Born in 1905, Michael Tippett was
only 13 at the end of the First World War but
quite old enough to carry some vivid impressions
of the time through into his adult life. As a
result he remained very sensitive to world events.
His horror at the events of Kristallnacht*
was the catalyst for his oratorio A Child
of Our Time and he began work on it in earnest
on the day the Second World War was declared,
in September 1939.
A Child of Our Time is a passionate
protest against persecution and tyranny, heart-breakingly
beautiful. Tippett believed that although his
fellow composers seemed no longer moved to write
music inspired by the crucifixion of Christ, the
suffering of ordinary people in modern conflict
could be an equally powerful creative stimulus.
A Child of Our Time conveys his belief
that we all need to know ourselves through and
through in order to be able to move forward towards
tolerance of others.
here to learn more about Tippett's inspiration
for A Child of Our Time.
Oratorios traditionally contain hymns that give a retrospective
view of the story of Christ. For his work, Tippett chose
five Negro spirituals, timeless expressions of human
compassion and aspiration. The piece was first performed
in 1944, so it was not just D-Day that had its 60th
Anniversary in 2004!
Michael Tippett remained committed to pacifism throughout
his life and was prepared to go to prison for his beliefs;
in 1943 he was sentenced to three months for being a
(9th/10th November, 1938) was a violent attack on
the Jews of Austria and Germany following the shooting
of a German diplomat. Thousands of Jewish homes,
businesses, schools, cemeteries and synagogues were
pillaged and burned, and more than 30,000 Jews were
arrested. The term 'Kristallnacht', by which the
pogrom is now known, refers to the broken glass
which covered the streets.
Make a list of any songs or music
that were written as a response to war.
Here are some to start you off:
- Motorhead: 1916 (used on the
CD Rom One Boy)
- Paul McCartney: Pipes of Peace
- Ms. Dynamite and George Michael's
rap version of 'Faith.'