LEONARD SALZEDO, 1921-2000
JENNIFER PAULL marks the second anniversary
on 6 May 2002 of the composer's death
Let proportion be found not only in numbers and measures, but also
in sounds, weights, times, and positions, and what ever force there is.
- Leonardo Da Vinci, painter, engineer, musician, and scientist
If one had to find a way of describing Leonard Salzedo's music,
it would be difficult to find words more ideally suited to the syncopated
rhythms and feeling for movement and dance which permeate all of Leonard
Salzedo's oeuvre. The proportions and placing of his structures
were symmetric, syncopated and driven by an inner pull against gravity.
His music invades one's memory by all of these qualities, by haunting
melody and imaginative colourings; but most of all, because it is so good.
On what would have been his 80th birthday on 23 September 2001, a Commemorative
Concert of his works took place at the Purcell Room, London. In the programme,
Richard Sandland of The Fine Brass Ensemble wrote the accompanying
note for the Toccata for Brass Quintet Op 109:
'At the première, I remembered Leonard, white wine in hand, being
very happy with the piece. He said that he had worked out the number of
combinations of polyrhythms possible across five instruments in a 9/8 bar
(the piece is wholly in 9/8); his only concern was that he had only used
about 75 percent of those combinations, and felt that he could have got
the other 25 percent in somewhere.'
Whether Leonard was deliberately writing for dance, as had been his career's
leitmotiv, or not, his music made one move, made movement inevitable,
and clever construction its counterbalancing support.
I have been playing Leonard Salzedo's music for over thirty years.
He wrote six pieces for me, and arranged another. Whenever I am working
on one, I can simply never get it out of my head -- or my feet!
I am convinced that Leonard Salzedo's rightful place will become
more and more evident with retrospection. His Ballet Witch Boy has
been performed over one thousand times in more than thirty countries. The
list of his successes is long. The man himself was simple, modest and charming.
His music seemed as full of inner tension and explosions as he appeared
collected and calm.
This was a musicians' musician, a wonderful friend, and the kindest
Thank you, Leonard!
Copyright © 6 May 2002
Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland
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