Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kenneth Leighton: A Basic Discography

The British composer Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988) is probably best known for his youthful setting of Lully Lulla Thou Little Tiny Child from Opus 25, a perennial choral favorite around Christmas. But, so far from being the proverbial one-hit wonder, Leighton was, in truth, one of the finest composers of his generation--worthy to be considered alongside his older, more famous contemporaries, Britten and Tippett. Possessed of a fecund and far-ranging musical imagination, Leighton, like few others, was consistently able to strike that rare balance between seriousness and accessibility. His tonal language can be eclectic--ranging from the lushly colorful (as in his Symphony #3 Op. 90) to the searingly acerbic (Concerto for Organ, Strings Orchestra and Timpani Op. 58), to a warmly personal, uniquely accessible brand of serialism (Symphony #1 Op. 42)-- but always at the service of an essentially lyric sensibility, profound mysticism, the youthful wonder of discovery, and existential awe. Individual pieces by Leighton can be found on numerous anthologies and collections, but the following discography focuses mostly on albums dedicated solely to this composer and his extraordinary music.


Linn Records CKD 329 (SACD) (2010)
Leighton: Earth Sweet Earth (song cycle) Op. 94
Britten: Winter Words Op. 52
James Gilchrist (tenor)
Anna Tilbrook (piano)

Hyperion CDA68039 (2015)
Leighton: Crucifixus pro nobis Op. 38
Magnificat and Nunc dimitis 'Collegium Magdalenae'
Missa Brevis Op. 50; The Second Service Op. 62
God's Grandeur; Give Me the Wings of Faith; 
What Love is This of Thine?; Ite missa est (organ solo)
Stephen Layton/The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge

Naxos 8.555795 (2004)
Leighton: Sacred Choral Music
An Easter Sequence;
Crucifixus pro nobis Op. 38
Magnificat and Nunc dimitis 'Collegium Magdalenae'
The Second Service Op. 62;
Give Me the Wings of Faith; What Love is This of Thine?
Christopher Robinson/Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge

Resonus RES10178 (3-CD set) (2017)
Leighton: Complete Organ Works
Stephen Farr. Nicky Spence

Naxos 8.572601 (2011)
Leighton: Music for Organ
Missa da gloria
Et Resurrexit
Hymn Fantasies
Greg Morris (organ)

Chandos CHAN 9132 (1993)
Leighton: Fantasy on an American Hymn Tune Op. 70
Alleluia Pascha Nostrum Op. 85
Variations for Piano Op. 30
Sonata for Piano Op. 64
Janet Hilton (clarinet (Op. 70))
Raphael Wallfisch (cello (Op. 85))
Peter Wallfisch (piano)

Naxos 8.571358 (2015)
Leighton: Chamber Works for Cello
Elegy Op. 5;
Partita Op. 35;
Sonata for cello and piano Op. 52;
Alleluia pascha nostrum for cello and piano Op. 85
Raphael Wallfisch (cello)
Raphael Terroni (piano)

Delphian 34301 (3-disc set) (2006)
Leighton: Complete Solo Piano Works
Angela Brownridge

Meridian  Records 84460 (2002)
Leighton: String Quartet #1 Op. 32
String Quartet #2 Op. 33
Seven Variations for String Quartet Op. 43
Edinburgh String Quartet

Chandos CHAN 10461 (2008)
Leighton: Orchestral Works Vol. 1
Symphony for Strings Op. 3
Concerto for Organ, String Orchestra and Timpani Op. 58
Concerto for String Orchestra Op. 39
John Scott (organ)
Richard Hickox/BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Chandos CHAN 10495 (2008)
Leighton: Orchestral Works Vol. 2
Symphony #2 'Sinfonia Mistica' Op. 69
Te Deum Laudamus
Sarah Fox (soprano, Te Deum)
Richard Hickox/BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales

Chandos CHAN 10608 (2010)
Leighton: Orchestral Works Vol. 3
Symphony #1 Op. 42
Concerto #3 'Concerto estivo'  (for piano and orchestra) Op. 57
Howard Shelly (piano)
Martyn Brabbins/BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Chandos CHAN 10307X (2005 re-issue from 1989)
Leighton: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra Op. 31
Symphony #3 'Laudes musicae' Op. 90
Raphael Wallfisch (cello)
Neil Mackie (tenor, Symphony #3)
Bryden Thomson/Scottish National Orchestra

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