated "to Michael Tillett, colleague and friend". For orchestral version see Water Out of Sunlight (1988) [10]
1982–83 The Blue Guitar Solo guitar 9 November 1983:
Pasadena, Ca. Julian Bream
Dedicated "to the memory of Calvin Simmons (1950–82)" [10]
1983–84 Piano Sonata No. 4 Piano 14 January 1985:
Los Angeles. Paul Crossley
Dedicated "to Michael Vyner" [16]
1985 A Vision of the Island (adaptation of The Tempest incidental music) Speakers, four male voices, chamber ensemble 25 October 1985:
London. BBC broadcast, members of Taverner Consort and Nash Ensemble cond. Andrew Parrott
1990–91 String Quartet No. 5 Violin (2), viola, cello May 1992:
Sheffield. Lindsay Quartet
1991 Prelude: Autumn Oboe and piano [5]
Brass Band 1943 Brass Fanfare No. 1 Four horns, three trumpets, three trombones 21 September 1943:
Northampton. Band of the Northamptonshire Regiment
Commissioned for the 30th anniversary of the consecration of St Matthew's Church, Northampton [6]
Brass Band 1953 Brass Fanfares Nos 2 and 3 No. 2 (four trumpets); No. 3 (three trumpets) 6 June 1963:
St Ives, Cornwall. Trumpeters from RAF Mawgan
Brass Band 1980 Brass Fanfare No. 4: Wolf Trap Three trumpets, two trombones and tuba 29 June 1980:
Wolf Trap, Virginia. Members of National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, cond. Hugh Wolff
Brass Band 1983 Festal Brass with Blues Brass band 6 February 1984:
Hong Kong. Faery Engineering Band. cond. Howard Williams
Brass Band 1987 Brass Band Fanfare No. 5 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, percussion June 1987:
Philip Jones Brass Ensemble cond. Elgar Howarth
Arranged by Meirion Bowen from The Mask of Time [5][13]
Brass Band 1987 Triumph Concert band: Brass, woodwind and percussion Commissioned by The New England Conservatory, Baylor University, University of Michigan, Florida State University, Ohio State University and Cincinnati Conservatory [5][13]

Juvenilia and unpublished works[edit]

The following works are listed by Kemp as (a) works or fragments whose manuscripts have survived and (b) works whose manuscripts are lost but of which there is a record of public performance.[15]

Date of composition Title Musical forces Notes
1926–27 Arrangements: Bolsters (ballet); "The House that Jack Built"; "Cheerly Men"; "Yang-Tsi-Kiang"; "Three Jovial Huntsmen" Piano trio
1927 The Undying Fire Baritone, chorus and orchestra Text by H. G. Wells
1927–28 The Village Opera: opera in 3 acts Voices and orchestra Adaptation of 1729 work by Charles Johnson
1928 Piano Sonata in C minor Piano
1928–30 String Quartet in F
1928–30 Concerto in D Flutes, oboe, horns and strings Manuscript lost
1929 String Quartet in F minor
1929 Piano variations for Dudley Parvin Piano
1929 Ten variations on a Swiss folksong as harmonised by Beethoven Piano
1929 Three songs: "Sea Love"; Afternoon Tea; Arracombe Fair Voice and piano Poems by Charlotte Mew. Music manuscripts of 'Sea Love' and 'Arracombe Fair' lost.
1930 "Jockey to the Fair": variations Piano
1930 Overture and Incidental Music: Don Juan Orchestra Play (1925) by James Elroy Flecker. Music manuscript lost
1930 Psalm in C: "The Gateway" Chorus and orchestra Text by Christopher Fry
1930 Sonata in E minor Fragments only
1930–31 Symphonic Movement Orchestra
1932 String Trio in B Flat Orchestral version 1932 (fragments only)
1933–34 Symphony in B flat Orchestra
1934 Robin Hood (Opera) Voices and orchestra Libretto by Tippett, Ruth Pennyman and David Ayerst: Performed by an amateur cast at Boosbeck, Yorkshire, in 1934. Some music recycled into Birthday Suite of 1948.[18]
1935 "Miners" Chorus and piano Text by Judy Wogan
1937 A Song of Liberty: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Chorus and orchestra Poem by William Blake
1938 Robert of Sicily (Children's opera) Voices and orchestra Text by Christopher Fry based on Longfellow[19]
1939 Seven at one Stroke (Children's opera) Voices and orchestra Text by Christopher Fry[19]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kemp, p. 500
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Kemp, p. 502
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Kemp, p. 504
  4. ^ Henahan, Donal (30 October 1989). "Time Traveling and Agoraphobia in Tippett Opera". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Tippett, Michael". The Oxford Dictionary of Music Online edition. Retrieved 26 July 2013.  (subscription required)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kemp, p. 499
  7. ^ Reed et al, pp. 106–07
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Kemp, p. 501
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kemp, p. 503
  10. ^ a b c d e f Kemp, p. 505
  11. ^ "Water Out Of Sunlight". The Schott Music Shop. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Mangum, John. "The Rose Lake". The Los Angeles Philharmonic. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "Michael Tippett: List of Published Works". The Schott Music Shop. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  14. ^ Bowen, Meirion. "Tippett's Byzantium". The Musical Times 132 (1783): pp. 438–40.  (subscription required)
  15. ^ a b Kemp, p. 498
  16. ^ a b c Kemp, p. 506
  17. ^ "Obituary: Sir Michael Tippett OM". The Daily Telegraph. 10 January 1998. 
  18. ^ Kemp, pp. 26–27
  19. ^ a b Kemp, p. 34