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LEIGHTON: Easter Sequence (An) / Crucifixus Pro Nobis

Composer(s):Leighton, Kenneth
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Choral - SacredInstrumental
Catalogue 8.555795
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

Kenneth Leighton’s distinctive compositional voice is characterized by rich, lush harmonies, subtle dissonance, rhythmic energy and a lilting, angular lyricism. Pithy thematic ideas and syncopated rhythms are allied to a brilliant mastery of counterpoint and a unique sense of melody borne of a lifelong love of hymns, chorale and chant. This collection features the two contrasting Canticle Settings, the Easter Sequence scored for boys’ voices, organ and trumpet (played here by Crispian Steele-Perkins) and Crucifixus pro nobis, the austere, miniature masterpiece of a Passion setting for tenor, choir and organ which climaxes with one of English choral music’s remarkable icons “Drop, drop, slow tears”.

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Review By Brian Wilson,MusicWeb International,March 2010

The three items which make this suitable for Passiontide and Easter will be obvious – two of them are billed on the CD cover – but the recording is valuable for the other items, too, not least the two settings of the Evensong canticles, which open and close the programme. John Quinn “strongly recommend[ed] this CD to all who love the music of the English church” – see review – and, as so often, I find myself in complete agreement with him. The mp3 sound is good.

Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

Leighton was steeped in the Anglican tradition in his youth as a cathedral chorister, and he contributed to its repertory throughout his life. There are two settings here of the Evening Canticles, framing the sequence, one for Magdalen College, Oxford (1959), and the Second Service (1971) composed in memory of the organist Brian Runnett, who died tragically in his mid-30s. They are among the most powerful since those of Herbert Howells, vividly and thoughtfully illustrating each verse, the Second Service ending with a hushed Gloria. The Easter Sequence, with trumpet obbligato, here played superbly by Crispian Steele-Perkins, is wonderfully written for trebles, and the cantata, Crucifixus pro nobis, using the 17th-century texts by Patrick Carey



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