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Leighton: Orchestral Works Vol 2 / Hickox, Fox, BBC National Orchesta of Wales, et al

Album Summary

>Leighton, Kenneth : Symphony no 2, for soprano, chorus & orchestra, Op. 69 ("Sinfonia mistica in memoriam")
>Leighton, Kenneth : Te Deum Laudamus ("St. Cecilia")
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This second volume of orchestral music by Kenneth Leighton offers his Second Symphony and 'Te Deum laudamus'. The symphony was composed in 1973 – 74 as a direct response to the death of the composer's mother and Leighton referred to it as a 'meditation on the subject of death'. Subtitled 'Sinfonia mistica', it contains some of his most personal and reactionary music. The 'Te Deum laudamus', originally composed for choir and organ in 1964, was orchestrated in 1966 and is an imaginative setting of the liturgical text of praise, in English, and written in honour of St Cecilia.

Gramophone Magazine
Sarah Fox sings with refulgent tone, commendable accuracy and shining intelligence; and Richard Hickox rallies the BBC Welsh forces to the same dizzy heights that marked out the previous volume in this series... as one of the best discs of 2008.

BBC Music Magazine
Despite its monumental aspect the Sinfonia mistica is essentially a personal, intimate work, and it gets a moving performance here, Richard Hickox judging to a nicety the various movements' complex succession of tempos, and their ebb and flow of intensity. Sarah Fox is a pure-voiced, poignant soloist, and the BBC National Chorus of Wales sound very confident, as if this was a repertoire standard for them.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Composed during 1973-74 in direct response to the death of his mother, Leighton's Sinfoniamistica is scored for soprano, chorus and orchestra.

Described by its creator as 'a requiem or a meditation on the subject of death which usually becomes so more real to us in the second half of life', the symphony has six movements and sets texts by such great metaphysical poets as John Donne, Thomas Traherne and George Herbert, while also making telling use of the 1865 American hymn tune The Shining River. The linked 'Meditation' and 'Elegy' at the work's heart manifest an especially potent beauty, serenity and compassion, but, truth to tell, inspiration soars consistently high in this cogently wrought and (above all) profoundly humane utterance. This is music which will amply repay repeated listening. The orchestral version of the glorious 1964 Te Deum laudamus makes a rewarding postscript.

Both performances are beyond reproach.

Sarah Fox sings with refulgent tone, commendable accuracy and shining intelligence; and Richard Hickox rallies the BBC Welsh forces to same dizzy heights. Outstandingly vivid sound, too, with a perfectly judged balance throughout.

Miss at your peril.



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Works Details

>Leighton, Kenneth : Symphony no 2, for soprano, chorus & orchestra, Op. 69 ("Sinfonia mistica in memoriam")
  • Performer: Sarah Vocal] (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: BBC National Chorus of Wales
  • Notes: Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales (11/27/2007/11/28/2007)
  • Running Time: 48 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1974

>Leighton, Kenneth : Te Deum Laudamus ("St. Cecilia")
  • Performers: Gareth Davies (Voice); Sarah Vocal] (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: BBC National Chorus of Wales
  • Notes: Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales (11/27/2007/11/28/2007)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1964