Center Chamber

Chamber Music with Saxophone

Paul Cohen soprano & alto saxophone, connosax

Mario Castelnuova-Tedesco composer
Morton Gould composer
Marc Migró composer
Eric Ewazen composer
Carlos Franzetti composer

Release Date: December 9, 2022
Catalog #: RR8082
Format: Digital
21st Century
Chamber
Flute
Guitar
Saxophone

On CENTER CHAMBER, wind, string, and keyboard instrumentalists come together to perform a collection of original and intimate compositions that include the saxophone — particularly Paul Cohen’s conn-o-sax, a rare and long forgotten instrument given new life in contemporary works. The conn-o-sax brings a dark, contemplative quality and infuses a unique tonal and musical spirit to these often lively, brooding, and captivating works. The engaging and brilliant intimacy of the playing eloquently reveals the unique emotional and musical bonds that tie together these exceptional artists. Listeners will undoubtedly agree: CENTER CHAMBER offers a listening experience as special and engaging as the instrument it features.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Eclogues: Andante quieto Mario Castelnuova-Tedesco Kathleen Nester, flute; Paul Cohen, connosax; Oren Fader, guitar 2:59
02 Eclogues: Allegro con spirito Mario Castelnuova-Tedesco Kathleen Nester, flute; Paul Cohen, connosax; Oren Fader, guitar 2:28
03 Eclogues: Lento Elegiaco Mario Castelnuova-Tedesco Kathleen Nester, flute; Paul Cohen, connosax; Oren Fader, guitar 3:32
04 Eclogues: Allegro vivace con spirito Mario Castelnuova-Tedesco Kathleen Nester, flute; Paul Cohen, connosax; Oren Fader, guitar 2:25
05 Berceuse-Lament Marc Migó Paul Cohen, alto saxophone; Mark Timmerman, bassoon; Anna Keiserman, piano 8:29
06 Pavanne Morton Gould, arr. Paul Cohen Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Manhattan Chamber Orchestra String Quartet | Urara Mogi, Maxim Zheleznyak - violin; Richard Aulden Clark, viola; Peter Prosser, cello 3:12
07 Quintet for Connosax and String Quartet (1989/2006): Allegro ritmico Eric Ewazen Paul Cohen, connosax; Manhattan Chamber Orchestra String Quartet | Urara Mogi, Maxim Zheleznyak - violin; Richard Aulden Clark, viola; Peter Prosser, cello 3:41
08 Quintet for Connosax and String Quartet (1989/2006): Moderato Eric Ewazen Paul Cohen, connosax; Manhattan Chamber Orchestra String Quartet | Urara Mogi, Maxim Zheleznyak - violin; Richard Aulden Clark, viola; Peter Prosser, cello 6:45
09 Quintet for Connosax and String Quartet (1989/2006): Allegro molto Eric Ewazen Paul Cohen, connosax; Manhattan Chamber Orchestra String Quartet | Urara Mogi, Maxim Zheleznyak - violin; Richard Aulden Clark, viola; Peter Prosser, cello 2:52
10 Quintet for Connosax and String Quartet (1989/2006): Fugue Eric Ewazen Paul Cohen, connosax; Manhattan Chamber Orchestra String Quartet | Urara Mogi, Maxim Zheleznyak - violin; Richard Aulden Clark, viola; Peter Prosser, cello 2:49
11 Four Movements for Virtuosi: Palisades Carlos Franzetti Kathleen Nester, flute; Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 8:44
12 Four Movements for Virtuosi: Baya Carlos Franzetti Kathleen Nester, flute; Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 4:19
13 Four Movements for Virtuosi: Melancolico Carlos Franzetti Kathleen Nester, flute; Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 4:21
14 Four Movements for Virtuosi: Finale Carlos Franzetti Kathleen Nester, flute; Paul Cohen, soprano saxophone; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 2:59

Tracks 1-5, 11-14
Recorded 2021-2022 at Sound Imagination in Rahway NJ
Engineer & Mixing Edward B. Kessel

Tracks 6-10
Recorded January 2013 at Caroll’s in New York City NY

Mastering Melanie Montgomery

Producers Allison Brewster Franzetti, Paul Cohen

EQUIPMENT
Soprano Saxophone
Buescher curved, gold plate c. 1925, Caravan Mouthpiece, Daddario 3.5 reeds (Gould)
Rampone curved, gold plate. c. 2018, Mana mouthpiece Daddario 3.5 reeds (Franzetti)

Alto Saxophone
Selmer Mark VI c. 1964, Mana mouthpiece, 3.0+ Daddario reeds

Conn-o-sax
Silver plate with gold bell, c. 1929, Original Conn F mouthpiece.

