David Kechley

Winter Branches


Innova 256


Winter Branches 1987

A Sonata for Cello and Piano

1          Branching Out_ 5:22

2          Crystal Branches_ 6:02

3          Branches in the Wind _3:10

Music for Saxophones 1985

4          Funky Music_ 5:07

5          Funeral Music_ 7:37

6          Fast Music_ 3:32

Sonata for Viola and Piano 1977

7          Buffeto _5:44

8          Ballata_ 5:48

9          Buffero_ 5:03

Voices from the Garden 1993

10        Grooves  •  Dance & Reflection  •

Lament  •  Awakening  •  Driving

            (played without pause)  16:37



Sonata for Viola and Piano

I. Buffetto_  _II. Ballata_  _III. Buffero

“touching funkiness, sophisticated humor and a clear grasp of the viola’s throaty personality” is how Nancy Malitz of the Cincinnati Enquirer described Sonata for Viola and Piano at its 1981 premiere. It is a technical tour d’force for both instruments and clearly the most “expressionist” and gritty of the works featured in this collection.

Buffetto, (a snap of the fingers) is a burlesque which begins with “funky” rhythms later contrasted with a “hard lyricism” in the slow, section reminiscent of the Second Viennese School.

Ballata, (ballad) begins freely with isolated sonorities in the piano as the viola slowly unfolds its melodic line.

Very fast and with a rhythmic feel something like an Italian tarantella, Bufero (tempest) builds towards its final moments as the piano pounds out clusters of notes reaching a

percussive climax only to be answered by a

brief echo.


Voices from the Garden

Voices from the Garden is the second work to be profoundly influenced by visits to Ryoanji, a temple in Kyoto, Japan. In the Dragon’s Garden, for guitar and alto saxophone, was the first of these works to create a musical effect of “precise randomness” similar to the visual impression created by the large stones in the garden at Ryoanji. This effect results from a complex sequence of drone-like picking patterns on the guitar under broad and simple “brush strokes” by the saxophone. The concept is expanded further in Grooves, the opening section of Voices where four guitars play such patterns simultaneously as well as consecutively.

Played without pause, the five movements are easily recognized. The rhythmic complexity of Grooves gives way to an expressive solo in Dance and Reflection. Lament has a mandolin-like quality; Awakening uses percussive sounds; and Driving does just that as it concludes with spectacular rasgueado style strumming.

Voices from the Garden was commissioned by the Minneapolis and North Carolina Guitar Quartets, with additional funding from the Schubert Club and John and Mary Ellen Golden.



David Kechley was born in Seattle, March 16, 1947. Following the example of his composer father, Gerald Kechley, he began writing pieces for various instruments at an early age. While still in high school young Kechley spent a year in Florence, Italy with his family where he heard many twentieth century classics performed at the annual Maggio Musicale. He received music scholarships to attend the University of Washington and the Cleveland Institute of Music where his teachers included Paul Tufts, James Beale, Robert Suderburg, William Bergsma and Donald Erb. Kechley’s work reflects a wide variety of musical experience. He learned his craft during a time when expressionism and serial music were taught on the one hand and the “British invasion” was taking place on the other. As a bassist he has played jazz, pop, orchestral music, opera and musicals, in venues as varied as churches, concert halls, weddings, universities, and night clubs. The visual and spiritual impact of his visits to temples in Kyoto, Japan in 1990 had a

profound influence on his musical thinking.


Since the 1968 premiere of Second Composition for Large Orchestra by the Seattle Symphony, Kechley’s work has been heard throughout North America and beyond. Performances and commissions include those by the Minnesota Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Pops, North Carolina Symphony, Colorado Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Lark Quartet and others. His work has been recognized by prizes and awards including those from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. On the faculty of Williams College since 1986, Kechley lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts with his wife, Jerilee and children, Aaron, Benjamin and Anthea.


Douglas Moore, Professor of Music at Williams College and cellist with The Williams Trio has performed throughout the United States including the 1976 world premiere of the Cello Sonata by Arthur Foote. His edition of the cello/piano music of Foote is published by A-R Editions and has been recorded on the Musical Heritage Society label. Doris Stevenson was described by cellist, Gregor Piatigorsky, as “an artist of the highest order.” She was pianist for Piatigorsky’s

master classes and later collaborated and concertized with this legendary musician. Founding member of the Sitka Summer Music Festival, she has been Artist-in Residence at Williams College since 1986. Frank Bongiorno is an active jazz and classical performer, clinician and author who has appeared extensively in the United States, Europe and Japan. Recordings include the critically acclaimed Classic Saxophone and Classic Saxophone, Vol. 2, Musica da Camera on the Liscio label. Bongiorno has been on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington since 1980. The Empire Saxophone Quartet, founded in 1987, is a unique chamber ensemble based in upstate New York with repertoire ranging from the Renaissance through twentieth century styles including pop, jazz and ragtime. Its members are Steven Mauk, Jamal Rossi, April Lucas and Anthony Alduino. Judith Nelson has been a member of the New York Philharmonic since 1983 and has also been a regular in the Philharmonic Ensembles at New York’s Merkin Hall. Formerly on the faculty at Memphis State University and violist with the Memphis String Quartet, Ms. Nelson holds degrees from the University of Washington and The Julliard School. The North Carolina Guitar Quartet has commissioned new works and transcribed those by Bach, Manuel de Falla, and Terry Riley for performance in a wide range of venues. Robert Nathanson, Ed Stephenson, Elliot Frank and Thomas Foster reside in various North Carolina cities; each has toured extensively as a soloist.



All selections Licensed by ASCAP. Music available from Pine Valley Press, P.O. Box 582, Williamstown, MA 01267

Winter Branches and Sonata for Viola and Piano recorded at Chapin Hall, Williams College; Music for Saxophones recorded at Ford Hall Auditorium, Ithaca College by Charles Speed and edited by Toby Mountain; Voices from the Garden recorded at Osceola Studios by Gardner Reynolds and mixed and edited by Brent Lambert; final mastering by Toby Mountain

Special thanks to Dianne Birr, Frank Bongiorno, Jamal Rossi and especially to Marylin

Cole Dostie and the Buildings and Grounds crew at Williams College

Partial funding support for recording, mixing and mastering provided by Williams College and UNC-Wilmington (Cahill Grant)

Design by Michelle Taverniti; David Kechley photo by Teri Butorac-Lee