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Work of the week – Michael Tippett: Symphony in B-flat

On 1 February, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins presents Michael Tippett’s Symphony in B-flat at City Halls in Glasgow. The performance is the culmination of their multi-season Tippett Symphony cycle.

A predecessor to Symphony No. 1, the Symphony in B-flat was written in 1934 and withdrawn by the composer after only five performances. This will be the first performance of the work in over 80 years, and also the first to incorporate revisions made by the composer after those first few performances. Material for the Symphony has been prepared using a recently discovered manuscript score marked with Tippett’s final revisions to the piece.

“It will be fascinating to hear the early symphony, knowing as we do what a great symphonist Tippett later became.  It is akin to finding that elusive last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, finally revealing the complete picture of Tippett the symphonist.” (Martyn Brabbins)

A new recording of Tippett’s Symphony Nos. 1 and 2 from the cycle with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins is released this month on Hyperion. A second disc of Symphony Nos. 3 and 4, as well as the Symphony in B-flat will follow later this year.