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Wayne Leechford – baritone saxophone
Lanette Lind – piano
Casey Perley – harp
Scott Pollard – marimba

©2012 Leechford Entertainment LLC

Executive Producers: TONY MORRIS & VINCENT MOSS
Engineering & Mixing: JASON RICHMOND @ Sound Pure, Durham, NC, July-December 2011
Mastering: BRENT LAMBERT @ The Kitchen, Carrboro, NC
Design & Art Direction: DANIEL GALLANT
Photography: STEVE SHELTON


About the CD

The baritone saxophone is the “underdog” of the saxophone family. I chose this instrument because of its rich sound, power, and low register. Unfortunately, as a classical musician, I have had very little solo repertoire to play. As a baritone saxophone major at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, I was forced to play transcriptions of music for bassoon, cello, and bass clarinet. Very little quality classical music has been written for, as it is lovingly called, the bari sax. I was inspired by my former teacher, James Houlik, to commission composers of classical music to write for my instrument. He personally has commissioned over 80 new works for his instrument, the tenor saxophone. I commissioned six composers from the US and Canada to write new solo chamber works for the baritone sax. Lanette Lind, Richard Faith, J. Mark Scearce, Thomas Massella, Adrienne Albert, and Elizabeth Raum.

Program Notes by the Composers

Chagallian Scenes – Elizabeth Raum
Just as Marc Chagall mixed landscapes, characters, and creatures into a surreal concoction in his paintings; Chagallian Scenes does so in music. So we might start with a march only to dissolve into a waltz with flashes of dissonance morphing into cacophony, or we might settle comfortably into a key when suddenly it veers into an unrelated other. The movements are named after the pictures that inspired them. The first movement, Prominade, or Der Spaziergang, opens with cheery walking music appropriate for a man and his lovely lady out for a stroll. But the mood soon edges into whole tone surrealism reflecting that the pink frocked lady is floating, held down to earth only by the grasp of her companion. The music for The Wandering Jew is influenced by the diverse dwellings of the Jewish diaspora, ranging from the Moorish influence of the Andalusia to the Klezmer of New York. The third movement, Au Dessus de la Ville (Over the town) has drifting rhythm, like the drifting figures over the town. The scene is dreamy and surrealistic with the music moving in and out of sync. I and the Village, considered Chagall’s most famous painting, cuts from one scene to another as if remembering a lifetime. The man with the scythe trudges along throughout, listening to the sounds of the village: a goat bleating, a Klezmer violinist, the bells of the Russian Orthodox Church… it is a tapestry of joy and tragedy, hard labor and festive dance. elizabethraum.com

Poetry – Adrienne Albert
The combination of baritone saxophone and harp started as a challenging endeavor when first thinking about writing for this instrumentation. Commissioned by Wayne Leechford, POETRY for Baritone Saxophone and Harp began as I was reading the poems of Edgar Allan Poe, specifically the marvelous poem, “Annabel Lee”. The cadence of the words seemed to work well as a musical line, and the baritone sound of the saxophone spoke to the darkness and depth of love and despair of the poetry. Combining the textures of the saxophone and harp was a challenge that delighted me as I pondered these two distinct textural sounds. The work begins with the harp evocative of the love and the sea so eloquently described in Poe’s writing.  The saxophone is the lover despairing of losing his love, the beautiful Annabel Lee. adriennealbert.com

Dali’s Dream – Lanette Lind
When Wayne asked me to write a piece for baritone saxophone, I asked him to slowly play a chromatic scale. As I listened to him play each note of the instrument, I was struck by its beautiful, rich tone. I knew then that I wanted to write a piece that would emphasize the singing tone of the baritone sax. As a composer, I usually feel that I am in control, that I am deciding the structure, the form. But, Dali’s Dream was composed in that space between thoughts, that quiet place where each note knows what the next one should be and leads the composer. lanettelind.com

Rumble Strip – J. Mark Scearce
Rumble Strip was commissioned by Wayne Leechford. Its title is taken from those milled parallel road safety features that alert inattentive drivers to potential dangers through tactile vibration and audible rumbling. For a piece for bari sax and marimba, the title was all the inspiration needed. jmarkscearce.com

Highland Sketches – Richard Faith
Highland Sketches were composed for Wayne Leechford and Lanette Lind. Sketch No. 1 is a three part (ABA) form. A opens with a melody which seems to explore earth and sky before proceeding to B. Here, plaintive melodic fragments are shared by both instruments. The B material is developed in succeeding sections making it the dominant section in length of time. A returns, but is not really dominated by B. Because of its spacious and aspiring optimism – with however, a few rather distant, ominous drums, I believe it succeeds in counterbalancing A. Sketch No. 2 was inspired by William Butler Yeats’ poem “The Wind Blows Out of the Gates of Day”. Much of my music is based on modal scales of ancient times. This seems to fit in well with my attempt to portray in musical terms the Gaelic culture in Ireland. Sketch No. 3 is a happy dance throughout its short life. I was again indebted to Yeats. It was inspired by his poem, “The Song of the Wandering Aengus”. richardfaithmusic.com

The Infernal Path – Thomas Massella
Gustave Doré (1832 – 1883) was a French artist, illustrator, engraver and sculptor. His first illustrated story appeared at the age of fifteen. Subsequently, he won commissions depicting the works of Balzac, Milton and Dante. Doré drew 70 illustrations of Dante’s Inferno. The Inferno tells the story of the poet Dante guided by the Roman poet Virgil, and their journey through the medieval concept of Hell. The Infernal Path is loosely based on several of Doré’s illustrations. The piece begins with the drawing entitled “Abandon all hope, ye who enter.” Other illustrations used in the piece were “The Frozen Souls,”  “Count Ugolino,” “Flaming Spirits of Evil Counselors,” ”The Violent, Tortured in the Rain of Fire,” and “The Titans.” The work concludes with a driving, thunderous piano intro for “The Hurricane of Souls.” thomasmassella.com