Executive Producer Bob Lord

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, Morgan Hauber
Publicity Patrick Niland, Aidan Curran

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.

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Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco

Composer

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895 –1968) was a composer, pianist and writer, who was born in Florence, Italy to an Italian Sephardic Jewish family. He became widely known as a composer and teacher during the 1920s and 1930s. But as Fascism and anti-semitism continued to gain influence in Italy, his personal safety was threatened, and his artistic profession curtailed.

By 1938 Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s music was eliminated from radio broadcasts, and live performances were canceled—all prior to the announcement of the official anti-Semitic laws. When Mussolini’s 1938 “Manifesto of Race” was issued by the Mussolini government, the composer and his family left for America. 

Like many artists who fled fascism, Castelnuovo-Tedesco found employment in Hollywood, where, with the help of Jascha Heifetz, he was offered a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a film composer. Over the next 15 years he worked on scores for some 200 films at MGM and the other major film studios. He also wrote concertos for Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky. As a teacher, Castelnuovo-Tedesco had a significant influence on other major film composers, and his pupils included Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Herman Stein and André Previn; as well as Jerry Goldsmith, Marty Paich and John Williams. 

Castelnuovo-Tedesco was known as one of the foremost guitar composers in the 20th century with almost 100 compositions for that instrument alone. Of his abundant creative legacy, the works inspired by his friendship with Andrés Segovia are still well remembered.

Marc Migó

Composer

Marc Migó (b. 1993) studied piano and composition at ESMUC, in his birthplace of Barcelona, Spain. He then moved to New York to attend Juilliard. There, he earned his M.M. and D.M.A., working under the mentorship of John Corigliano. Migó has been a winner of several prestigious awards, including The Pablo Casals Festival, the 2018 Morton Gould Young Composer award, the 2020 George Enescu Prize, and the 2022 Dominick Argento Fellowship for Opera Composition. He has received commissions from such leading institutions and ensembles as UrbanArias, the Dutch National Opera, Liceu Opera House, and the New Juilliard Ensemble. His music is now published by Universal Editions.

Morton Gould

Composer

Morton Gould (1913–1996) was one of the most prominent American composers and conductors of the twentieth century. He was a musical phenomenon equally talented composing for the concert hall as well as for radio, TV, stage, and film. His works have been hailed for their accessibility and are included in the standard repertory of bands and orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. As a conductor he made over 100 recordings and served as guest conductor for many prominent American orchestras. He was the recipient of many awards, including a dozen GRAMMY nominations while winning the Pulitzer Prize and the Kennedy Center Award for lifetime achievement.

Eric Ewazen

Composer

Eric Ewazen (b. 1954) is an American composer who has been the recipient of numerous composition awards and prizes. His works have been commissioned and performed by countless soloists, chamber ensembles, and orchestras both in the United States and overseas. His music is recorded by Summit Records, d’Note Records, CRS Records, New World, Clique Track, Helicon, Hyperion, Cala, Albany, and Emi Classics. His compositions are published by Southern Music Company, International Trombone Association Manuscript Press, Keyboard Publications, Manduca Music, Encore Music, Triplo Music, and Brass Ring Editions. He has been a faculty member at Juilliard since 1980.

Carlos Franzetti

Composer

From symphonies to big band jazz, from 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.  He has been a GRAMMY Nominee for Best Instrumental Arrangement, Best Contemporary Composition, and Best Classical Crossover Album.

Franzetti has received many outstanding 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, ACE Award, Premio Konex from Argentina, The Foundation for New American Music, The Penfield Music Commission Project, several grants from Meet the Composer, and two gold records.

A citizen of the United States for many years, Franzetti was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1948. Biographies of Franzetti are listed in Latin American Classical Composers, Second Edition by Michel Ficher and Furman Schleifer, published by Scarecrow Press, Maryland 2002, The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, published by MacMillan Press Ltd., London 1988, Diccionario de Compositores, published by La Nacion/Corregidor, Buenos Aires 1998, and Chronology of Western Classical Music Volume 2 by Charles J. Hall, published by Rutledge Great Britain Taylor & Francis Books, Inc.

Allison Brewster Franzetti

Piano

A GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY Nominee, pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti has received international acclaim for her virtuosity and musicality. Performances include the GRAMMY Awards Classical Music Tribute to Earl Wild and Lang Lang, Latin GRAMMY Awards live broadcast, and concertos with The Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Janacek Philharmonic, City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, English Sinfonia, European Women’s Orchestra, Queens Symphony Orchestra, and Apex Ensemble.

