Sir Michal Tippett and the Shires Suite
Sir Michael became involved with the County School of Music in 1965 when he agreed to become patron of the Schools Festival. The 1965 festival included two new pieces he had written specially for the occasion: Prologue and Epilogue. These were used to open and close the festival. Epilogue is a setting of Non Nobis Domine which Sir Michael had heard being used as a grace during the LSSO’s visit to Corsham in Easter that year. In 1969 a third piece, Interlude II, was added and the newly formed trilogy was first performed at the 1969 Bath Festival. Two more movements, Interlude I and Cantata, were included on the rehearsal schedules for the 1970 Easter course in Oxford and the finished work, Shires Suite, was premiered by the LSSO and Sir Michael during the 1970 Cheltenham Festival.
Press articles relating to Sir Michal Tippett can be seen in the reviews section of this website and more about Shires Suite can be found in the memoirs section.
Luckily, the LSSO archives have unearthed three separate performances of movements from The Shires Suite.
First of all a commercial recording of Interlude II and Epilogue, recorded for Argo in 1970:Sound clips: Interlude II
Next, the Bath Festival Performance of Prologue, Interlude and Epilogue from the Bath Festival in 1969:
Sound clips: Prologue
Finally, the complete work as recorded at the world premiere during the 1970 Cheltenham Festival:
Sound clips: Cantata
Sound clips: Epilogue