IN TRANSIT

New American Works for Saxophone and Piano

Timothy McAllister, saxophones

Kathryn Goodson, piano

Innova 652

 

1 Roshanne Etezady (b. 1973)

Streetlegal (2003)                                    5:20

for soprano saxophone and piano 

 

William Albright (1944-1998)

Sonata (1984)

for alto saxophone and piano

2     I.    Two-Part Invention                      4:30

3     II.  La follia nuova:

       A Lament for George Cacioppo       8:47

4     III.                 Scherzo “Will o' the Wisp”                 1:52

5     IV.                          Recitative and Dance                 4:30

 

6 Milton Babbitt (b. 1916)

Accompanied Recitative (1994)               1:47

for soprano saxophone and piano

 

Gregory Wanamaker (b. 1968)

Sonata deus sax machina (2000)

for alto saxophone and piano

7     I.                                                         2:46

8     II.                                                                                5:16

9     III.                                                      3:55

 

Mischa Zupko (b. 1971)

In Transit (2002)

for alto saxophone and piano

10   Red Walls of Fog                               6:02

11   Mango Café                                       5:44

12   So Alone Am I                                   4:57

13   Rush Hour                                          2:39

14      The Dream       5:02

 

Adjectives are the enemies of music.  They can take something restlessly alive and render it still, fixed, a mute object.  Music is always doing—it is all behavior and motion, participles and adverbs.  Tim McAllister and Kathryn Goodson are both performers with a rare sense of the power of the committed physical gesture.  Adjectives alone do no justice to the energy, touch, attack, and pull of their playing.

 

Music moves.  It is, in fact, pure movement: the movement of air in waves across the surface of our skin and the internal organs of our ears.  But more than that, it moves us: it brings movement to our perception through layers of action encoded in the traces of effort audible in sound.  The score (the noun we are so often fixated upon) is only a collection of dots and lines and letters that tells performers in the most vague terms what to do, how to move.

 

Each of the pieces on this recording in some way shares an awareness of movement as a central idea that powers music.  Even without Tim and Kathryn before our eyes, our listening bodies are drawn into kinesthetic sympathy with the intentions of the composers and the committed actions of these performers.

—Evan Chambers

 

1       About her piece, Streetlegal, Roshanne Etezady writes: “The word ‘streetlegal’ comes from the world of racing cars.  To me, it suggests a vehicle of great speed and power tearing around city streets and highways.  It brings to mind something fast, brilliant, shiny, and even a little bit dangerous.

 

“This piece has, at its core, a deep sense of hyperkinetic energy.  Both instruments are required to perform calisthenic, athletic gestures, all the while maintaining a larger sense of musicality.  The piece is virtuosic on an individual level as well as – if not especially – in terms of ensemble.  Aggressive, angular lines predominate in the melodic language of Streetlegal, and in terms of structure, ‘hard edges’ are the norm.  Each section of the piece seems almost to collide into the next, and when there are transitions between sections, they are short and abrupt.  The overall effect, I hope, is one of barely containable energy, excitement, and realized momentum.”

Commissioned by Tim McAllister and Kathryn Goodson, Streetlegal was premiered in 2004 at the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina.

 

Described by critics as “a promising and confident composer,” Roshanne Etezady (b.1973) has been awarded commissions from the Albany Symphony, Dartmouth Symphony, eighth blackbird, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, and Rźlache.  She has been a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.  In 1999, Etezady received a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  Since then, her accomplishments have earned recognition from institutions including the Jacob Javits Foundation, Meet the Composer, and ASCAP.

 

Etezady holds academic degrees from Northwestern University, Yale University, and the University of Michigan; her teachers include Ned Rorem, Evan Ziporyn, Martin Bresnick, William Bolcom, and Michael Daugherty.

 

2-5  William Albright’s Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano has become a cornerstone of the saxophone repertoire—its emotional urgency and remarkable invention mark it as one of the major works for the instrument.  Throughout his career, Albright was a pioneer in streaming together styles and genres that composers had kept strictly separate during the last days of high modernism; instead of partitioning his lives as ragtime artist, “classical” composer, and church musician, he combined them all freely in his work.  In doing so, a lot of energy was released, and this music is full of the manic drive, quirkiness, and rough edges that results from the rubbing together of often starkly contrasting musical impulses.  This piece swings from the unrelenting bare hammering of the first movement to the unbearably soft ache of the second, from the almost inaudible delicate swirls of the third to the raucous recitative and (mad) dance of the finale.

