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CHAN 10601
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CHAN 10601

Leighton: Works for Solo Piano

The Classical Shop
release date: June 2010

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2009


Margaret Fingerhut



Potton Hall Studio, Westleton, Suffolk


Rachel Smith


Jonathan Cooper

Paul Quilter


Record Label



Total Time - 70:04
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Sonata, Op. 64 (1971-72)

  for Pianoforte  
  To Peter Wallfisch  
1 I Lento e chiaro - Più mosso - Un poco meno mosso, rubato - Ancora più mosso, ma espressivo - 8:06
2 II Chorale with Contrasts. Adagio molto e sostenuto - Più agitato e rubato - 6:05
3 III Toccatas and Chorale. Presto precipitoso - Sempre più animato - Con bravura - Molto moderato 8:25

Preludes (1988)

  for Piano  
4 (1) Prelude in D minor - in d-Moll - en ré mineur 1:34
  Allegro con moto, cantabile ed un poco agitato  
5 (2) Prelude in D major - in D-Dur - en ré majeur 3:25
  Lentissimo dolce e cantabile - Tempo giusto, sostenuto  
6 (3) Prelude in E flat minor - in es-Moll - en mi bémol mineur 2:39
  Adagio molto (tempo giusto) - Solenne  
7 (4) Prelude in C major - in C-Dur - en ut majeur 1:50
  Allegro molto, chiaro e limpido  
8 (5) Prelude in C minor - in c-Moll - en ut mineur 2:46
  Adagio molto, sonoro e cantando  
premiere recording

Winter Scenes (1953)

  Suite for Pianoforte  
9 1 Landscape. Andante malinconico - Un poco più mosso (un poco rubato) - Come prima 3:57
10 2 The Wind. Allegro scorrevole - Feroce 2:11
11 3 Mist. Andante con moto, vago e nebbioso - [ ] - Tempo I 3:04
12 4 Woodsprites. Moderato e molto grazioso - 2:04
13 5 By the Fireside. Lento sostenuto, molto cantabile - Più liberamente - Calmo, come prima - 3:10
14 6 Snowflakes. Allegro delicatissimo 2:10
15 7 Carol. Allegro ma non troppo, semplice come canto popolare - Un poco meno mosso - 2:50
premiere recording

Sonata No. 3, Op. 27 (1954)

  for Pianoforte  
16 I Andante, ma un poco liberamente - Sostenuto - Allegro molto e energico - 5:37
17 II Lento sostenuto - Tutta forza (sostenuto) - Un po' meno mosso, dolcissimo 4:17
18 III Intermezzo. Con moto e cantabile - Meno mosso (espressivo) - A tempo, dolce - 2:22
19 IV Presto, molto ritmico - Meno mosso - Tempo I (brillante) - Brillante 3:32

Kenneth Leighton was a pianist of considerable accomplishment and his activities as both a composer and a musician often centered on the piano. As a composer-pianist, he had an innate understanding of the instrument and what he described as its ‘inexhaustible possibilities’. Quite appropriately, his first published work was for the instrument, Sonatina No. 1, Op. 1a, and the last music that he wrote, before his premature death at the age of fifty-eight, was the beginning of a compendium of Preludes for piano, the partially complete result of which features in this recital. Returning to the instrument at regular intervals, Leighton often wrote through inner compulsion rather than as a consequence of a commission. The piano proved an excellent tool with which to write some of his most virtuosic and experimental music, but it also offered him a chance to compose simpler works for young players in nonetheless challenging styles.

Two of the works on this disc, recorded here for the first time, date from the years 1951 – 55, a time of self-discovery in his musical language, which included a period of study in Rome with the avant-garde composer Petrassi. Winter Scenes, a suite of seven short movements, remains unpublished and, as far as is known, was never performed in public by Leighton or any of his contemporaries. Along with the progressive Sonata No. 3, Op. 27, it demonstrates Leighton’s growing mastery of piano technique.

Margaret Fingerhut has an extensive discography on Chandos. In a recent review she was described as ‘an accomplished and stylish advocate’ (BBC Music).

“… Chandos’s sound an ideal balance of weight, burnished tone and clarity. This is piano music in the grand tradition; it stands proudly with the acknowledged masterpieces of the past three centuries.”


American Record Guide - September/October 2010

“…A marvellous release.”

David Wordsworth - 15 July 2010

                     Performance ****      Recording *****
“Margaret Fingerhut’s strong and immaculate performances recall Leighton’s own powerful style as a pianist almost exactly, and the recordings reveal his fine ear for keyboard resonance.”


Malcolm Hayes

BBC Music Magazine - August 2010

“Exemplary additions to the happily expanding Leighton discography.” (CHAN 10601 & CHAN 10608)

“…Fingerhut plays with consummate skill and thrilling conviction, and once again the engineering is out of the top drawer…”

Andrew Achenbach

Gramophone - August 2010

E Moody

C Mclean