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Kenneth Leighton

Publisher: Novello & Co

Concerto for Harpsichord, Recorder and Strings (1982)
Novello & Co Ltd
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Year Composed
20 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
harpsichord, recorder [=flute]
Programme Note
Kenneth Leighton Concerto for Harpsichord, Recorder and Strings (1982)
Kenneth Leighton: Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute (or Recorder) and Strings, Op. 88

Largo Sostenuto - Allegro molto - Lento
Scherzo - Presto e precipitoso
Elegy - Adagio e sostenuto

This work was composed during the second half of 1982 in response to a commission from Alan Cuckston, John Turner and the Northern Chamber Orchestra of Manchester. The first performances were given by these artists in February of this year.

The harpsichord is an intense and lyrical instrument and it is mostly these qualities which are exploited here.

The first movement opens with a solemn motive (marked Fiero) which returns at various points and also at the end of the whole work. It is in fact the unifying factor both melodically and harmonically. Only in the short Scherzo is no reference made to it.

Structurally the piece is closely knit but elaboration and improvisation are in the nature of the harpsichord and both first movement and Elegy lead at climactic points to cadenza-like paragraphs. The music is mainly extrovert and optimistic until the final movement which perhaps contains the main emotional weight of the work.
© Kenneth Leighton

  • Ensemble
    Royal Ballet Sinfonia
    John Turner, recorder / Keith Elcombe, harpsichord
    Gavin Sutherland
Kenneth Leighton's Concerto for harpsichord, recorder and strings Op. 88 is certainly representative of his best and most mature music; sinuous, elegiac, virtuosic - a masterpiece.
Andrew Mayes, The Recorder Magazine,01/04/2003
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