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Stephen Farr (organ)
Renowned organist Stephen Farr returns to the Resonus label with the first of three major albums surveying the complete organ works of the twentieth-century British composer Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988).

Recorded on the monumental Rieger organ of St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, the city where Leighton spent most of his working life as a composer, the centrepiece of this opening programme is Leighton's most substantial work for the instrument, Missa de Gloria, Op. 82, written for the inaugural Dublin International Organ Festival in 1980. Also featured are the inventive Six Fantasies on Hymn Tunes, Op. 72 (written for former St Giles' organist Herrick Bunney) and the Improvisation in Memoriam Maurice de Sausmarez from 1969.

Farr is also joined by organist John Butt for the epic and challenging organ duet based on a Scottish Psalm-tune, Martyrs, Op. 73.

'There is so much to appreciate here, including [...] the late (1980) Missa de Gloria, in which one may detect not just the further evolution of Leighton's harmonic language, but also a confidence and tautness of writing [...] With unimpeachable performances and sound, do explore this rewarding, and surely award-winning, release.'
Classical Ear (Five Stars)

Credits
© 2014 Resonus Limited
Ⓟ 2014 Resonus Limited
Catalogue No. RES10134
Producer, engineer & editor: Adam Binks
Cover image: Unlocking of Arran by Fiona McAllister

'Indeed, it is the sheer musical quality of Farr’s playing and his obvious sensitivity towards the rhythmic and textural detail of Leighton’s music which makes this a hugely impressive release. I eagerly await the next volume.'
Gramophone (Editor's Choice)

'The first volume (of three) surveying [Leighton's] organ works is a magnificent beginning [...] Stephen Farr is a committed advocate. Nimble and nuanced in the multi-faceted Six Fantasies on Hymn Tunes, [...] and unabashedly muscular in Leighton's magnum opus, the dramatically variegated Missa de Gloria. [...] Recorded sound is exemplary'
Choir and Organ (5 stars)

'There is so much to appreciate here, including [...] the late (1980) Missa de Gloria, in which one may detect not just the further evolution of Leighton's harmonic language, but also a confidence and tautness of writing [...] With unimpeachable performances and sound, do explore this rewarding, and surely award-winning, release.'
Classical Ear (Five Stars)

'Lovers of Leighton’s choral music and those who enjoy British organ music need have no hesitation in buying this recording, preferably in the very fine 24/96 version.'
MusicWeb International (Brian Wilson)

'The audio quality is excellent [...] Leighton enthusiasts will be delighted with this release, organ aficionados will be most interested to hear the organ of St Giles' Cathedral in all its glory, and the general listener who takes the trouble to track this down will be pleasantly surprised at what is on offer.'
Cross Rhythms

'[Leighton] is a composer that I have always been able to do business with: his balance of modernism and tradition is ideal. I thoroughly enjoyed this new download from Resonus and look forward to reviewing the second volume in this projected series.'
MusicWeb International (John France)

'Stephen Farr conjures a huge variety of timbres from the Rieger organ and appears equally at home in this music – whether reflective or demonstrative. I particularly enjoyed the opening set of Hymn tune fantasies, all based on very familiar melodies including Veni Emmanuel, St Columba and Jesus bids us shine!'
Lark Reviews

Kenneth Leighton: Organ Works, Volume 1

Kenneth Leighton: Organ Works, Volume 1

  • Artists: Stephen Farr
  • Product Code: RES10134 (download only)

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Track List & Samples

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1 3:22
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  • 2 4:02
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  • 3 2:57
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  • 4 2:58
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  • 5 6:11
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  • 6 3:08
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  • 7 12:21
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  • 8 6:50
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  • 9 4:35
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  • 10 8:28
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  • 11 7:57
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  • 12 5:39
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  • 13 5:57
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  • 14 4:32
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