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Sparks & Wiry Cries
NYC songSLAM Team 12 • "Isolation"
CodyRay Caho (baritone) and Michael Lewis (piano and composer) perform "Isolation" on poetry of Dicky Dutton (1990). Text SLAMTEAMTWELVE to 44-321 to vote or click here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/art-song-magazine-inc/nyc-songslam-2021-team-twelve Presented by Sparks & Wiry Cries for the 2021 songSLAM Festival. Filmed November 15th-17th, 2020 at the Blue Building | New York City. Sparks & Wiry Cries gratefully acknowledges that all of our events take place on the unceded territory of the Munsee Lenape and Wappinger peoples. We honor and pay respect to their ancestors past and present, as well as to future generations and we recognize their continuing presence in their homelands. Audio Video Recording by Synthia Steiman songSLAM Production by Tory Browers Administrative support by Lucy Fitz Gibbon and Jardena Gertler-Jaffe Sparks & Wiry Cries by Martha Guth and Erika Switzer Sparks and Wiry Cries' YouTube Channel is free for everyone to watch. Donations to Sparks & Wiry Cries are greatly appreciated: http://www.sparksandwirycries.org/donate _______________________________________ Text: It suffocates this parish house, accommodating every wish that’s placed before us. Her walls, once taut despair, have dropped despite appealing efforts plucked from deep within us. I’ll take a walk, lay down the walls to rest engorged molasses oozing here between us. Dicky Dutton (b. 1990) _______________________________________ CodyRay Caho and Michael Lewis met in Binghamton, NY, in 2014 and have lived and collaborated together since. After a four year stint in Phoenix, AZ, the two returned to New York in 2019 -- this time to the Hudson Valley, where they set to make art for the indefinite future. In addition to working as a freelance musician and coach, Michael launched the music nonprofit organization, Aural Compass Projects, while CodyRay pursued a second master’s degree at Bard College Conservatory. Like so many others, the pandemic put a halt to any in-person community engagement. This was the birthing place of “Isolation.” Under the pseudonym Dicky Dutton -- a family name of the matriarch -- CodyRay (Dicky) wrote this poem as the couple’s tiny parish house apartment grew smaller and smaller, encroaching on the creative space once supported by a pandemic-free world. The first line writes, “It suffocates this parish house/ accommodating every wish that’s placed before us.” “After a few weeks of intense withdrawal, I wanted this poem to act as an exhale, a step forward, a moment of seeing someone, a loving glance, and/or an acknowledgment of personal space,” CodyRay states. Michael adds, “The poetry was written at the beginning of April, if I remember correctly, at a time when it had felt like we had been isolated for a long time. Looking back on it now seems like a lifetime ago. Cody (Dicky) had written a few other poems as a part of her Isolation cycle, but I have only set the first poem so far -- I hope to set the others to music someday soon.” _______________________________________ Team Bios: Curiosity in the world’s stories lies at the heart of, baritone and queer performance artist, CodyRay’s (she/they/he) work. Her collaborations with organizations like Aural Compass Projects, Wear Yellow Proudly, Bard College, the Nahant Music Festival, and Arizona Opera have highlighted the importance of working toward equity and creative joy in herself and surrounding communities. Pianist Michael Lewis finds great joy in the exhilarating act of cooperative musical creation which has led him to work in tandem with many musical artists in recital halls and opera companies across the country like Opera Philadelphia, Cincinnati Opera, and Arizona Opera. In 2019, Michael founded Aural Compass Projects, a non-profit music organization dedicated to performing new and less-performed works.
Maroon Bells, Sonata for Piano and Violin: I. Fluid
April 6, 2017 Sicong Chen, Violin Michael Lewis, Piano _________________________ During the summer of 2016, I lived in a cabin up on Woody Creek Road in Woody Creek, Colorado, close to Aspen. The old restored cabin was owned by “Bug” Mead who rented the third floor to me and my partner, Cody. She lived on the second floor where she has a grand piano. I was lucky enough to form a friendship with Bug over the summer and she was happy to open up her piano to me in exchange for some quality time with her dogs and swapping stories about piloting planes, boating, and professionally impersonating Barbra Streisand. The bulk of this movement was written on her piano. I wasn’t intending on writing a violin sonata originally, maybe just a stand alone piece, but over the summer it grew larger. I was lucky enough to spend the summer living one door down from a violinist, Annie Bender, who practiced Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto often. The combination of hearing live violin in my living space and working with violinists and violists at the Aspen Music Festival sparked this piece. The first movement rather effortlessly. This movement was largely inspired by the scenery I took in every day from Woody Creek to Aspen. On the descent into Aspen, I saw the “Maroon Bells” off in the distance past the nearby meadows and across the Roaring Fork Valley.
Michael Lewis: Three Swedish Folksong Arrangements
Three Swedish Folksong Arrangements 1. Fjorton år (0:00 - 3:13) 2. Vem kan segla förutan vind? (03:13-5:11) 3. Hälsa dem därhemma (05:11) arranged by Michael Lewis Melissa Solomon, soprano Michael Lewis, pianist (www.michaellewispiano.com) Video by Izzy Hyman (www.izzyvideo.com) Fjorton år (Fourteen years old) I know of a certainty that I was fourteen years, a little girl, so cheerful and so happy. I heard of no suitors, And I never even thought of anyone. Later when I was seventeen years, The sun shone, the cuckoo sang, and it was spring. Everything was beautiful, the green earth, the blue sky, But it felt as though something was lacking. Yes, now it is not as it was anymore, Sometimes I am so sad, sometimes happy, Sometimes I’m very pale, sometimes blushing, And I want neither to live or to die. Vem kan segla förutan vind? (Who can sail without wind?) Who can sail without wind? Who can row without oars? Who can part from their dearest love Without tears falling? I can sail without wind. I can row without oars. But I cannot part from my dearest love without tears falling. Hälsa dem därhemma (Greet those at home) In the vast quiet night here I stand at the ships helm, under the heavens’ starry skies, I have been put at my post. After a long and hard day, I hear a distant wing stroke of a flock of swallows, that goes once more toward north, toward, light, toward spring. Greet those at home, greet mother and father, greet the green pasture, greet little brother. If I had wings I would fly with you. Swallow, fly toward home, greet them from me. Little swallow, although weak, day and night, and night and day you are taken forward toward your goal by the quick flapping of your wings. Swallow, think about me also, gladly would I fly with you; at home, the meadow is surely green; oh, swallow, hear my plea. Greet those at home, greet mother and father, greet the green pasture, greet little brother. If I had wings I would fly with you. Swallow, fly toward home, greet them from me.
Mercury admits - voice, flute, cello
I am as I am - vocal duet
Isolation - baritone and piano
When We Look Back - voice and piano
Three Swedish Folksongs - soprano and piano
The Sky Lingers Above - soprano and piano
Backyard Stories - piano solo
Fresh Grief - baritone and piano
Wouldn't you like to know? - piano four-hands
The Beauty of Cosmic Things - SATB divisi choir
Maroon Bells - violin and piano
Phoenician Scenes - piano solo
Finis - soprano and piano
Diatonic Studies - piano solo
Through the Hall - piano solo
Sleep - baritone and piano
Vignettes Overseas - song cycle for soprano and piano
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