 

It might be said that the heart of the piece is the second movement, dedicated to the memory of Albright’s friend, composer George Cacioppo, who died unexpectedly in 1984.  “Cacioppo and his music and personality rest at the foundation of my thinking,” writes Albright.  He chose an alternate spelling of the baroque ground-bass variation form, la folia for the title of this altered-chaconne movement; his use of the modern Italian spelling in “La follia nuova” suggests both a new “la folia” as well as a “new madness.”

 

The work was written in 1984 for three saxophone/piano duos (Laura Hunter/Brian Connelly, Donald Sinta/Ellen Weckler, and Joseph Wytko/Walter Cosand) with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

One of the foremost composers and organists of the twentieth century, William Albright (1944-1998), was a pioneer in the creation of a post-modern musical language, insisting on integrating musical impulses from popular and folk musics into classical composition. A student of both Ross Lee Finney and Olivier Messiaen, Albright received numerous awards including two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Fulbright Fellowship, two Koussevitzky Awards, the Queen Marie-Jose Prize, and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

 

An accomplished performer and scholar of ragtime and stride piano, he was instrumental in fomenting the 1970’s revival of that genre; he also recorded the complete rags of Scott Joplin (regarded by some as a definitive contemporary interpretation), as well as many of his own ragtime compositions.  Before his untimely death at the age of 53, Albright served as chairman of the music composition department at the University of Michigan, where he was known as a master teacher who inspired generations of composers.

 

6      The music of Milton Babbitt is often misunderstood as being rigidly mathematical—with the intense focus given to the structural rigor (particularly with respect to pitch) that Babbitt applied to the creation of his works, their extremely lively and varied gestural vocabulary can be overlooked. Accompanied Recitative, for all its brevity, it is full of swingy rhythmic energy and vocal leaps and twists. The title suggests a relationship with Babbitt’s later work From the Psalter (2002) for soprano and orchestra, which the composer also described as an “accompanied recitative.”  In any case, the reference in the work’s title to vocal music is an important one, as Babbitt had a lifelong relationship with the voice in his work, one that included his extensive collaborations with soprano Bethany Beardslee.

 

The piece was originally commissioned in 1994 by saxophonist John Sampen for an innovative series of short compositions by American composers titled “Postcards from America.” (William Albright was also, incidentally, commissioned for the project).

 

Milton Babbitt (b.1916) is one of the most influential and celebrated composers and writers in the musical life of the United States; his early research as a composer and theorist into what is sometimes called “total serialism” was among the first examples in the world. He was also an important pioneer in electronic music as one of the founders of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Studios and as a consultant with RCA in the design of the famous Mark II synthesizer, with which he went on to create a number of works. He has been the recipient of numerous honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship and a Pulitzer Prize Citation for his life’s work. Babbitt is one of the few artists in the world who is both a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He studied composition with Roger Sessions, and holds degrees from NYU and Princeton University, where he taught for many years before joining the faculty of the Juilliard School.

 

7-9         Gregory Wanamaker’s Sonata deus sax machina, like the Albright Sonata, combines selected formal aspects of the classical sonata with musical materials of more recent vintage.  The composer intends the title’s pun not to suggest any formal parallels with the literary term for improbable plot devices, deus ex machina, but rather to evoke the drive and energy of mechanical motion.  Each of work’s three movements is characterized by a different mechanical movement-quality: a motoric moto perpetuo in the sonata-allegro first movement, the repetitive stasis of an ever-present electrical hum in the chaconne-informed second, and the crazed swings of an imagined cartoon-construction (marked rondo psycho) in the third.  Musical motives and themes recur throughout the piece, creating cyclic connections between the movements despite contrasting motion patterns.

The work was commissioned by Tim McAllister, and premiered at the 12th World Saxophone Congress in Montreal on July 9, 2000 with pianist David Heinick.

 

Gregory Wanamaker (b. 1968) teaches composition and music theory at the Crane School of Music at The State University of New York-Potsdam where he also serves as an active member of and advocate for the Teach Music in New York City Project. He has received awards from ASCAP, the National Association of Composers USA, and Britten-on-the-Bay. Wanamaker’s music has been performed throughout the Americas and Europe, and recordings of his music include his Triaria on Ensemble Radieuse’s disk Inbox (KCM Records).

