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Kenneth Leighton: Missa Da Gloria, Et Resurrexit, Hymn Fantasies / Greg Moris

Album Summary

>Leighton, Kenneth : Et Resurrexit, for organ, Op. 49
>Leighton, Kenneth : Six Fantasies on Hymn Tunes, Op. 72
>Leighton, Kenneth : Missa de Gloria, for organ, Op. 82 ("Dublin Festival Mass")
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Kenneth Leighton was one of Britain's most important 20th-century composers, known for his organ, choral and orchestral works. His style is a distinctive mix of melodic lyricism and dynamic rhythmic energy. Et Resurrexit builds into a cataclysmic climax, symbolizing the soul's struggle for belief in Christ's resurrection, while his Hymn Fantasies abound in fascinating polyphony. Greg Morris, Associate Organist at London's Temple Church, performs widely throughout the United Kingdom and Europe.

MusicWeb International
Overdue exposure for the marvellous music of Leighton. Organist Greg Morris an assured and exciting guide to this inspired music. Superb Naxos engineering catches the Blackburn Cathedral organ in full throated glory.

American Record Guide
... the strings sound rather chilly to me, but that often suits the severity of Leighton's quieter writing, as does the plaintive quality of the soft reeds. Morris's playing is authoritative and more than equal to Leighton's virtuosic demands. Furthermore, this is clearly an instrument the artist knows well and can use to the greatest effect.

Gramophone
Kenneth Leighton's organ works definitely stand the test of time with their masterful contrapuntal textures, colourful chromatic but tonal harmony, and skilled organ-writing. One admires his clever use of a 12th-century plainchant in the Missa de Gloria - an organ Mass as fine as the ones by Couperin and Messiaen. Curiously, the theme of Et resurrexit is virtually identical with the melody from the second section of Vaughan Williams's Flos campi, but again Leighton treats it in a variety of ingenious ways.

MusicWeb International
The level of dissonance is high but this gives the music a flashing brilliance that is very compelling. Yet at the heart of the work is a devout sense of meditation and faith that belongs to a much earlier age. Again, I was struck by the parallels that Leighton achieves by the fusion of the music of the chant with the spirit of the text of the various sections of the mass. I would see this work as an extended sequence of mediations on the text of the liturgy set to the music of the Mass. Again enormous credit to Morris for the sustained concentration of his playing. In normal circumstances I am not a huge aficionado of organ music but I have been thoroughly converted by the conviction of the playing here. It goes way beyond simple technical address - which Morris clearly possesses in spades - to something that transcends the 'how' of playing and gets to the essential 'why'. Much of this music is joyful without being light-hearted, ecstatic without being light-headed. If this music makes such an impression on disc in live performance by Morris it must be overwhelming.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Blackburn Cathedral, England (04/26/2009-04/27/2009).



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Works Details

>Leighton, Kenneth : Et Resurrexit, for organ, Op. 49
  • Performer: Greg Morris (Organ)
  • Notes: Blackburn Cathedral, England (04/26/2009-04/27/2009)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1966

>Leighton, Kenneth : Six Fantasies on Hymn Tunes, Op. 72 :: no 4. St Columba
  • Performer: Greg Morris (Organ)
  • Notes: Blackburn Cathedral, England (04/26/2009-04/27/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1975

>Leighton, Kenneth : Six Fantasies on Hymn Tunes, Op. 72 :: no 5. Veni Emmanuel
  • Performer: Greg Morris (Organ)
  • Notes: Blackburn Cathedral, England (04/26/2009-04/27/2009)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1975

>Leighton, Kenneth : Six Fantasies on Hymn Tunes, Op. 72 :: no 6. Hanover
  • Performer: Greg Morris (Organ)
  • Notes: Blackburn Cathedral, England (04/26/2009-04/27/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1975

>Leighton, Kenneth : Missa de Gloria, for organ, Op. 82 ("Dublin Festival Mass")
  • Performer: Greg Morris (Organ)
  • Notes: Blackburn Cathedral, England (04/26/2009-04/27/2009)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1980