For Your Consideration

61st Annual Grammy Awards



in the following categories:

Contemporary Classical Composition (for After Words)

Classical Solo Vocal Album (for After Words)

Dear Friends, Please consider thIS recording at Grammy voting time!



OPERA NEWS CRITIC’S CHOICE PICK: “The soprano (Justine Aronson) starts in a suitably melancholy Schubertian idiom, after a piano introduction that teases the original “Leiermann” piano part. When the tenor (Joseph Gaines) comes in, he intones a ghostly melody that outlines the intervals of a diminished seventh chord. The music builds grippingly and ventures afield harmonically, with the soprano veering into hair-raising sprechgesang on the line “And the dogs growl/Around the old man.” Read complete review. (Opera News, May 2018)

“The seven song “Phantoms of Myself” with soprano Gilda Lyons is in performance and as Art Song stunning. The cycle covers a 24-hour day via the selected poem-texts of Susan Griffin, feminist and poetic strength. The cycle was initially commissioned for first performance by Ashley Putnam. Ms. Lyons brings her own magic to the songs. I will say straight off that pianist Laura Ward leaves nothing to be desired given the parameters of the works.” (Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music ReviewFebruary 2018)

“…Hagen casually evokes sexy hints of Schubert, Broadway and serialism, before the music bursts into innocent lyrical love.” (Gramophone, February 2018)

“ El primer ciclo, After Words, para soprano (J. Aronson) y tenor, invita por su originalidad a seguir escuchando ávidamente ya desde la canción inicial, que entrelaza versos del poema de P. Handke, que algún cinéfilo recordará de El cielo sobre Berlín, con fragmentos del de Müller que cierra Winterreise (con sus correspondientes referencias musicales). Juegan también con los textos las dos últimas canciones del ciclo, donde el tenor canta los versos de Rubén Darío y la soprano su traducción al inglés, o donde se alternan la traducción alemana de Lutero y la inglesa de la Biblia del rey Jaime, de tres versículos de Corintios I.” (RitmoMay 2018)

Tenor Jospeh Gaines and soprano Judith Aronson, accompanied by pianist Laura Ward, record “After Words” in studio with Hagen producing.

Tenor Jospeh Gaines and soprano Judith Aronson, accompanied by pianist Laura Ward, record “After Words” in studio with Hagen producing.

Soprano Gilda Lyons recording the cycle “Phantoms of Myself” with pianist Laura Ward, produced by Hagen.

Hagen, hailed by NATS Magazine as “the finest living American composer of art song,” received the 2016 “Academy Award” from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (whose recording award partly underwrites this release) for the “outstanding achievement of a composer who has arrived at their personal voice” and a Guggenheim Fellowship based in part on these cycles. The recordings are composer-supervised, and the aesthetic unity of the recital program is uniquely focused through the guidance of Lyric Fest co-founding artistic director Laura Ward, who serves as collaborative pianist for the entire disc.
— From the Liner Notes

Preview “Wild Nights,” from Four Dickinson Songs


The disc features world premiere recordings of three major song cycles: Phantoms of Myself, commissioned by Ashley Putnam and premiered by Putnam and Hagen at the 92nd Street Y in New York City and recorded here by Gilda Lyons; After Words, commissioned by Lyric Fest, and featuring Justine Aronson and Joseph Gaines; and Songs of Experience, premiered at the Wintergreen Music Festival and recorded here by Daniel Teadt. In addition, two song groups: Four Irish Folk Songs, recorded by Suzanne DuPlantis and Kelly Ann Bixby, and Four Dickinson Songs, recorded by Ms. Bixby.

Baritone Daniel Teadt records “Songs of Experience.”

Composer-producer Daron Hagen listening to playbacks during sessions at Morningstar Studios with Lyric Fest.

Peruse the entire disc on YouTube here.