Turning the latest world event into a work of art feels like something that happens these days, not in the English home counties in the middle of the 20th century. But that is exactly what did happen when Michael Tippett, a then up-and-coming 34-year-old composer, decided to adapt an act of political violence into one of the most powerful pacificist oratorios of all time. When he died in 1996, Tippett was Britain’s most famous composer – though his radical and original music and outré personality were regarded with suspicion by some of the younger English avant-garde. Since then, his star seems to have faded, his works featured less and less in concert halls and on the radio. For his fans – myself included – that seems like criminal neglect. The one notable exception, however, is the aforementioned oratorio, A Child of Our Time, which will be performed later this month as part of the Adelaide Festival.

Michael Tippett

Choral wizard Brett Weymark will conduct the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra along with a newly formed choir handpicked for the occasion, and he...