Leighton | Martin: Masses for Double Choir

In the 1920s Frank Martin, a Swiss Calvinist by upbringing, created a radiant Latin setting of the Mass for double choir, only to return it to the bottom drawer, considering it to be ‘a matter between God and myself’.

It was finally released for performance forty years later, around the same time that the Edinburgh- based composer Kenneth Leighton made his own double-choir setting – a work with moments of striking stillness, delightful to choral singers and yet rarely recorded.

Contrasts and comparisons abound at every point in this fascinating pairing of Masses from the supposedly godless twentieth century, and are brought out to the full by The Choir of King’s College London’s impassioned performances. A short organ postlude by the teenage Jehan Alain, written on retreat in a monastery in 1930, follows like a voluntary concluding the liturgy.

"this is a performance of astonishing intensity and musicality. A powerfully moving interpretation of a powerfully moving work."

"The choral forces of King’s College, London, are well focused, clean and expressive...Occasionally one or two of the solo voices show their youth, but the whole is delivered with such conviction, even passion, that this matters not."

"Fresh and engaged, this ensemble may not have the impeccable blending of some collegiate choirs but their commitment and musicality shines out...another Delphian win"

"this performance by the choir of KCL conducted by Joseph Fort is impressive, showing fine control and splendid depth of tone and dynamic range"

"They sing with great assurance and flexibility and the sopranos take no prisoners in their attack on their high lines...With the Finzi Singers’ version of the Leighton now available only as a download, this is the only current disc available of the Leighton…if you go for this coupling, you will not be disappointed."

"Joseph Fort’s superbly drilled Choir of King’s College London singing with shedloads of oomph. Whoever said that English choral singing was pale and insipid?"

Producer: Paul Baxter
Recording venue(s): King's College London
Recording dates: 18-20 April 2018
Physical format: CD
Number of discs: 1
Number of tracks: 12
Release date: 26 April 2019
Total playing time: 1:03:42
Album ID: DCD34211

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