 

Recent world premieres include Elegy performed by the Trujillo (Peru) Symphony Orchestra, speed metal organum blues performed by the PRISM Saxophone Quartet at Symphony Space in New York City, Clarikinetics performed by Deborah Bish at the Festival de Inverno de Vale Veneto, Brazil, and a new saxophone quartet for the Ara Saxophone Quartet.

 

10-14   Mischa Zupko’s In Transit takes the form of a travelogue as its model, in which each movement represents a new stylistic and timbral locale.  As in the Wanamaker, there is a concern here for maintaining thematic and formal elements between movements. Zupko writes, it is “as if this work represented a traveler whose new experiences came to be increasingly colored by past experiences as the journey drew to a close.”

This trip takes us not only through the space between remembered places and their associated sound-images (a foggy runway in Seattle, steamy Miami nightlife, bustling New York traffic), but also through the sequential time of a journey, including the eventual return suggested by the dreamy remembrances of the final movement.  The nostalgic effect is heightened by Zupko’s use of a sad, popular song written by his grandfather in the 1940’s as an underlying musical ground for the piece.  The song comes most clearly into focus in the third movement, which culminates in an almost literal quotation of the tune; the composer intended “that the other movements would lead into and away from this movement through more and less obvious uses of the motivic fragments taken from the song.”

 

This work was commissioned by Tim McAllister in 2001 and is dedicated to him; the revised version was premiered in 2002 by McAllister and Kathryn Goodson in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was written in memory of Zupko's grandfather, Ed (Papa) Sarché.

 

Mischa Zupko (b.1971) has received many awards including first place in the Pacific Symphony Orchestra’s American Composers Competition, the Lee Ettelson Composers Award, a shared first prize in the USA International Harp Competition Composition Contest, three ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards, the First Music award from the New York Youth Symphony, and the Jacob Druckman prize from the Aspen Music Festival. He has been commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, the Fromm Foundation, and the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival.

 

Mr. Zupko’s Seven Deadly Sins for flute and piano was recorded by Thomas Robertello and is available on Crystal Records. His composition teachers have included his father, Ramon Zupko, Eugene O’Brien, Fredrick Fox, David Dzubay, Augusta Read Thomas, and Don Freund.

 

 

Performer Biographies

 

Saxophonist Timothy McAllister and pianist Kathryn Goodson have collaborated since 1999, giving concerts throughout the United States, South America, and Europe.  Recent performance venues have included the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, national meetings of the North American Saxophone Alliance, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts in New York, Kerrytown Concert House of Ann Arbor, MI, the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, and the Trujillo International Bach Festival of Peru.  In Transit marks their first recording project together.  With acclaimed bass trombonist of the Detroit Symphony, Randall Hawes, they have been performing as a trio committed to expanding the repertoire for this unique combination of instruments.

Soprano chair of the renowned PRISM Saxophone Quartet and acclaimed soloist, Timothy McAllister is one of America’s leading saxophone performers and teachers. His career has taken him throughout the United States, Canada, South America and Europe, garnering prizes at national and international competitions and solo appearances in major venues.  He has performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Ann Arbor Symphony, Hot Springs Festival Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Orchestra of Northern New York, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, and the New World Symphony among others.  An active chamber musician, he is a co-founding member of the QUORUM Chamber Arts Collective, and has performed with the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Brave New Works, and the Minimum Security Composers Collective Ensemble.  Prior to joining the PRISM Quartet, he received the Grand Prize at the 2001 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition with the Ninth Circle Saxophone Quartet.

 

As a member of the PRISM Quartet, McAllister has recently made concerto appearances with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Augusta Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and the Nashville Symphony, and presents numerous chamber music engagements annually, including regular appearances in venues throughout Philadelphia and in New York’s Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, and Carnegie Hall.  Recent residencies with PRISM have included the Walden School for Young Composers in Dublin, New Hampshire, Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School and Free Library, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and the Chautauqua Institution. 

 

An advocate of contemporary music, McAllister has premiered over 70 new works for saxophone by many of today’s major composers and leading young voices, and his critically-acclaimed recordings can be heard on the Centaur, Einstein, Albany, Naxos, G.I.A. Publications, Equilibrium, Arizona University Recordings and Innova labels.  In addition, he has been featured on National Public Radio, Dutch National Radio, and Chamber Music Minnesota’s nationally televised Music da Camera series. 

