The composer in his own words:

`I would know my shadow and my light, so shall I at last be whole.'

(`A Child of Our Time', 1939-1941)

`There is no question in our day of the artist receiving a true mandate from society to create. The mandate of society is to entertain, and the mandate is clear and uncomplicated. But the mandate of the artist's own nature, of his special and innate gift, is to reach down into the depths of the human psyche and bring forth the tremendous images of things to come. These images are not yet art. It takes a lifetime's work to mould them into works of art. For this the artist can have no reward but the joy of doing it. He creates, because without art, in this deep and serious sense, the nation dies. His mandate is inescapable.'

(`The Artist's Mandate', from `Moving into Aquarius', 1959, rev 1974)

`Here is no final grieving, but an abiding hope.

The moving waters renew the earth.

It is spring.'

(A Child of Our Time, 1939-1941)

`At the end of a filmed interview in Paris in 1994, I was asked a final throwaway question: Do you think it is possible for there to be another Tippett in the next millennium? My reply, perhaps rightly, was dismissive: One is enough! But then I began to think what indeed might be the future for a composer embarking on a career, as I had early in this century, with high aspirations and ideals and a determination to sustain them through thick and thin. Of course, I could not predict the course of world events in a century I might be just lucky enough to glimpse, though not to experience to any degree...

My temperament draws me back to the theatre - to what Peter Brook encapsulates as "the empty space". A composer dreaming on things to come is probably best occupied thinking how to fill that empty space... I dream, therefore, not of the Tippett of the future, but of the successors to the holy theatre of Harrison Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus, the rough theatre of Mark- Anthony Turnage's Greek, the video-documentary theatre of Steve Reich... My dream is indeed that there will be a new plurality of theatrical genres beyond my immediate apprehension...

It is not the Tippett of the next millennium that matters, but metamorphoses, fresh reincarnations galore."

(Michael Tippet, `Dreaming on things to come...', from `Tippett on Music', edited by Meirion Bowen, OUP 1995)