Letter from the Editors

We are so lucky that renowned Musicologists Michael Musgrave and Susan Youens have both submitted papers for publication at Sparks & Wiry Cries, and we are happy to say that they are now uploaded for your reading pleasure.  We are hoping to have many more articles of this nature in the future - so do check back!

Our latest podcast is an interview with the wonderful Pianist Graham Johnson.  It was conducted in his home in London, surrounded by his many scores and books, and supplemented by a glass of wine or two.  It was an evening to remember, and an interview that we are so glad to have captured.

An article by Deen Larsen from the Schubert Institute in Baden-bei-Wien about beloved song singer Elly Ameling has also been posted. -Enjoy!

And as ever...if you missed it before, our very first CD has been made available in digital form through iTunes, Amazon, CDbaby and other digital distributors. We hope you enjoy!  Many thanks again to Colin Mills at Aberration Photos for our stunning cover art, and to the musicians and production team.  We are really proud of this first release - so what are you waiting for?  Click that link!

Co-Editors in Chief,

Martha Guth and Erika Switzer

Featured This Month

Artist Profile: Julius Drake

Erika Switzer talks to Pianist Julius Drake in this exclusive interview

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The Cartoonery of Tyler Duncan (Baritone)


Susan Youens: Of cannibalism, the abolitionist movement, and Brahms:  An unlikely conjunction    

For those of us who love Brahms’s songs, our first encounter with “Kein Haus, keine Heimat” (No house, no homeland) was probably a shock—it certainly was for me. Published in 1884 when Brahms was fifty-one years old, this work is twenty measures of undiluted bitterness, over almost before...  

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Michael Musgrave: Brahmsian Sea Pictures

It is often observed of Brahms’ songs that they emphasize rounded melody and harmony at the expense of textual nuance. Three ideas lie behind this view: that Brahms’ devotion to folksong as an ideal of self- sufficient melody limits his response to words both rhythmically and in imagery; and that this ideal also tends to an instrumental character that prioritizes musical development over poetic text; and... 

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Deen Larsen: Another Side of Elly

Deen Larsen’s extraordinary words stop me in my tracks.  My tracks, so often hasty and restless, at first resist the meditative depth of his thoughts, but then, slowing out of curiousity, welcome the provocation.  Thank you, Deen, for... 

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Emily Ezust: Some Thoughts on the Gentle Art of translating

It can be disappointing to open an art song recital program and find no translations inside, especially these days when there can be such delightful variety in the languages offered in one concert. Perhaps many North American audience-members will know enough French or Spanish to get the gist of...

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Michael Brofman: Libby Larsen in Context

Next Saturday, the Brooklyn Art Song Society will present the third installment of its new music series In Context. The purpose of In Context is to present the works of living composers alongside ‘standard’ repertoire with the goal of showing continuity instead of contrast. Art song is especially well equipped to

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Sarah Wolfson: Remembering Elliott Carter

On Tuesday November 6th I woke up in Montpellier, France to be greeted by sad news. Although he had reached the ripe old age of 103, I was still sadly taken aback by the death of the extraordinary composer Elliott Carter. It seemed curious timing since I was in France to perform...

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Jonathan Ware: Schubert & Co.

New York based pianists Lachlan Glen and Jonathan Ware are part way into an ambitious project: to perform all of Schubert’s Songs in one season.  It takes a village to make something like this happen of course, and it turns out that the Schubert-Village is thriving.  Singers and pianists are volunteering their time and...    

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Dr Robert Holst: The Curious Case of H.H. Holmes

H. H. Holmes (aka Herman Mudgett) earned the distinction of being one of the first, if not the most prolific, of America’s serial killers. After having credited several murder victims to his account, Holmes opened a hotel in Chicago during the...

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Our featured Videos:

A teaser for our latest podcast - Excerpts from the Motown project by Alicia Hall Moran.


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