This is an issue of
commanding interest if you value the
landscape of piano solo music created
in the British Isles during the post-war
Leighton is no pastoralist.
He is tougher combining two inimical
voices - he studied with both Finzi
and Petrassi. There are three symphonies
(one is available on Chandos) and ten
concertos including three piano concertos.
The end result in the Op. 95 set is
a work that picks up on the writing
of Bartók, judiciously accented
with dissonance and with tributaries
feeding in from blues, jazz and Rachmaninov;
some might even think of Kapustin from
time to time. The three movement Sonata
starts and ends in with the sort of
insistent bell-clear writing we encounter
in his Toccata e Due Canzoni
touching obsessively on the depths
plumbed by Britten's Grimes Passacaglia.
This is again challengingly attractive
music with jazzy infusions - back to
Kapustin again. In the finale I was
reminded of the more insistent romantically
flourishing music in Bliss's Piano Concerto.
The notes by Paul Spicer
provide all the essential information.
Being able to buy this
certainly justifies joining the BMS.
This is extremely impressive
music. I would not want anyone to be
in any doubt about this and the performances
could hardly be more authoritative.
The disc insert warns
that the master reel-to-reel tape had
deteriorated by the time the transfer
came to be made. Be reassured I could
hear nothing to worry you. The sound
is stable, without wow and warmly centred.