An accomplished collaborative pianist, she has worked with Sir James Galway, Julius Baker, Ransom Wilson, Eugenia Zukerman, John Corigliano, Stephen Paulus, David Maslanka, Lowell Liebermann, Paquito D’Rivera, and Ruben Blades, amongst others. Recordings are available on Naxos, PARMA, Sono Luminus, Sunnyside, Chesky, and Amapola Records. Brewster Franzetti is the recipient of degrees from Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, and Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.

Kathleen Nester

Flute

Kathleen Nester is Assistant Principal Flute/Piccolo of the New Jersey Symphony. Also a member of Orchestra Lumos in Stamford CT, she is in demand as a freelancer in NYC and has performed with such ensembles as the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, American Ballet Theater, and the New York Philharmonic. She originated the flute book for An American in Paris and has performed in many Broadway Theater productions.

She has recorded with a wide range of artists, including Joshua Bell, Ute Lemper, and Sting. Kathleen can be heard on major motion picture soundtracks, including Julie & Julia, Joker, and Tick Tick Boom. A certified Suzuki flute and Suzuki Recorder teacher, Nester coaches flute and composition for the Youth Orchestra of the New Jersey Symphony and is on the adjunct faculty at NYU.

Mark Timmerman

Bassoon

New Jersey Symphony bassoonist Mark Timmerman is an orchestra and chamber player of great diversity. He has performed with some of the great orchestras of the United States, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, Chicago  Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra. He also performs with the Radio City Orchestra in their holiday series.

Timmerman has appeared in music festivals in Japan, the former Soviet Union, Italy, and Brazil. He has appeared in the Music from Marlboro Festival and has made an appearance on the radio show “Saint Paul Sunday Morning” from American Public Media. He is on the faculty of Mason Gross School of Music at Rutgers.

Anna Keiserman

Piano

Russian-born and New York-based pianist Dr. Anna Keiserman is known for her creative programming, expressive freedom, and singular vision. Performance credits in New York City include Le Poisson Rouge, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and the Fête de La Musique at the invitation of the French-American Piano Society. Other notable venues include the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, the Strand Theater, and the Ateneu Barcelonès.

As a soloist, Keiserman has performed concerti with the Volgograd Symphony Orchestra, University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, and the Somerset Symphony Orchestra. She has toured through Italy, Spain, and Russia. Among Anna’s awards are top prizes in international piano competitions in Russia, as well as second place in the 2019 American Prize Competition. In 2017 Anna received the “Culture and Art Award” from the New Russia Cultural Center in Rensselaer NY for her dedication to promoting arts and culture in the community.

Keiserman is the Assistant Professor of Piano at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) and Artistic Director of the MOZAIKA Concert Series.

Oren Fader

Guitar

Classical and electric guitarist Oren Fader (www.orenfader.com) has performed hundreds of concerts in the United States, Europe, and Asia with a wide range of classical and new music groups, including the Met Chamber Ensemble, New York Philharmonic, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Recent concerto performances include the Aranjuez Concerto with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. A champion of contemporary music, he has premiered over 200 works with guitar, and can be heard on over 50 commercial recordings and film scores. He performs and records new music with mezzo soprano Jessica Bowers as the Bowers-Fader Duo, as well as with the Cygnus Ensemble.

His solo recordings include Another’s Fandango, featuring 500 years of guitar music, and First Flight, a disc of 10 premiere solos written for Fader by New York City composers. Fader has taught classical guitar and chamber music at the Manhattan School of Music since 1994, and also teaches at SUNY Purchase, Borough of Manhattan Community College, and Montclair State University.

The Manhattan Chamber Orchestra

The MCO was founded in 1987 by Richard Auldon Clark who is the conductor and artistic director in addition to being a concert violist. The orchestra is notable for its innovative, multi-cultural repertoire with a special emphasis on contemporary American music. MCO has premiered and recorded music by William Grant Still, Alec Wilder, Victor Herbert, Henry Cowell, Alan Hovhaness, Otto Luening, Randall Thompson, Eric Ewazen, David Amram, and other notable composers. The MCO has recorded over 30 albums for many labels, including Newport Classic, Koch International Classics, Avant, VOX (6), Kleos, and Classics. MCO string quartet is comprised of Urara Mogi, violin; Maxim Zhelezynak, violin; Richard Aulden Clark, viola; and Peter Prosser, cello.

