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Work of the Week – Sir Michael Tippett: Suite in D

Composed for a birth, performed for a coronation! To celebrate the upcoming inauguration of King Charles III, the London Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Sir Michael Tippett’s Suite in D on 06 May 2023 under the baton of Edward Gardner at London’s Royal Festival Hall. 

This sixteen minute long work is divided into five movements entitled Intrada, Berceuse, Procession and Dance, Carol, and Finale. With the addition of church bells, the first movement takes musical material from Crimond, a hymn that was performed at the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II; whereas in contrast, a traditional French lullaby is heard in the second movement as a lightly moving cradle song which is repeatedly interrupted by a heavy motif introduced by the tutti. A march from Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage frames an Irish dance in the third movement which is followed by the English mediaeval hymn Angelus and Virginem. The Finale contains a medley of festive songs to evoke a conclusive sense of joy and merriment.

In celebration of the heir to the British throne: Suite in D by Sir Michael Tippett

Subtitled "for the Birthday of Prince Charles", this work received its world premiere by conductor Sir Adrian Boult and the BBC Symphony Orchestra the day after the Prince of Wales’ birth on 15 November 1948. 

The last movement uses a medley of tunes (Early one morning, The Helston Furry Dance, and a “folk” tune of my own) to give the effect of a motley crowd in a cheerful mood. (Sir Michael Tippett)

The London Philharmonic Orchestra will open their concert with Tippett’s Suite in D on the very day of the coronation with a second performance taking place the following day at Royal Festival Hall on 07 May 2023.



Sir Michael Tippett: Composer Profile

Suite in D: Work Details and Online Score

Website London Philharmonic Orchestra


Illustration: Vusal / Adobe