Kenneth Leighton came to prominence in the 1960s with a unique musical language that suited the times. His output had a ‘mod’ feel: edgy harmonies and propulsive rhythms seemed to proclaim a bold, new outlook that challenged both the musical and ecclesiastical status quo.
Looking deeper we discover that Leighton’s music was anchored by a fair weight of musical history. Five years as a boy chorister at Wakefield Cathedral imbued him with a love of the Anglican tradition, whilst his later experience as a student of strict counterpoint, under the stern eye of his teacher Petrassi, ensured he knew what rules he was breaking.
Stephen Layton and the Trinity choir have done a magnificent job in bringing out all the colour and drama of this selection of Leighton’s church music. Much of the disc has been recorded at Lincoln Cathedral where the weight of the organ adds to the intensity of the performances, even if it means some detail is blurred.
Crucifixus Pro Nobis is splendidly realised with superb attention to the text by Patrick Carey and Phineas Fletcher. Tenor Andrew Kennedy wrings all the pathos from the score providing some hair-raising moments which are worth the price of the disc alone. Two contrasting settings of the evening canticles, a Missa Brevis, an organ piece and three excellent anthems make this programme
a deeply engaging experience. Don’t miss it!