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Leighton - Solo Piano Works
Kenneth Leighton was a pianist of considerable accomplishment and his activities as both a composer and a musician often centred 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 Winter Scenes, a suite of seven short movements, remains unpublished and, as far as is known, was never performed in public by Leighton or any of his contemporaries.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).
“The composer-pianist's understanding of his own instrument is...evident in every measure of Margaret Fingerhut's absorbing solo recital, which launches in imposing fashion with the Sonata that Leighton wrote for Peter Wallfisch... Fingerhut plays with consummate skill and thrilling conviction” Gramophone Magazine, August 2010
“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.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2010 ****
“Fingerhut is an insightful, sensitive advocate of [Leighton's] music, whether measured in the form of the two rhythmically gritty Sonatas...or the more temperamental Winter Scenes...This disc is a valuable resource, perceptively filling in gaps in the Leighton oeuvre and demonstrating playing of verve and intelligence” International Record Review, October 2010
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Kenneth Leighton - Complete Solo Piano Works
Angela Brownridge (piano)
The complete solo piano music of Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988) is presented for the first time, on three discs containing many world premiere recordings. Written for Leighton’s own instrument, and played here by his distinguished pupil Angela Brownridge, these works span Leighton’s entire compositional career.
“An eloquent survey of Leighton’s substantial and marvellously idiomatic piano music…this is an important set that deserves widespread currency.” Gramophone Magazine
“Brownridge plays superbly throughout – at all times, she is fully up to the technical, intellectual and characterizing demands of this music, and the recording quality of her instrument is consistently excellent…very strongly recommended.” International Record Review
Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days.