Excerpts from a sound installation based on alto saxophone recordings and electronic sound. “Mr. Leonard creates a haunting, rhythmic, chantlike score, secular spiritual music for a New World. After leaving the gallery I kept hearing it, with delight, in my head, on the street, all afternoon.” –Holland Cotter, The New York Times.
The electroacoustic composition Sonance for the Precession was commissioned by Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA). The piece furthers Leonard’s practice in large scale sound installation, with recent commissions by documenta, Venice Biennale, and Fujiko Nakaya of Experiments in Art at Technology. The original composition, created for the quad adjacent to WCMA, played from the dome of the historic Hopkins Observatory, the oldest working astronomical observatory in the United States. The durational work explored ancient ideas connecting the precession, or movement, of the equinox with the harmonic series. Each day, the music began just a minute or two earlier than the previous day — mirroring the disappearing sunlight as day turned to night and autumn shifted to winter. 30 minutes of the composition played daily. The composition provided a context to reflect on how Hindu and Greek theories of astronomy and acoustics developed through intercultural exchange as far back as prehistoric times. Working closely with WCMA and producer/engineer Joe Branciforte, Leonard remixed Sonance for the Precession specially for LP and stereo listening. The result is a stunning long form composition that brings the sense of contemplation, cosmic motion and intimate timbral nuance of the installation to your living room, headphones and/or car stereo.