Leighton: The World’s Desire; Sequence for All Saints; Morning Canticles; O God, enfold me in the sun; Rockingham

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Leighton
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Leighton
WORKS: The World’s Desire; Sequence for All Saints; Morning Canticles; O God, enfold me in the sun; Rockingham
PERFORMER: Wells Cathedral Choir; Wells Cathedral School Chapel Choir/Matthew Owens; David Bednall (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67641

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Fans of the music of Leighton will be glad to see this recording of some rarer corners of his oeuvre. The two main items are the Sequence for All Saints and The World’s Desire, multi-movement, quasi-liturgical works. I always feel with Leighton’s choral music that it’s about being there, seated in some lofty nave, alternately lulled by captivating melody and roused by rhythmic outburst, and recordings rarely do it justice. When boxed-up in the recording process Leighton’s fortissimos can just sound relentless, his filigree meandering. For these reasons, this disc will probably not leap to my hand in a listless moment, though it has some persuasive passages. The treble line is unanimous and purposeful, medium full-bodied in tone, and comes across well in such lyrical meditations as the Offertory from the All Saints sequence (note that this has nothing to do with liturgical Sequence, as the booklet claims). The adult soloists are simply not of national standing, though they do have plenty to do in narrating and illuminating the more personal sentiments among the texts. William Whitehead