Simon Rattle conducts “A Child of Our Time”
Sir Simon Rattle
The Last Days of Socrates for bass baritone, choir and orchestra (01:00:16)
Rundfunkchor Berlin, Sir John Tomlinson Bass, Simon Halsey Chorus Master
A Child of Our Time (01:09:57)
Rundfunkchor Berlin, Sally Matthews Soprano, Simon Halsey Chorus Master, Matthew Polenzani Tenor, Sarah Connolly Contralto, Sir John Tomlinson Bass
Brett Dean: Composing Socrates (00:14:40)
Simon Halsey on Michael Tippett's "A Child of Our Time" (00:16:00)
From Berliner Philharmoniker musician to internationally renowned composer – that’s Brett Dean’s career in a nutshell. In the process of arranging and improvising, the Australian-born violist discovered the composer in himself. His clarinet concerto Ariel’s Music, chosen for the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, and the ballet One of a Kind brought him international renown.
Emboldened by the success, Dean decided in 2000 to devote himself principally to composition. Ties to his old orchestra have nonetheless remained intact. Berlin audiences may well remember his orchestral work Komarov’s Fall, which the Philharmonic commissioned. That makes it all the more gratifying that yet another new work by Brett is having its first performance at this concert.
Michael Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time, by contrast, was not commissioned. The English composer felt compelled by a real-life event to write it in protest against dictatorship and racism. In 1938 a 17-year-old boy, Herschel Grynszpan, was provoked by the anti-Semitic treatment of his family to shoot a secretary at the German embassy in Paris. The attack provided the Nazis with a pretext for the pogrom in Germany known as Kristallnacht. Tippett’s musical treatment of the Grynszpan incident follows the oratorio concept of Bach and Handel. Ever since the work brought about his artistic breakthrough in 1944, Tippett has taken his place alongside Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten as one of the leading English composers of the 20th century.