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Works Of Art / Wayne Leechford

Release Date: 02/14/2012 
Label:  Leechford Entertainment   Catalog #: 5637900860   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Elizabeth RaumAdrienne AlbertLanette LindJ. Mark Scearce,   ... 
Performer:  Wayne LeechfordLanette LindCasey PerleyScott Pollard
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 55 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

WORKS OF ART Wayne Leechford (bar sax); et al. LECD 1270 (54:49)

RAUM Chagallian Scenes. ALBERT Poetry. LIND Dali’s Dream. SCEARCE Rumble Strip. FAITH Highland Sketches. MASSELLA Read more class="ARIAL12bi">The Infernal Path

Wayne Leechford, adjunct professor of saxophone at North Carolina State University, commissioned these six pieces, each of which was inspired by works of art, visual or literary, with the exception of J. Mark Scearce’s Rumble Strip , a musical representation of an unprepossessing element of highway design. Written for baritone sax and marimba, the piece, naturally enough, “moves,” propelled by repeated patterns, running passages suggestive of the strip’s tiny bumps, and the sort of jazzy syncopations that are sometimes heard in animated film credits. The stark piano chords and darkly twisting saxophone melody that begin Thomas Massella’s The Infernal Path , “loosely based on several of Gustave Doré’s illustrations” for Dante’s Inferno [Massella], create a menacing aura appropriate for an anxiety-fraught journey. At times I am reminded of one of Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitive , although this music isn’t especially Russian. The composer assigns a few lyrical moments to the baritone’s lighter, higher register, but overall the piece emphasizes the instrument’s force and, in this context, malevolence.

Lanette Lind’s Dali’s Dream melds gentle lyricism to wavelike motion; I hear it as a slightly surreal barcarolle, an impression enhanced by the atmospheric rise and fall of the piano accompaniment. Adrienne Albert, whose Poetry —pun surely intended—paraphrases Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee , felt that “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.” I don’t know if Albert was consciously alluding to the harp’s historical associations with bards and ballads, but in combination with the sentimental melody it strongly suggests a folk song, something along the lines of Barbara Allen , perhaps? Raum’s Chagallian Scenes embraces jaunty urbanity in “Promenade,” full-blown klezmerisms or cantorial melismas in “Wandering Jew,” floating melodiousness in “Above the Town,” and a rhythmically varied, Yiddish-inflected “I and the Village.” Parts of this last movement could double as music for the silent screen, what with its tremolos and suspenseful harmonies.

Richard Faith’s Highland Sketches definitely exudes a Scottish flavor without relying on any well-known tunes to set the scene, perhaps because, in his words, “much of my music is based on modal scales of ancient times.” Plaintive, nostalgic, or wistful in the first two vignettes, the triptych ends with a lively dance that, while not quite a highland fling, is enjoyably extroverted. Besides painting a picture of Scottish landscapes or culture, Faith also kept two William Butler Yeats poems in mind, The Wind Blows Out the Gates of Day and The Song of the Wandering Aengus.

Wayne Leechford is a technically assured saxophonist who plays with a warm and full-bodied tone. He and his musically astute colleagues apply a keen sensitivity to mood and detail, thereby highlighting the individual qualities of each piece. Saxophonists on the lookout for interesting repertoire should have a listen, but the disc should also appeal to anyone who’s curious to hear a baritone saxophone in classical music.

FANFARE: Robert Schulslaper
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Works on This Recording

Chagallian Scenes, for saxophone & piano by Elizabeth Raum
Performer:  Wayne Leechford (Baritone Saxophone), Lanette Lind (Piano)
Date of Recording: 07/2011-12/2011 
Venue:  Pure Sound Studio, Durham, NC 
Length: 16 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Poetry, for saxophone & harp by Adrienne Albert
Performer:  Wayne Leechford (), Casey Perley (Harp)
Date of Recording: 07/2011-12/2011 
Venue:  Pure Sound Studio, Durham, NC 
Length: 8 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Dali's Dream, for saxophone & piano by Lanette Lind
Performer:  Wayne Leechford (), Lanette Lind (Piano)
Date of Recording: 07/2011-12/2011 
Venue:  Pure Sound Studio, Durham, NC 
Length: 6 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Rumble Strip, for saxophone & marimba by J. Mark Scearce
Performer:  Scott Pollard (Marimba), Wayne Leechford ()
Date of Recording: 07/2011-12/2011 
Venue:  Pure Sound Studio, Durham, NC 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Highland Sketches, for saxophone & piano by Richard Faith
Performer:  Wayne Leechford (), Lanette Lind (Piano)
Date of Recording: 07/2011-12/2011 
Venue:  Pure Sound Studio, Durham, NC 
Length: 7 Minutes 12 Secs. 
The Infernal Path, for saxophone & piano by Thomas Massella
Performer:  Wayne Leechford (), Lanette Lind (Piano)
Date of Recording: 07/2011-12/2011 
Venue:  Pure Sound Studio, Durham, NC 
Length: 9 Minutes 8 Secs. 

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