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CHAN 9818
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CHAN 9818
Piano Works

Leighton: Piano Works

The Classical Shop
release date: April 2000

Recorded in 24 Bit / 44.1Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 1999


Margaret Fingerhut



Potton Hall Studio, Westleton, Suffolk


Ralph Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Richard Smoker


Record Label



Total Time - 66:20
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Piano Works



Select Complete Single Disc for

Sonatina No. 2

1 I Allegro 2:06
2 II Andante sostenuto 3:32
3 III Allegro molto 2:23

Five Studies, Op. 22

4 1 Allegro ma non troppo 2:09
5 2 Allegro leggerissimo 1:49
6 3 Allegro molto 1:42
7 4 Molto lento, molto espressivo, ed un poco liberamente 5:21
8 5 Presto con bravura 2:35

Fantasia contrappuntistica, Op. 24

9 Maestoso ed un poco liberamente - 1:22
10 Toccata: Allegro molto e ritmico - 2:55
11 Chorale: Lento sostenuto - 3:25
12 Fuga I: Allegretto con moto - 2:12
13 Fuga II: Presto e gaio - Primo tempo 2:08

Pieces for Angela, Op. 47

14 1 Clockwork Doll: Allegro alla marcia 0:44
15 2 The Swan: Andante con moto 1:09
16 3 Little Minx: Molto allegro capriccioso 0:51
17 4 Cradle-Song: Non troppo lento, dolce 1:31
18 5 A Sad Folk Song: Flowing and expressive 1:37
19 6 Leap-Frog: Allegro ritmico 1:00
20 7 Lament: Moderato espressivo 1:59
21 8 Final Fanfare: Brisk and Loud 0:52

Four Romantic Pieces, Op. 95

22 1 Molto moderato 5:08
23 2 Presto capriccioso - 3:44
24 3 Adagio molto 8:54
25 4 Allegro molto e con brio 5:12
Margaret Fingerhut performs a fascinating selection of piano music from Kenneth Leighton

The disc features two premiere recordings

Margaret Fingerhut has performed extensively internationally and has made nay acclaimed recordings with Chandos including works by Bax, Stanford, Howells, Grieg, Dukas, de Falla, Suk and Novák. A number of her discs have been selected as Gramophone Critic’s Choice and two of her Bax recordings were nominated for Gramophone Awards.

Despite an academic career path, the fecundity, variety and inventiveness of Leighton’s writing suggest not only a lively if often dark imagination, but a scope given to remarkably few British keyboard composer’s. His Sonatina No. 2 dates from 1947 and its terseness – almost as if Prokofiev had joined hands with John Ireland – is enlivened by personal quirkiness and a deliberately thin two-part writing.

The Five Studies, Op. 22 offer another world of rich and intricate patterning. The first has a sustained melody and syncopated lines; the second is more transparent, almost sparse in texture. The third has a high flying configuration, while the fourth, with its romantic fullness, is the nodal and expressive centre of the set. The last Etude, suitably, fizzes with pent-up virtuoso energy.

The Fantasia contrappuntistica (a homage to Bach) won the Busoni prize and was premiered by Bolzano, Italy by Maurizio Pollini in 1956. It has a sense of urgency, of bleak percussive and thorny virtuoso demands.

The eight Pieces for Angela are brief but concentrated offerings for gifted children, which show Leighton’s genius and ingenuity in such short spaces.

Four Romantic Pieces, Op 95 were premiered by the composer in 1987 and contain music charged with an optimum richness and significance. Leighton’s own notes on the pieces are modest and to the point. For him, No. 1 is ‘largely monothematic and darkly intense’, No. 2 is a Scherzo, its momentum halted like some constantly threatened life force. No. 3 is as pensive and elegiac as the most profound and expressive of Debussy’s Etudes. No. 4 is heavily syncopated and, again, has its origins in the nostalgia and despair of the jazz world.

‘I liked this program so much that … I’ve listened to everything on it many times, with ever increasing pleasure and admiration for Leighton’s music – and for Margaret Fingerhut, who plays with fire and intelligence. Recorded sound is strong, vivid, and true’.
American Record Guide

Margeret Fingerhut plays superbly… An extremely rewarding recital.

D Thomas

L Kibler