Sir Michael Tippett: A Child of Our Time

Colin Davis

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Sir Michael Tippett: A Child of Our Time Review

by Stephen Eddins

Colin Davis has been a tireless supporter of Michael Tippett's music. He has made at least three recordings of A Child of Our Time, one of the composer's most important works: a fine 1975 studio recording for Philips, with the BBC Singers and Orchestra and a stellar group of soloists, including Jessye Norman, Janet Baker, Richard Cassilly, and John Shirley-Quirk; a live recording of a 2003 performance with the Dresden Staatskapelle; and this 2007 version with the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. The LSO version is clean, polished, and nuanced; it's an immaculate performance by the orchestra and chorus. Davis brings a long familiarity with the score to his interpretation, which is sensitive to the work's subtle shifts in tone. Even more difficult is creating a sense of unity in a score that's an amalgam of styles, and that requires a clear vision and a disciplined hand to make its full impact. Davis is largely successful in making a case for Tippett's sometimes eccentric aesthetic choices. His reading here, as in the Dresden version, is impassioned and deeply expressive. His soloists aren't entirely even. Soprano Indra Thomas is most effective in the spirituals, but her vibrato is a little much for the solos like "How can I cherish my man in such days." Steve Davislim has a light, pleasant tenor, but occasionally his vibrato is too pronounced. Alto Mihoko Fujimura and bass Matthew Rose sing with richness and resonance and are fully engaging in their solos. The sound of the SACD is vivid and lively, with excellent balance, but occasionally, during some quiet sections, there are disconcerting suggestions of a ghostly, barely audible murmuring in the lower register.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
A Child of Our Time, oratorio
1 Colin Davis 05:10 Amazon
2 Colin Davis 01:54 Amazon
3 Colin Davis 01:07 Amazon
4 Colin Davis 02:54 Amazon
5 Colin Davis 01:06 Amazon
6 Colin Davis 02:01 Amazon
7 Colin Davis 03:16 Amazon
8 Colin Davis 03:02 Amazon
9 Colin Davis 02:07 Amazon
10 Colin Davis 02:39 Amazon
11 Colin Davis 00:19 Amazon
12 Colin Davis 01:00 Amazon
13 Colin Davis 00:25 Amazon
14 Colin Davis 00:43 Amazon
15 Colin Davis 00:13 Amazon
16 Colin Davis 01:14 Amazon
17 Colin Davis 01:14 Amazon
18 Colin Davis 01:16 Amazon
19 Colin Davis 00:25 Amazon
20 Colin Davis 01:00 Amazon
21 Colin Davis 00:34 Amazon
22 Colin Davis 02:52 Amazon
23 Colin Davis 03:17 Amazon
24 Colin Davis 01:28 Amazon
25 Colin Davis 00:54 Amazon
26 Colin Davis 01:13 Amazon
27 Colin Davis 04:15 Amazon
28 Colin Davis 02:12 Amazon
29 Colin Davis 04:24 Amazon
30 Colin Davis 01:11 Amazon
31 Colin Davis 04:38 Amazon
32 Colin Davis 03:41 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick