Magazine article Gramophone

Leighton * F Martin * Alain: Alain Prelude Pour L'office De Complies

Magazine article Gramophone

Leighton * F Martin * Alain: Alain Prelude Pour L'office De Complies

Article excerpt

Leighton * F Martin * Alain

Alain Prelude pour l'office de Complies Leighton Mass, Op 44 (a) F Martin Mass for Double Choir (b)

(a) Mimi Doulton sop (a) Caitlin Goreing contr (a) William Hester ten (a) Joseph Edwards bass (ab) The Choir of King's College London / Joseph Fort with James Orford org

Delphian (F) DCD34211 (64' * DDD * T/t)

Kenneth Leighton's and Frank Martin's Masses begin almost identically, and for a time the similarities between them are so obvious that one would imagine Leighton already had a thorough acquaintanceship with the Swiss composer's setting when he started work on his in 1964. Yet Peter Quantrill's booklet note would seem to imply otherwise, and very quickly typical Leighton-isms wipe away any lingering aromas of Frank Martin.

Those Leighton-isms--driving, impulsive rhythms, highly energised chromaticisms, intensity built up through frequent repetitions of small musical cells, and that sense of continually building up polyphonic lines to some ecstatic climax are fervently delivered by the gloriously robust King's College London choir. Joseph Fort is clearly very much in his element with this music and drives his singers onwards with an almost hypnotic zeal.

There are two substantial points of departure between these two Mass settings. First, Leighton calls for a quartet of soloists. Mimi Doulton is the first to show herself in a powerful, forthright setting of the Gloria, and while the other three Caitlin Goreing, William Hester and Joseph Edwards--easily match her full-throated presence, their very forward placing in the sound stage can seem a little overwhelming. …

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