Notes

Ecloghe, Op. 206 (‘Eclogues’) for flute, English horn, and guitar, was written two years before the composer’s death, and is believed to be Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s last completed work. It is an engaging four movement work filled with ebullient joy, poignant melodies and lively dances. The English horn part is played on the connosax.

— Paul Cohen

Completed in Barcelona, Spain, Berceuse— Lament (2022) is dedicated to Paul Cohen and Anna Keiserman. I wanted to write a work with long melodic lines,  possessing — for the most part — the gentle, rocking nature usually attributed to the genre of the berceuse – or lullaby. The elegiac and nostalgic character of the music required by adding the word lament to the title. It is up to each listener to decide whether this lullaby intends to put to sleep a child, a sorrow, or invoke an idealized past that inhabits the realm of our dreams.

— Marc Migó

“Pavanne” is the middle movement from his three movement orchestra work, American Symphonette No. 2 (1938.) Pavanne has enjoyed sustained popularity as a stand-alone work for decades, both in its original and adapted forms. This adaptation, for soprano saxophone and string quartet was arranged by Paul Cohen.

The Quintet for Heckelphone & Strings (1989) was commissioned by l’Amore di Musica and Mark Perchanok and premiered in 1990 with Mark Perchanok as the heckelphone soloist. In 2006, Ewazen attended the National Heckelphone Society meeting in New York City, where I was giving a presentation on the conn-o-sax. There, he heard me perform my conn-o-sax arrangement of Eclogues by Castelnuovo-Tedesco. We immediately struck up a lasting friendship, and he was enthusiastic about my suggestion to create a conn-o-sax version of the Quintet. Soon after he provided me with a new version of the Quintet for conn-o-sax and string quartet. I’ve performed it throughout the New York area, including Carnegie Hall with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra. The conn-o-sax version breathes a special vitality to the Quintet that has brought new attention and interest to this venerable work.

— Paul Cohen

Four Movements for Virtuosi (2005) was originally commissioned by and dedicated to the Palisades Virtuosi. My wife Allison, the pianist on this recording, suggested to Cohen that the clarinet part would sound wonderful on the soprano saxophone. I agreed, and as a result this is the first recording featuring soprano saxophone, flute and piano. The four movements are based on popular music styles from the United States and from Argentina, where I was born and raised. These styles range from Argentine tango, milonga, and the folk idiom chacarera, to American ragtime in the last movement. My intention with this music was to feature each performer, both individually and as an ensemble. 

— Carlos Franzetti

The conn-o-sax is a bold, innovative saxophone created by the Conn Company (Elkhart, Indiana) for a very limited time in 1928. Combining elements of the saxophone, English horn, and heckelphone, Conn attempted to create a new voice for the saxophone. It succeeded brilliantly as a new instrument but failed in the marketplace; we know of only 25 to still exist. Its innovations were numerous; a straight instrument with a pronounced bulb at the bottom, pitched in the key of F (Eb and Bb are traditional for saxophones) and equipped with an extended key range (low A to high G) and a custom mouthpiece. The result is an instrument with a unique timbre, stunning visual appearance and technical versatility visionary for its time. 

Conn introduced and advertised the conn-o-sax with a heavy emphasis on novelty, presumably to woo vaudeville performers. Conn hoped to attract a separate and popular clientele for the conn-o-sax, thus creating an entirely new market for the instrument. Unfortunately, the instrument was not well received at its introduction and the anticipated sales never materialized. Despite heavy advertising and dealer promotion, the conn-o-sax simply did not catch on. Conn had badly miscalculated in a number of ways: the novelty aspect of the horn never gained widespread appeal; vaudeville was dying, and the roaring twenties were drawing to a close. As the economic collapse of the 1929 Depression deepened, people were less concerned with new and exotic instruments and more concerned with basic necessities. In addition, there simply was little music available for saxophone in the key of  F. While Conn continued to list the conn-o-sax in the back of their catalogs through the 1930s, there is no mention of it afterwards. It was in production for less than a year.

The conn-o-sax is a woodwind instrument with a sound like no other. There is now a renewed interest in this long forgotten saxophone whose haunting, brooding tone is especially effective in a concert setting. Despite its rarity and seeming impracticality, it has become the most coveted of rare and vintage saxophones.  Possessing a dark, lyrical quality with hints of both the english horn and saxophone, the unique timbre of the conn-o-sax has captivated woodwind players for generations. Its visionary design and tonal qualities are now being heard, seen, and appreciated in both classical and jazz genres. The conn-o-sax has found a new voice in the 21st century.

— Paul Cohen