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Global Fascinations and Sophistications

Kenneth Leighton piano works


Composing music is a serious subject, yet when a man of profound gifts gives voice to his own conflicting thoughts and conscious beliefs then couches them in a direct fashion, as near as possible to the real thing at the time of experience, he must hope for personal acceptance. This applies to all fine composers, but in twentieth century terms, some are accepted, admired, even liked by audiences, while others of many talents are left to languish in some state of personalized obscurity.

Kenneth Leighton piano works. Copyright (c) 2000 Chandos Records Ltd.

Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988), is in line with those Britishers who are treated in offhanded fashion, but he offers a musical challenge to performers who regard his strength of vision - America's Ives and Sessions also wrote what they believed - coupling emotional appeal with great skill in form and content, as deserving proper recognition. From the early Sonatina No 2, with its fusion of the romantic to the modern, the 5 Studies Op 22 play delightful 'tricks' with Chopin, Berkeley [listen - track 5, 0:50-1:40], MacDowell, Bach, Barber and Debussy, while the Fantasia Contrappuntistica pays homage to Bach rather differently than Busoni.

8 Pieces for Angela, are offerings for gifted children - 'Clockwork Doll', 'The Swan', 'Little Minx', 'Cradle Song', 'A Sad folk-song', 'Leap-Frog', 'Lament', 'Fanfare' - and translate charm, simplicity, delight and wit in short, virile bursts of fantasy and desire. With 4 Romantic Pieces Op.95, premièred by the composer a year before his death, we enter a world of deep realizations and eternal strife. Brief respite arrives in memories of the jazz world where sadness and nostalgia reign; elsewhere musical ideas are subjected to palindronal treatment as if hearkening back to a bygone period.

Margaret Fingerhut is renowned as a pianist of progressive ideas and firm convictions. As always, her performances get right to the heart of the matter, making a superb case for composer revival.

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Copyright © 6 September 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK







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