This is what makes Leighton's settings so oddly brilliant, so highly charged. He is not content to leave the words as they are, to let them speak for themselves. Instead, he will disrupt the natural rhythm of a line, jolting it with his syncopation, bending syllables in extended melismas. There is an unsettling way in which he subjects even the most familiar words of the Anglican liturgy to ceaseless scrutiny by showing them in different aspects, where a melisma or a rhythmic accent voices a phrase in a new of forgotten way. By summoning up a swirling storm of music, Leighton demands that we look and listen to the words with greater attention, to examine them more closely.
Ted Tregear, liner notes to Crucifixus, sung by the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, Stephen Layton directing.
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