Soprano Summit

Paul Cohen soprano saxophone
Allison Brewster Franzetti piano
Lois Anderson piano
Kathleen Nester piccolo

Amanda Harberg composer
John David Lamb composer
Percy Grainger composer
Rodney Rogers composer
Robert Sibbing composer
Jeff Scott composer
Carlos Franzetti composer

Release Date: January 28, 2022
Catalog #: RR8062
Format: Digital & Physical
20th Century
21st Century
Chamber
Solo Instrumental
Flute
Piano
Saxophone

Ravello Records presents SOPRANO SUMMIT from revered saxophonist Paul Cohen. Alongside his work as a performer, Cohen is known for his passionate scholarship, rediscovering long-forgotten saxophone works as well as arranging related music for the instrument. In this, his latest contribution, Cohen presents an album of music for the soprano saxophone in chamber and solo settings. The range and diversity of the soprano saxophone is stunning, from Cohen’s arrangement of Percy Grainger’s Arrival Platform Humlet (solo soprano saxophone) to Amanda Harberg’s first piece for saxophone, Feathers and Sax, (soprano saxophone and piano) and Jeff Scott’s new work The Gift of Life (piccolo, soprano/alto saxophone and piano). SOPRANO SUMMIT is both a celebration of the soprano saxophone as a concert instrument and a revelation of new, lost, revived, and beloved works.

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"Those who are looking for some very accessible and engaging works for saxophone will find a great deal to revel in here."

Cinemusical

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Feathers and Sax Amanda Harberg Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 6:40
02 Sonata: andante - animato - andante John David Lamb Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Lois Anderson, piano 5:29
03 Sonata: adagietto John David Lamb Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Lois Anderson, piano 5:33
04 Sonata: scherzo John David Lamb Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Lois Anderson, piano 5:01
05 Arrival Platform Humlet Percy Grainger arr. Paul Cohen Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone 2:54
06 Lessons of the Sky Rodney Rogers Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 8:41
07 Sonata: allegro moderato Robert Sibbing Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 4:59
08 Sonata: andante Robert Sibbing Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 4:48
09 Sonata: allegro scherzando Robert Sibbing Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 3:16
10 The Gift of Life: Overture Jeff Scott Kathleen Nester, piccolo; Paul Cohen, soprano and alto saxophones; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 3:02
11 The Gift of Life: Tragedy and Ascent Jeff Scott Kathleen Nester, piccolo; Paul Cohen, soprano and alto saxophones; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 3:24
12 The Gift of Life: Celebration of Life Jeff Scott Kathleen Nester, piccolo; Paul Cohen, soprano and alto saxophones; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 3:40
13 Serenata Carlos Franzetti Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 4:36

TRACK 1 AND 5-13
Recorded 2020-21 at Trading 8’s Studio in Maywood NJ
Recording Engineer & Editing Chris Sulit

TRACKS 2-4
Recorded 1989 at The Town Hall in New York NY
Mastering Shaun Michaud

PUBLISHERS
Harberg — Presser
Lamb, Grainger, Sibbing, Scott — To the Fore Publishers, totheforepublishers.com
Rogers — Dorn Publications

EQUIPMENT
Soprano Saxophone
Rampone (curved 2018) Tracks 1, 5-13
Buescher (curved, 1924) Tracks 2-4
D’Addario Reserve reeds, #3.5
Caravan soprano mouthpiece

Alto Saxophone
Selmer Mark VI, D’Addario Reserve reeds #3.5
Caravan large chamber alto mouthpiece

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Aidan Curran
Content Manager Sara Warner

Artist Information

Paul Cohen

Saxophonist

Dr. Paul Cohen is one of America’s most sought-after saxophonists for orchestral and chamber concerts and solo recitals. He has appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Richmond Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Charleston Symphony, and Philharmonia Virtuosi. His many solo orchestra performances include works by Debussy, Creston, Ibert, Glazunov, Martin, Loeffler, Husa, Dahl, Still, Villa-Lobos, Tomasi, and Cowell.

Learn More
Amanda Harberg

Amanda Harberg

Composer

Amanda Harberg is a dynamic, expressive composer and pianist whose work communicates on emotional, spiritual, and intellectual levels. Harberg weaves her deep admiration for the classical tradition together with contemporary influences to create a distinctively personal style. Her music has been presented at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Verizon Hall, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Bargemusic, and has been described by The New York Times as “a sultry excursion into lyricism.”

