Kenneth Leighton’s sacred and liturgical music is widely known, and performed regularly across the UK. The British composer did much to keep alive and transform the Victorian tradition of English choral music, purge its piety and drag it into the (late) twentieth century.
Missa Brevis, which is Latin for "short Mass", usually refers to a mass composition that is short because part of the text of the Mass ordinary that is usually set to music in a full mass is left out, or because its execution time is relatively short. Along with Bernstein, Britten and Kodály, Leighton was one of the composers still writing in this genre in the 20th century.
Missa Brevis was written for the choir of Liverpool Cathedral and was published in 1968. It has become one of the most popular choral settings of the communion service by a contemporary composer, and is regularly heard at cathedrals and churches throughout Britain and America. In this Novello edition the short Mass is arranged for SATB Voices with Piano accompaniment, which is for rehearsal purposes only.