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Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, November 2015

…with all of the works on this CD, it sounds as if Leighton were communing with himself, reaching inward to his calm center even when the music is at its busiest and most turbulent. In [Alleluia Pascha Nostrum], Wallfisch’s timbre resumes its slightly edgy and distorted quality, but once again he plays superbly. I should also note that pianist Terroni is more than an able accompanist, his playing being lively and sensitive in turn as the music requires.

This is an extremely interesting CD and well-worth investigating. In our modern era, when so many composers write in a generic and sometimes faceless manner, it’s sobering to hear a composer who had something meaningful to say and did so in a strong, personal style. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review



Bruce Reader
The Classical Reviewer, August 2015

It is good to have all of [Leighton’s] chamber works for cello collected together on one disc, particularly when as well performed as here. © 2015 The Classical Reviewer Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2015

It is a painfully slow process, but the recording industry are slowly revealing the works of one of England’s most sadly neglected composers, Kenneth Leighton. Here we have the Complete Chamber Works for Cello, with the imposing three-movement Unaccompanied Sonata at the heart of the disc. Quite unusual in its structure, each movement is in descriptive format, the work opening with Lament, the second including a Cradle Song and the third a Chaconne. It does not set out to shock or surprise with its virtuosity as we find, for instance, in Kodály’s Sonata, yet if you examine the score, it is fiendishly difficult, the Toccata passage in the second movement a real trial of dexterity in both hands. The Partita from 1959 is equally substantial with a the third movement in the form of a Theme and Six Variations. Opening with an Elegy from the world of Benjamin Britten, the following Scherzo is a brilliant whirlwind. Again the variations are unusual in containing a quirky March, a seductive Waltz, and a sombre Chorale. The Elegy, from 1949, originally formed part of a Cello Sonata begun in 1947 while still a student, and later withdrawn. It is unclear whether it was a reflection on the Second World War that had just ended, its mood being one of eloquent sadness. Towards the end of his life—he died at the age of sixty—he wrote for the soloist on this recording, Raphael Wallfisch, the Alleluia Pascha Nostrum, a work based on Leighton’s passion for hymns and plainsong. It would be wrong to typecast Wallfisch just in the world of English music, yet it is true to say there is no other cellist who so understands the idiom, and together with the pianist, Raphael Terroni, this is a release you can aptly describe as ‘perfect’, not least in the quality of sound. © 2015 David’s Review Corner





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