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Leighton - Crucifixus - Classical Ear

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Wakefield-born Kenneth Leighton (1929-88) left us a wonderful legacy of church music (as a boy he sang in his home city’s Cathedral choir), and this superb collection contains some his most powerful and enduring contributions to the genre, not least the ecstatically intense 1961 Passiontide cantata Crucifixus pro nobis (with tenor Andrew Kennedy a gloriously eloquent soloist here) and that magnificent and inspired 1957 motet God’s grandeur (which sets a sonnet by Gerald Manley Hopkins). Elsewhere, both of the Evening Services and popular Missa brevis (composed for Liverpool Cathedral in 1968) can boast a wealth of raptly eloquent inspiration, as does the soaringly beautiful What love of this is thine? (written in 1985, just three years before Leighton’s untimely death). Be in no doubt: these scrupulously prepared performances by the gifted young choral and organ scholars of Cambridge’s Trinity College under Stephen Layton’s hugely idiomatic lead positively blaze with conviction, and Hyperion’s sonics are splendiferously realistic to match. Do investigate this magnificent anthology.

Andrew Achenbach

Leighton - Crucifixus
Hyperion Records CDA68039