Harberg’s music is published by Presser and has been recognized by a Fulbright Hays fellowship, the Juilliard School’s Peter Mennin prize, two New Jersey Council on the Arts Fellowships, a New York State Council on the Arts fellowship, and a MacDowell Colony residency. Her commissions include the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, the New World Symphony, the Albany Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Juilliard School, the Bay Atlantic Symphony, the New York Youth Symphony’s First Music Program, the Harmonium Choral Society, and instrumental soloists worldwide. Dr. Harberg teaches at Rutgers University and at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

For more info, please go to amandaharberg.com

John David Lamb

John David Lamb

Composer

John David Lamb was born in Portland OR in 1935 and raised in Yakima WA. He received a bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State in 1956 and a master’s in composition and conducting in 1958 from the University of Washington. In addition to a Ford Foundation/MENC composer‑in‑residence grant, Lamb has several times traveled to Sweden for intensive studies in ethnic Swedish music.

The Kronos string quartet recorded a work by Lamb for Swedish bagpipe and string quartet. Follies for baritone and piano, has been recorded on the Saxophone Project, an album of saxophone works by Lamb. His other works for saxophone include a Nocturne for alto saxophone and band, Des Knaben Wunderhorn for saxophone ensemble and male voices, Barefoot Dances for two alto saxophones, Three Antique Dances for solo alto, Madrigal for soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones, Cenotaph, a symphony for large saxophone ensemble and percussion, Affirmations for SATB saxophone quartet, and Fables for alto saxophone and piano.

“Saxophone music has run through my compositional output like a red thread ever since I first heard the concert saxophonist Sigurd Rascher in 1960. Over the years, with his constant coaxing and support, I produced a dozen works for saxophone ranging from a small suite to a full‑blown symphony for large saxophone ensemble and percussion.”

Percy Grainger

Percy Grainger

Composer

Percy Grainger’s relationship with the saxophone was both joyous and far-reaching. He included the saxophone — sometimes singly, other times within a complete family — in many of his orchestral, chamber, band and solo works. Grainger was convinced of the ideal musical qualities of the saxophone from his very first encounter with the instrument.

In a 1943 circular letter to his friends, he reminisced:

Around 1904, Balfour Gardiner & I heard our first sax-reed (a tenor) near Frome, Somerset. A man in a country band played one to us. And I knew then & there that I was hearing the world’s finest wind-tone-tool — the most voice-like, the most mankind-typed.

His enthusiasm was such that he owned both a soprano and a baritone, and he enlisted in a World War I armed forces band playing the soprano saxophone! His extensive public writing about the saxophone was effusive in praise, extolling its virtues to the highest degree.

A typical example comes from the preface to Lincolnshire Posy, in which Grainger asserts: “…to my ears the saxophone is the most expressive of all wind instruments — the one closest to the human voice. And surely all musical instruments should be rated according to their tonal closeness to man’s own voice!…”

Rodney Rogers

Rodney Rogers

Composer

Rodney Rogers is one of a new generation of composers who draws on past musical traditions to create a unique and expressive compositional style. Cast in a late 20th century “Modern Impressionism,” Rogers combines traditional classical forms with elements of New Age, Minimalism, Jazz, and Folk music, creating an impressionistic work flowing with images. In Lessons of the Sky, atmospheric moods and sustained textures are contrasted with provocative rhythms and haunting lyricism, all cast into one multi-sectioned work.

The constantly shifting dialogue between the soprano saxophone and piano eventually blossoms into a kaleidoscopic celebration of sound, invention, and imagery. — Paul Cohen

Rodney Rogers writes primarily chamber music, along with works for orchestra, wind ensemble, and choral music. An album of his compositions, Complicated Optimism, is available on Albany Records and Apple Music. Other albums that feature his music include: The Light Wraps You, Facades, Child’s Play, Duo Vivo, and AngloSax.

Rogers’s awards include an NEA Consortium Commission, residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo Artist Colony, “Distinguished Composer of the Year” from the Music Teachers National Association for his composition “Riffing in Tandem,” the ASCAP Foundation Grant for Young Composers (First Prize), three BMI Awards, and a composition fellowship to Tanglewood.

His works have received performances with the American Composers Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, Juilliard Brass Quintet, New York New Music Ensemble, the Omega Quartet (New York City), Richmond Sinfonia, St. Louis Symphony Chamber Players, Gregg Smith Singers, Tucson Symphony, and numerous university ensembles. Five works have been premiered in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. Select compositions are published by Associated Music Publishers (G. Schirmer) and Hal Leonard.

Robert Sibbing

Composer

Robert Sibbing (1929 – 2017), was a saxophonist and composer from Illinois who taught for many years at Western Illinois University in Macomb IL. In addition to teaching saxophone, he directed the Jazz Ensemble and was active as a composer and conductor. His other works for saxophone include Moments (alto saxophone, bassoon, tuba or bass), Pastiche (alto saxophone and horn), Prairie Flower Portraits (alto saxophone and viola or violin), Four Places on the Prairie (alto saxophone and bassoon), Pastiche #2 (clarinet, alto saxophone, bassoon, percussion) and Three Pieces (alto saxophone and organ).

