Choice: Concert

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A Child of Our Time, South Bank Centre, London SE1 (0171-960 4242)

If everything had gone according to his original plan, Tippett's choral masterpiece would have had words by TS Eliot. However, the poet had second thoughts and suggested the composer write his own. By the outbreak of the Second World War, that is precisely what he had done, creating a work of deep compassion centering around the death of a Jewish boy. A year and a half later, the score was finished, a kind of modern equivalent to the Bach Passions, using similar musical forms. The most obvious stylistic innovation is Tippett's recasting of the large-scale chorales as Negro spirituals. The work is structured round five: "Steal Away", "Nobody Knows the Trouble I See", "Let My People Go", "By and By" and climaxes with the heartfelt yearning of "Deep River". There are several strong recordings but hearing it live is something else entirely. A fitting testament to the late composer.

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