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Five Negro Spirituals from 'A child of our time'

arrangement for unaccompanied chorus, 1958
author of text

Tippett began his oratorio A Child of our Time as the Second World War broke out and its composition gave the composer a creative outlet for his pacifism (he was later imprisoned as a conscientious objector). Central to the oratorio are the Five Negro Spirituals which function in a similar manner to the chorales in Bach’s Passions. In 1958 Tippett extracted the spirituals from the oratorio and re-scored them for voices alone. The genius of these arrangements lies in Tippett’s ability to take orchestral accompaniments and to make them work as vocal lines. The effect is a grand one in which Tippett retains the directness of expression of the spirituals while lovingly adorning each one with musical gestures which were very much of his own time.

from notes by Jeremy Summerly © 2006


Children of our time
Tippett: Choral images
SIGCD092Download only
A choral tapestry
Studio Master: SIGCD283Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


No 1: Steal away
Track 2 on CDA67575 [3'00]
Track 15 on SIGCD092 [3'01] Download only
No 2: Nobody knows
Track 4 on CDA67575 [1'21]
Track 16 on SIGCD092 [1'22] Download only
No 3: Go down, Moses
Track 8 on CDA67575 [3'07]
Track 8 on SIGCD283 [2'59] Download only
Track 17 on SIGCD092 [3'02] Download only
No 4: By and by
Track 14 on CDA67575 [1'13]
Track 18 on SIGCD092 [1'13] Download only
No 5: Deep river
Track 16 on CDA67575 [3'41]
Track 19 on SIGCD092 [3'33] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDA67575 track 4

Nobody knows
Recording date
3 June 1995
Recording venue
Hertford College Chapel, Oxford, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Edgley Smith
Recording engineer
Paul Proudman
Hyperion usage
  1. Children of our time (CDA67575)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: April 2006
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