In 1972, Sibbing established the Illinois Saxophone Quintet. As the soprano saxophonist in the Quintet, he performed and toured throughout the United States and internationally. The Quintet performed and recorded many of Sibbing’s arrangements.

Jeff Scott

Jeff Scott

Composer

A native of Queens NY, Jeff Scott started the French horn at age 14. He received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and SUNY at Stony Brook. Scott has enjoyed a performance career as an orchestral, chamber, and studio musician, performing with Ballet and Opera companies, Broadway shows, as well as touring and recording with various artists for film, classical music, pop music, and jazz.

Scott’s composing credits include published original works for symphonic and chamber orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, and solo works for winds, brass, strings, and voice. In 2021, Scott, a founding member of the internationally acclaimed wind quintet Imani Winds, retired after 24 groundbreaking years of touring, recording, and education. The quintet was honored with a permanent installation at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History in 2017. Scott was recently appointed Associate Professor of Horn at Oberlin College and Conservatory. He now lives in Oberlin OH with his wife, Joyce Assis and their son, Davi.

Carlos Franzetti

Carlos Franzetti

Composer

A native of Queens NY, Jeff Scott started the French hoFrom symphonies to big band jazz, chamber works to Latin American music and film scores – Carlos Franzetti has no limits. Winner of a Grammy Award in 2015, he has also won five Latin Grammy Awards for Best Tango Album, Best Classical Composition, and Best Instrumental Album. Carlos Franzetti has been the recipient of grants and awards, including the New Jersey Council on the Arts Composers’ Fellowship, The Yamaha Composers Award, The Trofeu Laus from Spain, a Clio Award, The Prensario Award, Premio Konex from Argentina, The Foundation for New American Music, several grants from Meet the Composer, and two gold records.

A citizen of the United States for many years, Carlos Franzetti was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1948. He frequently collaborates on musical projects with his wife, concert pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti, who is featured on this album.rn at age 14. He received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and SUNY at Stony Brook. Scott has enjoyed a performance career as an orchestral, chamber, and studio musician, performing with Ballet and Opera companies, Broadway shows, as well as touring and recording with various artists for film, classical music, pop music, and jazz.

Allison Brewster Franzetti

Allison Brewster Franzetti

Pianist

Multiple GRAMMY Nominee and Latin GRAMMY Nominee, pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti is known for her stunning virtuosity and musicality. Performances include the televised Latin GRAMMY Awards, the GRAMMY Awards Classical Music Tribute to Earl Wild and Lang Lang, and the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. She has been a guest soloist with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Queens Symphony Orchestra, Long Island Philharmonic, English Sinfonia, City of Prague Philharmonic, Denver Symphony, Colonial Symphony, European Women’s Orchestra, and the Montclair Orchestra.

She played the world premiere of “Piano Concerto No. 2” by Carlos Franzetti with the Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires, the European premiere with the Janáček Philharmonic, and the U.S. premiere with the Queens Symphony Orchestra. Solo recitals include debuts at Merkin Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, and tours throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Argentina. As accompanist and chamber musician, Franzetti has collaborated with composers and directors worldwide, including Sir James Galway, John Corigliano, Stephen Paulus, Lowell Liebermann, Robert Aldridge, Victoria Bond, David Maslanka, Carlos Franzetti, Paquito D’Rivera, Ruben Blades, Benny Goodman, Julius Baker, Ransom Wilson, Eugenia Zukerman, and Robert White. Franzetti holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, and Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She joined the faculty of the InterHarmony International Music Festival in 2019.

Kathleen Nester

Kathleen Nester

Piccolo

Kathleen Nester is Solo Piccolo/Assistant Principal Flute of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and also plays flute in the Stamford Symphony Orchestra in Connecticut. Nester is a highly sought-after freelance artist in the NYC metropolitan area and has performed with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Opera, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Mostly Mozart, Lincoln Center, Caramoor, and Bravo! Vail Music Festivals.

She has been featured as a concerto soloist on flute, piccolo, and recorder with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Stamford Symphony Orchestra, and on tours of Japan with The New York Symphonic Ensemble.

Nester has also been the solo flutist for several Broadway productions, including the revivals of Man of La Mancha and Evita, as well as An American in Paris and Sunset Boulevard. She can be heard on flute, piccolo, alto flute, and bass flute on many motion picture soundtracks including Julie and Julia, The Alamo, Tower Heist, and The Joker. Nester maintains a private teaching studio in New York City, coaches the Greater Newark Youth Orchestra, and is a member of the adjunct flute faculty at New York University.

Lois Anderson

Lois Anderson

Pianist

Pianist Lois Anderson has performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, played orchestral keyboards with Orchestra New England and New Jersey Symphony, and worked with singers of the National Chorale and Lake George Opera Festival in concerts and tours. She has performed with the Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Manhattan Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, and premiers involving piano with Gamelan Son of Lion.

Notes

Feathers and Wax is a soaring and playful showpiece originally for flute and piano that was inspired by the Greek myth of Icarus. Through virtuoso writing with occasional jazz influences, Feathers depicts the brash, young Icarus reveling in the thrill of flight. Feathers and Wax was awarded a National Flute Association Newly Published Music award in 2016. In 2019, I created the soprano saxophone version, now titled Feathers and Sax, at the suggestion of Paul Cohen, who gives the premiere recording here, along with pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti.

— Amanda Harberg

The Sonata for Soprano Saxophone and Piano first appeared in 1961 as a modest sonatina written for Carina Rascher. Twenty‑five years passed before I heard it performed, and by then it was obvious to me that the material had potential which I had not fully realized. Major revisions took place in the late 1980s; and through the patient encouragement of Paul Cohen, the sonatina matured into a new, full‑grown sonata retaining little more than the basic thematic material from the earlier version (though the original light‑hearted and occasionally sassy mood still prevails).

— John David Lamb

Arrival Platform Humlet was originally written for solo viola (middle-fiddle single), but Grainger also conceived solo versions for oboe and sarrusophone. It seems more than fitting that a saxophone version be included as part of his reed relationships.

This is more than just a jaunty tune, but a kaleidoscope of thoughts, feelings, and expressions felt while waiting for one’s loved one to arrive by train. There are constantly changing musical ideas with sudden contrasts that contribute to a surprising depth and complexity. Arrival Platform Humlet is an unusually expressive narrative that creates a swirling emotional atmosphere; brilliantly and seemingly spontaneously expressed.

— Paul Cohen

The title Lessons of the Sky comes from the essay The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (found in a collection of essays under the same title). Here, the sky represents that which is open, alive and infinite. “Lessons” suggests the knowledge gained through observation of the world around and above us—the endlessly varied designs that nature provides as building blocks for life. The music is based on short motives and chord progressions that are continually varied and juxtaposed.

The interplay between the soprano saxophone and piano is an important aspect of the piece. The two instruments tend to share ideas, tossing motives back and forth in an improvised manner with occasional lyrical solos for the soprano and gentle motion-filled solos for the piano. The piece closes with a return of the fast music, ending with a brilliance of affirmation.

— Rodney Rogers

I met Robert Sibbing at a saxophone conference in the early 1970s, soon after he had written his soprano saxophone sonata. This was an especially difficult time for him as he had recently lost two of his children in an automobile accident. His sense of melancholy was apparent, and one can hear in this sonata — written during this time — aspects of coming to terms with this tragedy.

The first movement weaves in and out of poignance, nostalgia, anger, and resolution. Set in a neo-Romantic style, it pulls, tugs, and pushes the listener in ways that are both moving and revealing. The second movement is a beautiful aria, full of tenderness and longing, a sweet-tinged remembrance. The third movement is a dance-like release; a final and necessary cathartic step. It is a spirited scherzo, filled with lightness, humor, and affirmation. There is a momentary return to earlier sentiments with a brief interpolation of a soaring melody from a previous movement, but the scherzo quickly resumes with a festive and brilliant ending of encouragement and good cheer.

— Paul Cohen

Originally written for piccolo and saxophone quartet, The Gift of Life was commissioned for me by flutist Helene Rosenblat in memory of Ingrid Werth. Ingrid was a vivacious 15-year-old flutist and former student of Helene who died in an automobile accident in Austria in 1975 just before starting her studies at the Vienna Conservatory. The music reflects on Ingrid’s life, from boundless youthful energy to devastating loss and the ascendence of the spirit; to the celebration of life and how everyone was uplifted by her presence.

The Gift of Life, for piccolo and saxophone quartet, quickly became one of my favorite compositions, and my quartet has twice recorded it in American and European releases.

During the recent pandemic, We are Trio! my flute, saxophone and piano ensemble, sought to reimagine repertoire to reach a virtual audience with music of singular vitality and personal connection. It was only natural to suggest that we create a trio version of The Gift of Life. Jeff Scott shared my enthusiasm and is excited by our trio adaptation.

— Paul Cohen

Serenata was originally composed for clarinet and piano in 1989 for Paquito D’Rivera. It has since evolved into various arrangements, including orchestral, chamber, and piano solo. In many ways it is a piece in variation form, and is an homage to the dance rhythms of Latin America, incorporating elements of milonga, chorinho, and danzon. It is also highly contrapuntal, dictating the rhythmic aspects and tempo of this piece, which subdivides into familiar dance-like rhythms. This version for soprano saxophone and piano was written for Paul and Allison in 2019.

— Carlos Franzetti