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crowA festive afternoon with Lyric Fest at AVA: triumphant premieres of song cycles by Andrea Clearfield and my dear friend Daron Hagen.

Congratulations to all the singers: mezzo-soprano Katherine Pracht and baritone Randall Scarlata for the Clearfield, and soprano Justine Aronson and tenor Joseph Gaines for the Hagen. Laura Ward, at the piano, was the brilliant partner to all. I enjoyed each of the musicians so much, and I believe I enjoyed, by proxy, the feeling a composer has when served so well by completely devoted and winning artists.

As if that were not enough, Randall Scarlata started the recital with a handful of songs from Schubert’s Winterreise, a reprise of the entire set he had given Friday. He shocked me with the power a casual, unaffected reading can produce. I saw the crows, and they made me shiver. Outstanding performance.

It was a warm happiness to see colleagues, a too-infrequent joy, to catch up with friends, to make new ones, and then off to dinner with even more!

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