One early work which has survived is the Symphony in B flat composed between 1933 and 1934. Tippett rejected this early symphony as "too Sibelian".
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins has embarked on a Tippett symphonic cycle with both public performances and recordings for Hyperion. I was fortunate enough to attend the performance of the Symphony No.1 in Glasgow on Thursday. The first symphony is not often performed (this was only its fourth performance in Scotland and its first since 1975) but it is a powerful work and I think that Brabbins gave a better, more passionate rendering than either Sir Colin Davis or Richard Hickox in the two versions that are available on cd. It certainly augers well for the Hyperion recording.
What is also exciting however is that there will be at least a public performance at some point (which will be broadcast) of the Symphony in B flat. The Tippett Foundation has given its agreement to the revival of the early Symphony.
Over the last few years we have been able to hear for the first time a lot of the early music of a number of British composers-Vaughan Williams has been an obvious example-and the rediscovery of such early music has gone a long way to expand and enhance our knowledge of the development of these composers' music. Hearing the early Tippett symphony should be, at the very least, an interesting experience.
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