Michael Tippett: The Biography
A BBC Radio 4 "Book of the Week", read by the author, with Sir Derek Jacobi
"***** Timely as well as dashing is Oliver Soden's page-turner of a biography whose irresistible brio drills deep into a psychologically complex man... Soden's formidable research is able to contradict previous erroneous claims... His verve and flair for lassoing a vivid simile are illuminating... unashamedly approachable, buttressed by pertinent asides and telling insight, and un-put-downable, it crackles with a life force worthy of Tippett himself."
Paul Riley, BBC Music Magazine
"An exceptional piece of work. It has so much to say about the 20th century from an unusual and compelling angle that it ought to appeal to many readers who don't necessarily find themselves deep in the world of art music... Soden has excavated much fascinating material...with irresistible elan... The Britten bibliography may be 100 times the size [of Tippett's] but it contains hardly anything as brilliant as this book.... The joy of Soden's biography is largely in its novelistic grasp of the telling details... This splendid biography ought to hasten [a TIppett revival]."
Philip Hensher, The Spectator
"That rarest of things, a genuine landmark publication … essential reading for anyone interested in twentieth-century music and culture."
Tom Service, Music Matters, BBC Radio 3
The first full-length biography of
Michael Tippett (1905-1998),
one of the twentieth century's greatest composers.
18 April 2019
Weidenfeld and Nicolson
750 pp, 65 illustrations, 13 in colour
Hardback, £25; Kindle Edition, £9.99
Available to purchase.
"A delight to read... Oliver Soden's vivid biography of this major figure in twentieth-century music brings Tippett very clearly to life" -
"A narrative in which readers can effortlessly lose themselves... meticulously researched biographical detail and a good story well told. From the outset, Soden beautifully captures the details of Tippett's world ... a stunning, delicate and engrossing portrayal" - Yvonne Sherratt, Literary Review
"Exhaustively researched, lovingly detailed, epic in scale, revelling in gossip, stuffed with information ... this super-abundant, loving account. It's like will not come again... monumental... a panoramic view of an artistic, political, sexual and social life in the past century"
Fiona Maddocks, Observer
"This thoroughly researched biography ... [Soden] tells the story of this socially fertile life with skill"
Michael Henderson, The Times
"An excellent biography... Soden succeeds at this difficult task wonderfully well. The early chapters are especially rewarding [...and] Soden is especially good at tracing Tippett's increasing involvement in Left-wing politics. ... Soden doesn't shrink from suggesting that Tippett's cold determination to protect his inner life at times caused huge damage to those near him. It's a measure of his searching and beautifully written biography that, despite that, Tippett comes across as essentially generous and lovable. ****"
Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph