Martha Guth Opera Singer

Martha Guth - Opera Singer


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Sparks & Wiry Cries

We are now available for subscription on itunes!  Search under 'Sparks and Wiry Cries' to subscribe or 'Martha Guth' or 'Erika Switzer'.  This means you can have SWC downloaded to you without ever thinking about it...automatic song happiness.

Sparks and Wiry cries is back for more!

The newest Episode:
The Beginning of Season Three- Dichterliebe.

Welcome back to Sparks and Wiry Cries.  This season, we are going to switch it up quite a bit.  SWC is undergoing a transformation over the next few months and this will be the last podcast for a little while.  But never fear...better and bigger things are on the horizon for this podcast and Sparks and Wiry Cries in general.  Please stay tuned and stay with us through the 'construction zone'.  While you are waiting for the big announcement though we have a fabulous podcast to send your way.  This month we are featuring the return of Musicologist Dr. Benjamin Binder who marvelously unravels the story of Schumanns' Dichterliebe.  The incomparable Gerald Finley and Julius Drake are performing.  What could be better than that?

Season 3, Episode 1


Gerald Finley

Julius Drake

Dr. Ben Binder

Season 2 Episode 7

Stephen Paulus

We love him!  Here we sit down with the composer for a discussion of his music and one of his wonderful song cycles.

go to for more information

performers are Donna Lowey and Andrew Garland

Season 2, Episode 6

Goethe and Deen Larsen

The enigmatic and wonderful Deen Larsen, founder of the Franz Schubert Institute in Baden-bei-Wien talks to us today about Goethe and Schuberts' Heidenroeslein.  Performers are the incomparable duo Elly Ameling and Dalton Baldwin.  You know they are the real thing when they have their own Wikipedia entry folks!

Elly Ameling    

Dalton Baldwin

Deen Larsen

The Franz Schubert Institute

Season 2, Episode 5

The end of Napoleons reign and the birth of the Biedermeier era and culture brought about many things, including -in a round about way- the birth of the Song salon.  Musicologist Ben Binder discusses why the politics of the time created an atmosphere where people were comfortable to be themselves only at home and why Schubert mattered so much to them.


Nacht und Traume

Der Wanderer

Der Juengling und der Tod


Performers for this episode are listed below.  As always, a youtube or a google search can also provide many hours of entertainment from these artists...yes, even in the world of Classical song.


Spencer Myer


Vlad Iftinca

William Ferguson

Margaret MacDonald

Christianne Stotijn 

Jospeh Breinl

Season 2, Episode 4

Just in time for Christmas, we have a performance of Benjamin Brittens' 'Jouney of the Magi'.  This is his Canticle No. 4.  We also take a look at the extraordinary canticle No. 2, 'Abraham and Isaac'.  These wonderful and dramatic pieces of music are performed through Toronto's Aldeburgh Connection Recital series and recording label.   This recital series brings young performers, seasoned performers and the two brillant pianists who run it together for performances that have been beloved by audiences for many years.

Aldeburgh Connection

Stephen Ralls

Brice Ubukata

Daniel Taylor   

Brett Polegato

Benjamin Butterfield

Season 2, Episode 3

O Viva Rosa

This episode features the talents of phenomenal Soprano Shannon Mercer and her 'band': Luc Beausejour on harpsichord and organ, Sylvain Bergeron on lute, guitar and theorbo and Amanda Keesmaat on cello, performing songs of Francesca Caccini.  We are talking renaissance Florence, Italy and the Medici Family...great stuff folks!

Shannon Mercer

Sylvain Bergeron

Amanda Keesmat

Luc Beausejour

Season 2, Episode 2

This episode features the talents of Canadian Music Greats: Tenor Jon Vickers and Contralto Maureen Forrester.  They are performing music of Canadian composers Jean Coulthard and Srul Irving Glick.  If you would like to read more of the interview between Jon Vickers and award winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie which was quoted with his permission, please go to his website:


His site is chock-full of interesting information so make sure you take time to look around.

 Season 2, Episode 1

Our second season begins with a look at the CD 'Summer Schemes' Produced by Canadian Baritone Peter McGillivray and Pianist Liz Upchurch. We listen to songs of Peter Warlock, Ivor Gurney and Gerald Finzi on this disc: perfect for the end of the summer season. 

Erika Switzer

Peter McGillivray

Liz Upchurch

Previous Episodes:

VISI 2010

This episode is centered around the Vancouver International Song Insititute.  This is a fabulous program headed by artistic director Rena Sharon in the stunning city of Vancouver, Canada.  VISI, centered on the campus of the University of British Columbia, is a two and a half week intensive program in June for college level performers/students of classical song, pedagogues, and musicologists.   VISI also includes a beloved performance festival in venues all around the city of Vancouver with an intensive season during the institute.

This episode we feature the stylings of world renowned collaborators and teachers:  Soprano Tracy Dahl with Pianist Margo Garrett, and Baritone Francois LeRoux with Pianist Mickhail Hallack.  Songs of John Greer, Robert Fleming and Claude Debussy.

Vancouver International Song Institute:

Tracy Dahl

Margo Garrett

Francois LeRoux

Mickhail Hallack

Composer Libby Larsen

In this episode we have the pleasure of hearing an interview with the extraordinary American composer Libby Larsen.  We also take an in depth look at her often-performed cycle 'Try me good king', five songs set to the last words of five of the six wives of Henry the VIIIth.   

Erika Switzer

Libby Larsen

Martha Guth

Anne Kissel Harper

Florestan Recital Project 

The Ballads of Carl Loewe

In this episode Bass Baritone Shenyang and Pianist Vlad Iftinca perform three ballads from their Alice Tully Hall Recital in NYC.  Beautiful collaboration, impeccable musicianship and exciting storytelling bring these fanciful tales to life.  One depicts Goethe's fateful Elf-King who brings about the demise of all who see him, another falls in love with the queen of the fairies, and a third ends up the blacksmith for the Norse God Odin who is off to fight in Battle.

Erika Switzer


Vlad Iftinca

This latest episode centers around American composer Tom Cipullo.  We interviewed him at his home in Long Island City and also present four of his songs.  Special thanks to the Albany label for their generous permission to have Paul Sperry's fabulous rendition of 'Reasons why I don't keep a gun in the house' aired today on the podcast. 

Erika Switzer

Tom Cipullo

Liza Stepanova    

Anthony Mcgee

Andrew Garland

Donna Loewy

Paul Sperry

Viva Espana!

This most recent episode features the beautiful, passionate and lyrical songs from Spain.   Join us as we explore the music of Turina, de Falla, and  Montsalvatge.  Guest speaker and opera singer Ricardo Lugo gives us our much needed Spanish lessons along the way. 

AND -check out a search for 'Cante jondo' excerpts on's worth it!

Erika Swizter

Sandra Tucker

Jo Greenaway

Christa Mayer

Hugo Wolf!

We continue on with more form the big German song composers.  This songcast is dedicated to the tormented genius of Hugo Wolf.   Not known far outside the world of 'Art song', this composer was a master of the miniature and dedicated much of his compositional efforts to classical song.  We explore four of his songs with poetry by two greats: Goethe and Moerike.  Enjoy!

Erika Switzer

Mary Mackenzie

Keun-A Lee, Piano

Frederique Vezina, Soprano

Shenyang, Bass-Baritone

Vlad Iftinca, Piano

Valentines Day

This episode is dedicated to the ones we love, near and far.  We are listening to songs by Hugo Wolf, Johannes Brahms, Gabriel Faure, Franz Schreker, and Sergei Rachmaninov. 

Erika Switzer

Lenneke Ruiten

Thom Janssen

Julian Pregardien

Goetz Payer

Debra Stanley

Michael guido

Joseph Kaiser

Colin Balzer

Stefani Iranyi

Tyler Duncan

Performers for our Schubert Podcast:

Erika Switzer

Colin Balzer

Tyler Duncan

Robyn Driedger-Klassen

Karen Lee-Morlang

David Santos

Thomas Wija

The great passion in my career is the world of classical song.  Renowned pianist Erika Switzer and I will co-host the upcoming episodes. We will look at song in a different light that will air every other week.  Each podcast will be centered around a theme, and include live recordings spanning Mozart to the present day. We will also have the pleasure of including interviews with composers, musicologists and poets whose voices add a meaningful dimension to our conversations about song and performance.  This podcast offers favorite repertoire, performed by ourselves and the many wonderful colleagues we have the pleasure to work with.  This new generation of song singers have won international awards for excellence in their field and are currently performing in all corners of the globe.   My hope is that this venue has the intimacy that the first composers of song originally had in mind, and that what has been delighting us on the concert stage can now be enjoyed in your living room. -Please enjoy!   Special thanks to Matthew Principe for his commitment and enthusiasm as producer and Matt Galek for his invaluable help with this project. 

Episode 12:

For more information on the performers of 'Hollydaze' please see the list below.   

Erika Switzer

Lynne Mcmurtry

Alison D'amato

The Florestan Rectial Project

Jennifer Zetlan

David Shimoni

Susan Platts

Lambert Orkis

Steven Dann

ATMA Recordings

Episode 11:

For more information on the performers of the Francis Poulenc songcast, see the links below.   Debra and Michael's recordings were made in the Velte-Saal at the Hochscule fur Musik in Karlsruhe, April 21st, 2009.  Claire and Marc's performance was recorded in October of 2002.

Marc Verter

Michael Guido

Debra Stanley

Claire Booth

Episode 10: 

Information for 'Waves of Destruction':

 The recording of Jena Osman reading her poem was used with the kind permission of the people from Pennsound, and Ms. Osman herself.  Thank-you!   This is an extraordinary website dedicated to cataloging spoken poetry in digital form, available to the public for their own use.   The Recording of 'Target' performed by Laurie Rubin was recorded in April of 2007 with the L.A. based group EAR Unit. 

Spencer Myer 

Laurie Rubin    

Keeril Makan


Perry Brass 

Arnold Schoenberg Center 

Wigmore Hall 

EAR Unit 

Chris DeBlasio