Michael Tippett's Symphony No. 4 was written in 1977 and first performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and conducted by Sir Georg Solti. It was dedicated to Tippett's biographer and friend, Ian Kemp.
Symphony No. 4 (Tippett) Wikipedia
It is written in one movement divided into seven sections:
- Introduction and exposition
- Development 1
- Slow movement
- Development 2
- Scherzo and trios
- Development 3
In terms of form, it combines sonata and fantasia forms, as well as that of the symphonic poem.
Tippett called the work "a birth to death piece". This is emphasized by a "breathing effect", either from tape or sampler, particularly prominent at the beginning and the end of the symphony, with a single, unaccompanied intake of breath as its conclusion.
Stylistically, the Fourth Symphony unites all previous stylistic tendencies in Tippett's work: the counterpoint and gentle lyricism of his first creative period and the angular, spiky modernism of his second period, thus creating a third and final period. Tippett quotes the opening of this Symphony in his Piano Sonata No. 4.
Tippett's score calls for a large orchestra consisting of:2 flutes (both doubling piccolos), 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon
6 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 2 tubas
timpani, Percussion (requires 4 players): snare drum, tenor drum, bass drum, tom-toms, cymbals, wood block, triangle, xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, tubular bells, maracas, claves
harp, piano, tape or sampler (breathing effect)