Talk:Michael Tippett

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Michael Tippett is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on January 2, 2015.
Article milestones
October 23, 2013Peer reviewReviewed
November 11, 2013Featured article candidatePromoted
Current status: Featured article



Brian et al., a few things I can't determine how to resolve:

  • lots of "as" here: "... as a broadcaster and lecturer. As a conductor he recorded many of his own works, as well as making an early recording of Thomas Tallis' 40-part motet Spem in Alium. He is generally acknowledged as ..."
  • "However, these were not happy years: the school was slackly run by an elderly headmaster; bullying, sadism and homosexuality among the pupils were rife"—even schools run with an iron rod have rampant homosexuality among the students. Is there a better wording than "slackly"? Tony (talk) 15:47, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
  • "He saw this initially as a means of advancing his knowledge of English madrigals; however, his association with the group proved durable." The "however" doesn't seem logical in the absence of a "temporarily" or similar in the first clause, to contrast with the "durable". Tony (talk) 18:03, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Don't worry about the first of these, which is from the lead. This is to be entirely rewritten when the main text is more or less done. I will tinker with the others – there's plenty of further polishing to be done. Brianboulton (talk) 18:43, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Brian, I was unsure about the formatting of the names of works, and regularised them to X No. 1, etc. I've been too lazy to look up what the MOS (music) says about this. (I've finished editing for now.) Tony (talk) 11:09, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for all your help. I will stick to your X No. 1 format for works. I am on the final stages now, general tidying, removing verbosity, getting rid of trivial information etc. I'll then seek some content reviews. Brianboulton (talk) 19:23, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
You're welcome. I wonder whether the caption for the pic at the top isn't redundant. (Also, old age has a certain bad ring about it—he looks perfectly healthy there.) Tony (talk) 12:07, 8 October 2013 (UTC) And: The Knot Garden (1966–69), which introduces jazz and blues inflections"—does that imply that jazz and blues inflections were absent from his work until then? There's a bluesy bit in Concerto for DSO (30s), among other earlier works. Tony (talk) 12:11, 8 October 2013 (UTC)


However expresses a contradiction. Where is the contradiction in: After Britten's death in 1976, Tippett became widely regarded as the doyen of British music. However, critical opinion of his later works was by no means uniformly positive; after the first performance of the Triple Concerto in 1980, Driver wrote that "not since The Knot Garden has [he] produced anything worthy of his early masterpieces".?

"However" doesn't necessarily suggest a flat contradiction, but can suggest that the following clause will go "against the flow" of the preceding statement. Driver's review doesn't read as one would automatically expect of a work by a "doyen" (i.e. "the most respected or prominent person in a particular field") such as Tippett was widely regarded by pundits of British music. Alfietucker (talk) 22:50, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
I understand but I do not agree. WP:EDITORIAL may be relevant here. --John (talk) 22:54, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Well the question, then, is whether one believes the opening statement ("After Britten's death in 1976, Tippett became widely regarded as the doyen of British music."), of which the sole citation is David Clarke's article for New Grove, is sufficiently authoritative. There is, after all, no gainsaying that Driver did indeed write what he did about Tippett's music. If you really think the opening sentence of that section should be challenged, then do so. Otherwise I think all "however" does is signify that Driver (and by implication a number of other critics) criticized Tippett's later works, notwithstanding his standing among British composers. Alfietucker (talk) 23:06, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
There's a school of thought that "however" is a word to be avoided, and it certainly can be editorializing if it implies a disagreement between sources that doesn't -- or doesn't clearly -- exist. But when you read the opening sentence of a paragraph, you generally expect the rest of it to develop the theme introduced, don't you? This paragraph starts with "... widely regarded as the doyen ..." but the rest of the paragraph seems to be telling us about those who thought of Tippett as anything but a doyen. To me, without a link word, there's a disconnect there, which the "however" helps to steer me through. I see no editorializing there, as the views in sentences 1 and 2 are in quite stark contrast. Just my 2 pence. --Stfg (talk) 23:27, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
My point exactly. The fact is that no less an authority than Grove claims Tippett was a "doyen", yet there are all these critics who thought he was past his prime. No amount of "editorializing" is going to change those facts. So "however" here is doing quite useful and innocent service to the reader IMHO. Alfietucker (talk) 23:34, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't see any contradiction at all between being described as a doyen (a: the senior member of a body or group, b: a person considered to be knowledgeable or uniquely skilled as a result of long experience in some field of endeavor) and critical opinion of his later works being "by no means uniformly positive". It always surprises me when people expect opinions on an artist in particular all to agree with one another. Human nature just isn't like that. Of course this is understandable; but is it "brilliant prose"? --John (talk) 06:54, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Not "brilliant", but helpful - a quality which I think would be lessened by removing "However". However, I guess that's my opinion. ;-) Alfietucker (talk) 09:56, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
@John: Please don't put words into people's mouths. Nobody here has said they "expect opinions on an artist in particular all to agree with one another". However signals (or acknowledges) a contrast, not necessarily anywhere near as strong as a contradiction. By all means choose another link word, but with no link word at all, I find it bumpy -- anything but "brilliant prose". --Stfg (talk) 11:28, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
The more I think about it too, the more I don't like "by no means uniformly positive" either. I feel like this whole paragraph needs polishing. --John (talk) 14:02, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
In that, I agree with you -- it's a circumlocution. Do you have anything in mind? By the way, please could we have this discussion in one place? Restarting from scratch on the FAC page seems to brush aside comments made here. --Stfg (talk) 21:10, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Sorry to give that impression. I thought we might get more eyes at the FAC page. I will try to come up with something better here, then note and support at the other place. --John (talk) 14:13, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
I have kept the "however" (see FAC page) but have replaced the circumlocution. Brianboulton (talk) 17:06, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
It's certainly less bad. I still strongly don't like the "however" as I think this falls squarely in the area of WP:EDITORIAL. Of course different critics had and have different opinions of this artist; that is entirely to be expected and in no way requires a "however". --John (talk) 18:01, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
You're treating "however" as though it *must* be a link between two flatly contradictory statements. With due respect, and at least one other editor has explicitly agreed with me, this is not necessarily how it is used - at least there's plenty of well-educated and intelligent writers/speakers who demonstrate to the contrary. In short, I don't think this is WP:EDITORIAL but simply a case of good/helpful writing to avoid giving the reader a jolt when they read a statement which does not automatically follow from "Tippett became widely regarded as the doyen of British music". Alfietucker (talk) 18:13, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Interesting. So your idea of brilliant prose is that every sentence should automatically follow on from its predecessor? --John (talk) 19:26, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
I didn't say that. Can you explain what you mean by "brilliant prose"? Alfietucker (talk) 21:37, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