 

McAllister is Associate Professor of Saxophone at the Crane School of Music at The State University of New York-Potsdam.  He holds the prestigious Albert A. Stanley Medal and multiple degrees, including the Doctor of Musical Arts, from The University of Michigan where he studied saxophone with Donald Sinta.  He was invited to teach at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris in 2003, and currently serves as Instructor of Saxophone on the summer faculty of the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.

 

Kathryn Goodson, pianist, is a creative soloist and a partner with exceptional presence.  Journal de GenŹve, Switzerland:  “at the piano she is a generator of colors and of lights;”   International Herald Tribune, Paris:  “she played Bernsteinęs Seven Anniversary Portraits  with authority and feeling;” Tübingen Stadtblatt, Germany:  “an exquisite American specialist of German romantic music;” Ann Arbor Observer, Michigan: “her enthusiastic playing isnęt merely an accompaniment to the singer or instrumentalist but a full partner.”

 

Kathryn Goodson commands a collaborative repertoire spanning chamber music with strings, contemporary works with winds and art song.  Her innovative solo programs combining music and narrative have been featured on radio and television.   Kathryn Goodsonęs performance venues have included the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan’s  Pine Mountain Music Festival, the Dunvegan Castle Arts Festival of Scotland, Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center, the Internationale-Hugo-Wolf-Akademie in Stuttgart, the Strings in the Mountains Festival in Colorado and many productions of the Zürich impresario, Armin Brunner.  

 

 

In her regional community of southeastern Michigan, she is an energetic advocate for the arts, performing often on orchestral chamber music series, for spiritual and political organizations and at schools.  With the Phoenix Ensemble and Peter Sparling Dance Company of Ann Arbor she is developing a new music and dance festival, the first of which will  feature the music of Charles Ives.  Among recordings of her work is Melodrama, the critically acclaimed Albany Records release of Russian music with Detroit Symphony Orchestra bass trombonist Randall Hawes.  Among many special partnerships in Europe and in the United States over the years, of particular note is Ms. Goodsonęs collaboration with saxophonist Donald Sinta, begun in 1990. 

 

Kathryn Goodson serves on the piano faculty at Eastern Michigan University and is on the collaborative piano and coaching staff for wind instrumentalists and vocalists at The University of Michigan School of Music.  She has performed or taught master classes at music schools including the Interlochen Arts Academy, Baylor University, the Hartt School of Music, the Musashino Music School in Tokyo, the Baseler Musikakademie, the Conservatoire de GenŹve in Switzerland and the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe in Germany, where her American Art Song class has been featured three times. 

 

Kathryn Goodson completed the Doctor of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano with Martin Katz at The University of Michigan.  As a student of Harmut Höll at the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe in Germany, Kathryn Goodson was awarded the Liedgestaltung-Konzertexam, Germany’s most advanced diploma in art song, with highest honors.  Twice a Fulbright Scholar to Germany, she is also a prize-winning lauréate of the Fondation de Yehudi Menuhin in Paris.  She holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Oberlin Conservatory with Robert Shannon.

 

Liner notes by Evan Chambers

 

For more information, please visit www.timothymcallister.com and www.kathryngoodson.com.

Streetlegal (ASCAP) is available from the composer.  Contact: www.roshanne.com.

 

William Albright’s Sonata is published by C.F. Peters.

 

Accompanied Recitative is published by C.F. Peters.

 

Sonata deus sax machina (ASCAP) is available from the composer.  Contact the composer at www.gregorywanamaker.com.

 

In Transit (ASCAP) is available from the composer.

 

Produced by Timothy McAllister and Kathryn Goodson.

 

This recording was made possible in part by a grant from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at The State University of New York at Potsdam.

 

Recorded August 23-26, 2004 in Helen Hosmer Concert Hall, The Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam.  John Jungklaus, recording engineer and mastering.

 

Steetlegal and Sonata deus sax machina recordings supervised by the composers.

 

Cover/booklet photos by Taimur Sullivan.  McAllister photo by Pierre Dufour.  Goodson photo by Ameen Howrani.

 

Design layout, innova director: Philip Blackburn.

 

Innova operations manager: Chris Campbell

 

innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.