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Leighton: Sacred Choral Music / Robinson, Et Al


Release Date: 03/16/2004 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8555795   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Christopher WhittonBenjamin DurrantGareth JonesJames Oxley
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The sacred choral music of 20th-century British composer Kenneth Leighton (1929-88) has been fairly if not generously treated on disc, headed by excellent recordings from St. Paul's Cathedral (Hyperion) and the Finzi Singers (Chandos). This very fine collection joins those, duplicating some repertoire and adding to the list a performance of Leighton's first setting of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, subtitled Collegium Magdalenae Oxoniense in reference to the choir for which it was composed. The style of Leighton's compositions embraces the characteristics of much of the English cathedral music of the last century, including significant, often virtuosic organ parts and wide-ranging (both in vocal registers and dynamics) choral writing Read more that incorporates substantial blocks of dissonance into the tonal harmonic structure, along with angular melodies and lively, often irregular rhythmic schemes that emphasize natural textual inflection (much of this a clear debt to Britten).


The Choir of St. John's College and its director Christopher Robinson are totally at home in this music, powerfully conveying the drama of the Magdalene Magnificat in the huge tutti passages and then perfectly rendering the evocative opening of the anthem Give me the wings of faith with just the right prayerful sensitivity. Rhythmic precision is on abundant display throughout An Easter Sequence, which also features Crispian Steele-Perkins' bright trumpet and lovely treble solo singing by Benjamin Durrant, who returns in the motet What love is this of thine? An Easter Sequence also is memorable for the colorful organ solo passages and for its beautiful setting of the 23rd Psalm. The sound gives a realistic spatial/acoustic impression of the St. John's College Chapel while preserving good balances with organ and choir. The full-chorus and organ sections are really solid and powerful and the upper registers of the treble are bright and clear.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis "Collegium Magdalene Oxoniense" by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
2.
Give me the wings of faith by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; England 
3.
An Easter Sequence, Op. 55 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Benjamin Durrant (Boy Soprano), Christopher Whitton (Organ), Gareth Jones (Baritone)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
4.
Veni creator spiritus by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
5.
What Love is This of Thine? by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Benjamin Durrant (Boy Soprano)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986 
6.
Crucifixus pro nobis, Op. 38 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ), James Oxley (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; England 
7.
Rockingham by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
8.
Second Service, Op. 62: Magnificat and Nunc dimittis by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; England 

Sound Samples

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, "Collegium Magdalene Oxoniense": Magnificat
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, "Collegium Magdalene Oxoniense": Nunc Dimittis
Give me the wings of faith
An Easter Sequence: Introit (for the First Sundy after Easter)
An Easter Sequence: Gradual (for the First Sunday after Easter)
An Easter Sequence: Offertory (for the First Sunday after Easter)
An Easter Sequence: Communion (for the First Sunday after Easter)
An Easter Sequence: Sortie (Antiphon at First Vespers of Ascension Day)
Veni creator spiritus
What love is this of thine?
Crucifixus pro nobis, Op. 38: Christ in the Cradle
Crucifixus pro nobis, Op. 38: Christ in the Garden
Crucifixus pro nobis, Op. 38: Christ in his Passion
Crucifixus pro nobis, Op. 38: Hymn
Rockingham: When I survey the wondrous Cross: Rockingham: Chorale Prelude on 'When I survey the wondrous Cross'
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, "The Second Service", Op. 62: Magnificat
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, "The Second Service", Op. 62: Nunc Dimittis

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