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Letters from Kenneth Leighton to Neil Mackie

 Fonds — Box: CLX-A-760
Identifier: Coll-2078

Content Description

This fonds contains three letters (two originals, one copy) sent from Kenneth Leighton to Scottish tenor Neil Mackie in 1986 and 1987, relating to Leighton's composition "Earth, Sweet Earth" performed the first time by Neil Mackie in 1987.

  1. Letter dated 25 June 1986, in which Leighton informs Mackie that ""Earth Sweet Earth" is now finished" and that "[he is] sending [him] a copy of the text". He goes on to say that "the piano part is of great importance because Hopkins' poetry is so many-levelled and so concentrated in meaning". He concludes by saying that he's "still open-minded about a première - but what about a BBC Birmingham public recital-broadcast?".
  2. Letter dated 29 July 1986, in which Leighton expresses his joy that Mackie liked his "Earth Sweet Earth" composition.
  3. Letter dated 14 July 1987 (copy of original), in which Leighton thanks and praises Mackie for his performance of "Earth Sweet Earth": "the recital was quite superb, and I can tell that I have rarely been so thrilled or so moved by the first performance of a work of mine. ... John's interpretation of the piano part was also quite remarkable for its understanding of the inner nuances of the music, its harmonic subtleties and overall shape." He then regrets that the critics ignored the recital: "as for the critics, I have been greatly depressed by the fact that they didn't even turn up to hear the performance..."


  • Creation: 1986-1987


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact the repository in advance.


3 letters (1 folder)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Neil Mackie in September 2021. Accession no. SC-Acc-2021-0071.

Related Materials

Heritage Collections, University of Edinburgh also hold the Kenneth Leighton Archive (Coll-1144).

Processing Information

Catalogued by Aline Brodin in February 2023.

Letters from Kenneth Leighton to Neil Mackie, 1986-1987
Aline brodin
23 February 2023
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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