April 2018 our hire department underwent the job of tuning roto toms for Sir Michael Tippett's piece 'The Rose Lake'. A famous piece by the composer, not just due to its musicality but for its huge percussive range. It required us to tune 38 roto toms chromatically, spanning across 3 octaves.
Sir Michael Tippett (1905 - 1998) was an English composer. In his long career, he produced a large body of work, including five operas, three large-scale choral works, four symphonies, five string quartets, four piano sonatas, concertos and concertante works, song cycles and incidental music. The works for which he is best known are the Concerto for Double String Orchestra, the oratorio A Child of Our Time and the Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli. His deeply held humanitarian and pacifist beliefs shaped both his life and his music: he served a prison sentence as a conscientious objector in the Second World War. An interest in many aspects of contemporary culture is reflected in his music and writings. Tippett was one of the first openly gay composers to explore issues of sexuality in his work. The libretti of his operas, which he wrote himself, attracted criticism for their apparent naivety and sometimes awkward and not quite idiomatic use of contemporary slang, as well as for their sometimes obscure extra-musical references. He had a keen interest in musical education and in later life was active as a broadcaster and lecturer. As a conductor, he recorded many of his own works. He is generally acknowledged to be one of the most important British composers of the 20th century.
Although the tuning of 38 roto toms sounds quite a task, thankfully our team members are highly skilled with these experiences, and so it was actually completed within a couple of hours. The piece isn't performed all too often due to the wide array of instruments required, however, keep your eyes peeled to see more about this one!
To read more about Sir Michael Tippett's work click here, where you can also see the repertoire section of our website.
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