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Leighton: Complete Piano Works / Angela Brownridge


Release Date: 02/14/2006 
Label:  Delphian   Catalog #: 34301   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Angela Brownridge
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



K. LEIGHTON Studies: op. 22 ; op. 56 . Sonatinas: No. 1, op. 1a ; No. 2, op. 1b . Variations: op. 30; op. 36 . Sonatas: No. 1, op. 2 ; No. 2, op. 17 ; op. 64 Read more class="ARIAL12b">. Conflicts. Romantic Pieces , op. 95 . Fantasia contrappuntistica. Household Pets. Jack-in-the-box. Lazy-bones. Pieces for Angela. Preludes ? Angela Brownridge (pn) ? DELPHIAN 34301?3 (3 CDs: 227:25)


Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988) was born in a quiet area of Yorkshire, proving that innovative artists can emerge from the most unlikely of non-urban, non-urbane environments. There is something mystical about the appearance of such wunderkinds. This posthumous three-disc set includes Leighton's entire piano music output from 1946 to 1988. Leighton's is the kind of music that might best be served by being represented on a program with other works; his pieces are concentrated and musically intricate. It takes time to digest each one individually, so a massive CD set such as this should be seen as a resource to be drawn from over and over again. Diller Quayle it ain't. It is mind-boggling to think that Angela Brownridge recorded the entire opus in just eight days and so successfully.


I have often thought about the quirkiness of English music, so different from the French, German, or Italian traditions, or, for that matter, the Russian. Leighton takes his place among the likes of Bridge, Britten, and Elgar, though he is also influenced by such diverse composers as Khachaturian, Debussy, Scriabin, Bartók, Busoni, and Hindemith. Leighton remains idiosyncratically English in his sound, yet he has drawn from the international scene, absorbing along the way serialism, impressionism, neo-Classicism, even a little jazz. His music is definitely tonal and melodic, yet not simplistic. But the pieces are harmonically composite, and, surprisingly, rhythmically unambiguous.


Leighton's Sonatina No. 1, op. 1a, written when he was 17 years old, already portrays his unique style, if naively. By the time he was 19, Sonata No. 1, op. 2, demonstrated clever modal writing. With Sonata No. 2, op. 1b in 1953, Leighton seemed to have established himself as a mature and disciplined voice. His two works for children, Household Pets and Pieces for Angela, are charming, yet challenging, amusing, and poignant.


I must emphasize how astounding Angela Brownridge's accomplishment is in recording all of these works. It must have been some help that she was Leighton's star pupil. Leighton was a devoted and lifelong university pedagogue. Brownridge's playing is remarkably even and deft, negotiating 40 years of music with seeming ease. Brownridge serves the intricacy of Leighton's music well. For those interested in the continuum of English music, this set will be a valuable addition, and, for those interested in a truly bravura performance by an astounding pianist, this set is a godsend.


FANFARE: David Wolman
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Works on This Recording

1.
Studies (5) for Piano, Op. 22 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Angela Brownridge (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
2.
Sonatina for Piano no 1 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Angela Brownridge (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
3.
Sonatina for Piano no 2 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Angela Brownridge (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; England 
4.
Variations for Piano, Op. 30 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Angela Brownridge (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; England 
5.
Sonata for Piano, Op. 64 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Angela Brownridge (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; England 
6.
Studies (Study-Variations) (6) for Piano, Op. 56 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Angela Brownridge (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; England 
7.
Romantic Pieces (4) for Piano, Op. 95 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Angela Brownridge (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; England 
8.
Fantasia contrappuntistica (Homage to Bach), Op. 24 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Angela Brownridge (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; England 
9.
Household Pets for Piano, Op. 86 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Angela Brownridge (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
10.
Pieces for Angela, Op. 47 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Angela Brownridge (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
11.
Preludes for Piano by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Angela Brownridge (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988; England 

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