Some stories take time to unfold and live their life. Like trees during the winter, they appear to be dormant from an exterior perspective, but continue to write their own chapters.
Chercher Noise, a work for baritone saxophone and live electronic by composer Jimmie Leblanc, is one of those ever-growing, always-developing stories. Composed in 2009, it takes the baritone saxophone to its extreme high harmonics in very soft dynamics, with all of the keys closed. As a result, a warm current of air meets a silvery neon high note, both are sent inside a welcoming reverb. I always imagined the first notes of Chercher Noise as a bubble of dazzling and friendly light immediately followed by a sleepwalker falling from a tightrope, then quickly getting back on as the saxophone swiftly and articulately moves toward the low register.
I premiered this work in 2009, and have never personally heard anybody else play it. That changed last week when Chelsea Shanoff, a saxophone player from Toronto, came to town to work with Jimmie and me. Listening to her play and exchanging ideas about the interpretation of this work felt like watching a branch grow on a tree. Different performer, different sound, different breath . . . a different life for Chercher Noise. A privileged and exciting moment!