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CHAN 10307
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CHAN 10307

Leighton: Cello Concerto/ Symphony No. 3

The Classical Shop
release date: April 2005

Originally recorded in 2004


Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Bryden Thomson

Raphael Wallfisch


Neil Mackie



Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Richard Lee


Record Label
Chandos Classics


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 59:25
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Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 31*

1 I Allegro con moto - Meno mosso - 12:34
2 II Scherzo and Trio. Allegro molto e ritmico (il più presto possible) - 9:34
3 III Lentissimo: molto sostenuto 10:11

Symphony No. 3 'Laudes musicale', Op. 90†

  for Tenor Solo and Orchestra  
4 I Adagio molto - Allegro con moto 9:20
5 II Scherzo. Allegro molto e scherzando 7:07
  John Grant fluto solo  
6 III Finale: Adagio molto e sostenuto 10:39
This reissue will please lovers of the byways of twentieth-century British music as it features works by Kenneth Leighton, a hugely undervalued composer whose lyrical and atmospheric music is here given the finest advocacy by artists renowned for this repertoire. Leighton produced a significant body of music, and these pieces rank amongst his finest, providing a good introduction.

The tenor soloist in the Third Symphony is Neil Mackie, who also performed the part at the work’s premiere in 1985.

Raphael Wallfisch, the soloist in the Cello Concerto, has an extensive and award-winning discography on Chandos. He is particularly known for his empathic interpretations of twentieth-century British music.

"Leighton’s Cello Concerto, his seventh concertante work, was begun in Naples during the summer of 1955 and was completed the following spring. Leighton uses a brilliant orchestral palette, tending to write contrasting blocks of colour and merging them for his climaxes. He is not afraid to write simple harmonies or even octaves and unisons where they are effective. The second movement follows the first without a break, and ideas from the first movement inform those in the last.

Leighton was commissioned to write Veris gratia after the composer Gerald Finzi was shown a symphony for strings by the twenty-year-old by his tutor, Bernard Rose. In 1958 his Three Choirs Festival commission, The Light Invisible, was designated a ‘Sinfonia sacra’. But it was 1965 before his true First Symphony won first prize in a city of Trieste international competition for a new symphonic work. That was an orchestral work, but when he came to write a Second Symphony nearly a decade later, it was for soprano, chorus and orchestra, setting words by Donne,Traherne, Herbert and others. Subtitled Sinfonia mistica, it was first performed in Edinburgh in 1977. The Third and final symphony Laudes musicae is for tenor and orchestra. Dated ‘Edinburgh, 12/3/84’ it was commissioned by the BBC and first performed in Glasgow in 1985. Laudes musicae is a setting of three texts concerned with the art of music, in the words of the first of them ‘a profound contemplation of the first composer’.

Strongly recommended.

Wallfisch gives a blistering account of Leighton’s dark-toned Concerto. Neil Mackie is the commandingly articulate tenor in the Symphony.
BBC Music Magazine

Raphael Wallfisch plays the Concerto as if his life depended on it, and the Symphony draws every bit as much dedication from its performers. The recording is very immediate, and has stunning clarity and detail.
The Penguin Complete Guide

Symphony 3 needs to equivocation; you can hear its tragic beauty and logical emotional development from the outset… This is a gorgeous captivating work. This is another of Chandos’ mid-price reissues, and I would not hesitate.
American Record Guide

It is a great pleasure, now and then, to be able to write a genuine rush-out-and-buy review. This is one such.
Hi-Fi News

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