That's a brilliant question; I am tempted to reply that "If you have to ask what good prose is, you'll never know, with apologies to Louis Armstrong. Luckily there are some rules-of-thumb, and one of mine is to minimise the use of "however". More seriously I hope you can accept that this series of edits takes the article towards it rather than away from it. It's looking really good now and I am almost ready to support. Curious to see where Tony's complaint will lead so I will hold off for now. --John (talk) 22:54, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Excellent work! (I truly mean this, being a sub-editor myself, though I don't parade the fact since I've got enough to do in my real-life job!) The only thing I would query is:

"Many of the minor works that Tippett wrote in the wake of King Priam reflect the musical style of the opera, in some cases quoting directly from it. Of the first purely instrumental post-Priam work, the Piano Sonata No. 2 (1962), Milner thought the new style worked better in the theatre than in the concert or recital hall. In the Concerto for Orchestra (1963), he found the music had matured into a form that fully justified the earlier experiments."

I know your feeling for "However" :-), but I think without some qualifying word (or small 'prompt') many readers, speed-reading these sentences, may miss the fact that on one hand Milner thinks the Piano Sonata No. 2 is *less* successful than King Priam; whereas in Concerto for Orchestra, Milner believes Tippett had successfully developed his style from the opera to work in that orchestral context. Maybe a link between these two sentences, such as " the concert or recital hall; whereas in the Concerto for Orchestra (1963), he found...", might help? Alfietucker (talk) 23:09, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Great suggestion and I have implemented it. --John (talk) 09:35, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
My pleasure - glad it was useful. Alfietucker (talk) 09:41, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • @John, I see you changed a however into a but elsewhere in the article just now. Would you be happy to have a but in place of the however we're discussing here? 'Cos if so, so would I. (I actually never use however anyway, preferring but as being more natural.) --Stfg (talk) 23:27, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
I see you did that while I was typing this. Ace! --Stfg (talk) 23:32, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Glad to resolve this amicably. --John (talk) 09:35, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Is Tippett mentioned comparatively in the article on Britten????Edit

It is undue weight at the very least to make comparison with another composer in the lead. Tony (talk) 12:04, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

The article is going through a FAC process (as you may note at the head of this talk page) - feel free to raise your concern there. Alfietucker (talk) 12:15, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Four question marks in a section title generally means that something's up, more than just the question itself, and I'm wondering what. I think of Britten as being way up front as the key* figure in Britain in a certain period, and comparing Tippett with him seems a good way to position Tippett. Assuming sources support the comparison, of course.
* not saying anything about tonality, mind
--Stfg (talk) 14:44, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't understand the four question marks either. The "comparison" in the lead is merely the linking of Tippett with Britten as two of the 20th century's leading British composers, a matter covered and cited in the main text. It seems to me a matter of significance, rather than "undue weight", to indicate Tippett's status as a composer in the introductory paragraph. Maybe there are better ways of doing this; positive suggestions would be welcome, in a non-adversarial climate. Brianboulton (talk) 17:04, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Parents' middle namesEdit

