"1. England. Early One Morning", pp.1-4
"2. Ireland. Lilliburlero", pp.4-7
"3. Scotland. 'Over the Sea to Skye'", pp.7-10
"4. Wales. Gwendoleen's Repose", pp.11-13
14 pages, 4to (c.31 x 23.5cm), including title, paginated 1-13, blank page at end, 12-stave paper ("BBC Music Mss Paper 12 Stave Plain"), one stapled gathering, c.1956, together with a typed letter of presentation signed ("MichaelTippett", Corsham, 22 September 1964), the paper slightly cockled, some browning from the pencil, rusting to the staples,
The settings are very imaginative and complex, and apparently taxed the abilities of the amateur German choir for which they were commissioned. Indeed the first performance, without the present number, was given, not at Bremen, but by the London Bach Group at Royaumont in 1958. Tippett's 'Over the Sea to Skye' was published in 2002 and first performed in 2003. In the note that accompanies this manuscript, Tippett writes that "I find I have the pencil work-manuscript of 'Four Songs of the British Isles'. Would this be the sort of thing you would like?...I would like to have one of the songs photographed or transcribed in London first of all, as I appear not to have a copy of that music at all. This would take a week or a fortnight".
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