NPR logo Tippett's Spirituals Suite

Tippett's Spirituals Suite

Tippett's Spirituals Suite

Audio will be available later today.

In the midst of the gathering storm clouds of World War Two, English composer Sir Michael Tippett wrote his best-known piece — a searing antiwar oratorio called "A Child of Our Time." Most of the words — and music — in the oratorio were Tippett's own, except for the five African-American spirituals that the composer used both as beacons of truth, and moments of reflection, throughout the piece. Tippett later put the five spirituals together in a concert suite for orchestra and chorus, performed here by Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, all directed by Robert Spano.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.