Sir Michael Tippett: A Child of Our Time - Soloists/Leicestershire Chorale/Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra/Peter Fletcher
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LSSO-CD2DL (MONO) - Sir Michael Tippett: A Child of Our Time - Soloists/Leicestershire Chorale/Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra/Peter Fletcher - Sir Michael Tippett had a close relationship with the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra, regularly conducting them in the UK and on tour in Europe. He conducted the LSSO almost exclusively in twentieth-century music - from Holst's The Planets to Charles Ives's Three Places in New England and many new works by English composers. His first involvement with the LSSO was in 1965 when he became patron of the Schools Music Festival and conducted two concerts at the De Montfort Hall, Leicester. These concerts included Michael's Concerto for Double String Orchestra and A Child of Our Time. He also composed two new pieces for the occasion: Prologue and Epilogue. These were to become the first and fifth movements of The Shires Suite (Available in a studio performance on KHCD-2012-017 and a live version on KH LSSO CD1). The 1965 staging of A Child of Our Time was a huge undertaking, featuring as it did the LSSO and massed children's choirs. It's to Tippett's huge credit that he was prepared to attempt the work with a group of such young musicians.
In August 1976, the Europa Cantat festival was hosted in Leicester. This major choral festival attracted choirs from all over Europe. The culmination of the event was a performance of A Child of Our Time with Willi Gohl conducting the LSSO in the presence of the composer. The very make-up of the 200 strong chorus was a fulfillment both of the compassionate nature of the oratorio and of the ideals of Europa Cantat. For here, side by side, were members of German choirs and of the Israel kibbutz choir to join in the singing of music whose composition was triggered off by a young Jewish refugee's killing of a German diplomat and by the Nazi programme of revenge which followed. The 1965 and 1976 concerts were not recorded for posterity. The performance featured on this CD was given by the LSSO as part of the 1982 Leicestershire Schools Choral Festival in De Montfort Hall, Leicester. The chorus was made up of choirs drawn from various schools in the county of Leicestershire and the adult singers of the Leicestershire Chorale conducted by Peter Fletcher. - notes by John Whitmore 2012