Walter Leigh

Walter Leigh

by Nicholas Braithwaite

CD

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Overview

Walter Leigh

Walter Leigh's orchestral music could fairly be described as light music from the 1930s. Conceived and executed either as incidental music, as in the "Agincourt Overture" for the BBC, and "The Frogs Overture" for a production of Aristophanes' play, or for a specific occasion, as in the "Jolly Roger Overture," which preceded the comic opera of the same name premiered at the Savoy Theater, it is unfailingly colorful, evocative, well crafted, and tuneful. However, it is also insubstantial in a way that evaporates from one's memory as soon as it is over. This is in part due to the competition from Leigh's countrymen: the bright fanfares of his "Agincourt Overture" bring to mind William Walton's rousing music for Henry V from half a decade later, and the "Jolly Roger Overture"'s bumptious nautical effects, though amusing, wither in the shadow of Arthur Sullivan's "H.M.S. Pinafore Overture" of half a century earlier. Leigh's brief "Harpsichord Concerto" is a brave experiment for the time, even if it is less than successful at integrating the bone-dry antique instrument with the lush sound of modern strings. Nicholas Braithwaite is a dedicated accompanist, and the London Philharmonic and the New Philharmonia deliver wholly polished performances. As in his later recordings for Archiv, Trevor Pinnock is nimble-fingered at the harpsichord. In sum, it's fair to say that if Leigh's music doesn't appeal as recorded here, it won't appeal in any other setting. Lyrita's late stereo recordings are clear, deep, and detailed.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/09/2007
Label: Lyrita
UPC: 5020926028921
catalogNumber: 289
Rank: 160380

Tracks

  1. Agincourt Overture
  2. Concertino for harpsichord (or piano) & string orchestra
  3. Music for string orchestra
  4. A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music: 1. Overture
  5. A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music: 2. Entry of the Mechanicals
  6. A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music: Introduction to Act 2
  7. A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music: 4. Intermezzo
  8. A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music: 5. Introduction to Act 3
  9. A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music: 6. Wedding March
  10. A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music: 7. Bergomask
  11. A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music: 8. Fairies' Dance
  12. A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music: 9. Finale
  13. Overture & Dance from The Frogs: Overture
  14. Overture & Dance from The Frogs: Dance
  15. Jolly Roger Overture

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