Kenneth Leighton: Complete Organ Works CD review – a towering triumph

Stephen Pritchard writes .....

This is a major achievement. Stephen Farr triumphs in his massive survey of the output of Kenneth Leighton, a towering figure in British 20th-century liturgical music – one who instinctively understood the context of his compositions; how the organ works within great buildings and how its power and myriad colours can contribute to an exultant spiritual experience. Highlights are too numerous to mention, but especially interesting are Martyrs, an organ duet (with John Butt), Leighton’s epic expansion on a simple Scottish psalm tune; his Missa de Gloria, a powerful exploration of plainchant, which evokes and outshines Duruflé; and the Fantasy on a Chorale (Es ist genug), a fascinating combination of violin and organ.