Tippett’s music is a far cry from the diligent, pastel landscapes traditionally associated with English art. It is vivid, urgent, immediate. It has presence. There is no mediating veil between it, the music, and you, the listener. Such remarks are of course generalizations but they nevertheless hold good for everything Tippett wrote, from his first published works of the mid-1930s to his last of the early 1990s. All they conceal are the changes of style his music underwent during this long composing career, changes sometimes so radical that it is difficult to recognize the same composer in any two works. There are several reasons for this, such as Tippett’s natural ‘development’ or his responses to the rapid and shocking political upheavals of the twentieth century. The most important is the sheer inventiveness of a composer who was always fighting against the idea of doing the same thing twice.
from notes by Ian Kemp ï¿½