Just to clarify something FTR, an editor added middle names for the composer's parents via this edit, which was subsequently reverted in good faith by Bencherlite, partly on the grounds of the quality of the source mentioned in the earlier edit summary. I'm not fussed either way about the middle names appearing but I'll just note that I did check before promoting the article to FA yesterday that Kemp, the source of the entire paragraph in question, in fact mentions those middle names, so there's no issue with them being included without additional citation. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:27, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

I think it's a question of adding unnecessary detail. These middle names are pretty inconsequential, and there is no benefit in including them. Brianboulton (talk) 21:14, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

tenor of poems?Edit

"settings for tenor of poems by Fry": I don't know what that means. Googling "tenor of poems" didn't help. That's my only question ... sorry I'm so late reading this. The flow is excellent. - Dank (push to talk) 00:11, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

  • "[musical] settings for tenor voice of poems by Fry". Brianboulton (talk) 08:27, 4 January 2015 (UTC)


The second sentence in the lede is:

  • In his lifetime he was considered to rank with his contemporary Benjamin Britten as one of the leading British composers of the 20th century.

I don't understand the need to include "was considered to". I think "he ranked with his contemporary Benjamin Britten" is more concise. The ranking that took place was not a precise mathematical ranking, it was general informed public opinion, so "he ranked" is sufficiently precise and is, in fact, a perfect use of the verb. CorinneSD (talk) 02:25, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

How about 'he was ranked'? More idiomatic. Rothorpe (talk) 02:57, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
That's fine. CorinneSD (talk) 03:07, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
I like Brian's language; it signals better that opinion changed later on. - Dank (push to talk) 05:51, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for these comments. On reflection I agree that "he was considered to rank" is clumsy. On the other hand, "he was ranked", without qualification, is hardly correct – in Tippett's final 20 years, after Britten' death, few would have ranked him alongside Britten. So I've made it "was sometimes ranked", which is the truth. The ups and downs of Tippett's standing are mentioned in the lead, and are discussed more fully in the body of the article. Brianboulton (talk) 00:36, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

a Great job!Edit

A finely-done piece of writing and research! Excellent work : ) OnBeyondZebraxTALK 23:02, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

It's a fine article Brian has given us. Tony (talk) 04:25, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

Infobox removalEdit

A great article, but lacking an infobox. I would prefer to have it. Serten II (talk) 09:39, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

I've never been one for infoboxes, and rather like the current treatment of the image at the top. What advantage is there in repeating in stratified particles information that you will read in the main text? Tony (talk) 11:23, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Infoboxes are a late 20th / early 21th century navigation tool, the article looks less professional without it. Infoboxes provide structured and pictured overview and are helpful both for readers and even those which do NOT want to read the main text. Serten II (talk) 14:24, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Personally, I think infoboxes make an article look amateurish (at a "picturebooks for kids" level), rather than professional, and particularly in the case of "classical" music composers tend to encourage distorted oversimplifications. Basic data, such as dates and places of birth and death are already required in the lede paragraph, as Tony points out. However, I have only ever been a minor contributor to this article. Brian's opinion is what should count most here.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:57, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
This is of course an old, old argument that tends to be recycled every time that a classical music/composer article appears on the main page. I'm not going to go through all the pros and cons; suffice it to say that infoboxes enhance some articles but not others, which is why MOS leaves the question open. It is as wrong to maintain that all articles should have one as it would be to say that no article should have one. In general, classical music editors (there are exceptions) have tended to follow the line of reasoning summarised by Jerome above, and have avoided infoboxes. I believe that should be the case here. Brianboulton (talk) 00:45, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
It sounds like a matter of taste, but my basic point is that WP is aimed at all sorts of readers, including the amateurish ones and infoboxes are an important improvement of Visual literacy. Serten II (talk) 12:45, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

Burial placeEdit

Does anyone know where Tippett's resting place is (assuming he's not been cremated and ashes scattered)? Find-a-Grave doesn't help. --Deeday-UK (talk) 12:45, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

I havent found any further info, sorry. The researh identified (see entry on classical net) Mark-Anthony Turnage "Silent Cities of 1998" being dedicated to Tippet, think that sort of hommage is worth while to be added to the entry. Serten II (talk) 13:05, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
He was cremated at Hanworth crematorium on 15 January 1998. I have added this. Composers such as Tippett had many works dedicated to them, and there is nothing special about the Turnage. We shouldn't add every additional snippet of information about the composer that comes along. Brianboulton (talk) 00:56, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Two ShedsEdit

A TV interview with Tippet where the interviewer seemed more interested in in Tippet's garden furniture that his music, is supposed to be the inspiration for the Monty Python sketch about Arthur "two sheds" Jackson. Worth a mention? (talk) 03:37, 21 August 2017 (UTC)

By all means mention it in our article on the Monty Python sketch, if we have one, and assuming you have the appropriate sources. I don't think it would be relevant in the article on Tippett though, unless Tippett himself was somehow involved in the sketch. --Deskford (talk) 07:26, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
Return to "Michael Tippett" page.