Steve Lehman: Lenwood & Other Saints Who Roam the Earth (2011)
Lenwood & Other Saints Who Roam The Earth was commissioned by ICE for the 2011 Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. ICE's specific proposal was that I compose a short piece for two flutes, informed in some way by Mozart's Magic Flute. I began working on the piece by revisiting Mozart's opera in addition to my own personal "flute pantheon" which includes flautists like Gary Thomas, Henry Threadgill, James Spaulding, James Newton and Severino Gazzelloni and composers Claude Debussy, Tristan Murail and Brian Ferneyhough. In the end, revisiting The Magic Flute led me to reflect upon the nature of mysticism in my music. And this, in turn, caused me to think about spirituality and music. For that reason, I composed Lenwood in four separate movements and dedicated each section of the piece to a musician who I consider to be a kind of musical saint. Musicians like Ed Blackwell and Henry Threadgill contribute so much to the world around them. And when I think deeply about the nature of music and spirituality, I can't help but reflect on the lives of musicians like Jackie McLean and Betty Carter who gave us so many extraordinary gifts during their time on the planet — saints who were in our midst.