20th Century British Classical Music

I have a particular interest in 20th Century British Classical Music. Any other lovers of this type of music out there? If so what are you listening to? What would you recommend?

IMO Michael Tippet was a great composer, not as widely performed or known as he maybe should be. Just in case you don’t know it already, “A Child of our Time” is an truly great work. Sit down and listen to it properly, with the words in front of you.

Hi Jez

I agree entirely - truly moving piece of work - I’ve seen it live a few times. It even made me tearful on one occasion. My favourite version is the one with Janet Baker - but I am a sucker for anything with her in. Elgar’s Dream if Gerontius is also a favourite of mine. Tippet is, as you say an under appreciated British composer. Malcolm Arnold and Ernest Moeran are two other examples

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I suspect you know an awful lot more about that era of music than me - have only heard A Child of Time once, many years ago in Edinburgh. My mother in law was at the first performance with Tippet conducting.

If you can stretch to this century, and if you count Scotland as British, then James McMillans Stabat Mater is an intense, overwhelming experience.

What would be your favourite half dozen or so pieces and performances?


I have never heard McMillans Stabat Mater - I will certainly give a listen - thanks. I have just found it on Qobuz and added it to my library

Favourite half a dozen - now then?

Vaughan Williams Songs of Travel - Sung by Terfel

Child of Our Time and Dream of Gerontius would have to be in there

The Lento from Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto

Malcolm Arnold - Piano Concerto for 2 hands - 2nd movement

Malcolm Arnold - Sarabande from Solitaire

Ernest Moeran - 2nd movement of his cello concerto

Vaughan Williams - Oxford Elegy - Simon Callow as narrator

Elgar - Sea Pictures

Vaughan Williams - romanza from Symphony 3

Delius - I could not weep from Songs of Sunset - Terfel

Finzi - Clarinet Concerto

Arvo Part (I know he’s not British) Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten

Ivor Gurney - Songs of Somme and Severn

Oh, sorry that’s more than half a dozen!

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I enjoy Peter Maxwell Davies’ violin concerto, and indeed both the violin and viola concertos by William Walton.

I have to admit I do not know Maxwell Davies’ music at all - I must rectify this - thank you

I do know and love the Walton pieces though - I once had the pleasure to see Andre Previn conduct Walton’s 1st Symphony

Just a couple more:

  • Finzi’s Romance in E flat major, Op. 11
  • Tavener’s The Protecting Veil