Leighton: Every Living Creature - Choral Music

Album cover art for upc 748871066724
Catalog: SOMMCD 0667

Whitfield, Helena; McIntosh, Isobel; Byram-Wingfield, Ben; Bennett, Nina; Pritchard, Nick; Leowinger, Arielle; Griffiths, Andrew; Hendrick, Ciara; Londinium; Napier, Madelaine; Loosely, Clare; Lea, Rebecca; Clark, Fiona; Finchley Children's Music Group

SOMM Recordings is delighted to announce the label return of the chamber choir Londinium and director Andrew Griffiths with Every Living Creature, a recital of choral music by Kenneth Leighton on the 35th anniversary of his death featuring five premiere recordings. The album unearths a number of significant works by this important British composer, including the extraordinary, eight-movement Laudes Animantium, a 25-minute work for double choir, soloists and children’s chorus, as well as a superb setting of John Donne’s Nativitie and the charming Three Carols (1948). Also featured are the partsong London Town and three more sacred works: Lord, When the Sense of Thy Sweet Grace, An evening hymn and A Hymn to the Trinity. Five of the pieces are heard on disc for the first time; the remaining four have been recorded only once before. Londinium is joined by soloists Rebecca Lea and Nina Bennet (sopranos), Ciara Hendrick (mezzo-soprano), Nick Pritchard (tenor) and, in the finale of Laudes Animantium, the choir of Finchley Children’s Music Group. In his insightful booklet notes, Griffiths writes: “It is rare to find a choral singer who does not enjoy performing Leighton’s works. His music is rooted in rigorous part-writing and counterpoint, and alive with invigorating rhythm, motivic interplay and piquant dissonance, underlaid with a deeply lyrical instinct and an exquisite sensitivity to the meaning and colour of text”. Londinium and Andrew Griffiths’ debut SOMM release was The Gluepot Connection, a compendium portrait of British musical life in the middle of the last century (SOMMCD 180), a MusicWeb International Recording of the Year, hailed as “a brilliant concept” and “flawlessly performed”. It received a five-star review from Choir & Organ, and four stars from BBC Music Magazine and The Daily Telegraph, with Gramophone hailing its “impressive accomplishment” and declaring it “well worth seeking out”.

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