Sewing the earthworm
a song cycle for soprano and piano

Brian Harman
Brian Harman
Composition Date: 2011
Duration: 00:14:30
Genre: Solo Voice, With Solo Instrument, , Keyboards


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Piano
  • 1 x Soprano
Click here to download full work (7.57 Mb - Not printable)

Programme Note:
The character in Sewing the Earthworm is inspired by 1970s punk rock icon Wendy O. Williams. The work dramatizes a private frustration as she looks back on a fragmented life, from the radical punk aesthetic to champion of environmental issues, before her suicide in 1998. This character relates to many other iconic artists: Frida Kahlo, Anaïs Nin and Elizabeth Bishop, for example. Because of these artists’ outspokenness, we find their human weaknesses even more intriguing.The setting for the piece is inspired by an anecdote about Albert Einstein: he loved to garden, but couldn’t bear the accidental killing of creatures living in the ground. Sewing the Earthworm begins with a lonely woman contemplating her garden as a haven for both herself and the many forms of life she tends to within it.The language of Sewing the Earthworm is that of myth, poetry, and spectacle. A physically deteriorating woman remains thankful that her hands can still control larger clumps of dirt in the maintenance of her private garden. She remembers her former abilities, especially with finer manual endeavours, and laments that her mind has remained long enough to know her body’s condition. When she accidentally cuts an earthworm in half while gardening, she decides to attach the pieces with needle and thread to save its life. The seemingly futile attempt is compounded by her desire to prove that physical control has not abandoned her, and the piece makes a rapid shift both musically and textually as a mental struggle takes over.

Premiere Information:
Richard Bradshaw Auditorium, Canadian Opera Company
6 Mar 2012
Carla Huhtanen, soprano; Stephen Philcox, piano


  • Call Number:
  • MV 1101 H2875se
  • Genre:
  • Solo Voice, With Solo Instrument, , Keyboards
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • May 10, 2013
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (33 p.) ;
    33 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • I: Soil
    II: Interlude
    III: Haiku for the Severed Annelid
    IV: Needle
    V: Interlude
    VI: A Second Haiku for the Severed Annelid
    VII: Sewing the Earthworm
    VIII: Epilogue

    Commissioned by Canadian Art Song Project.
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Available Products for this piece:

TitleDetailsPriceAdd this Product
Sewing the earthworm a song cycle for soprano and piano: Score
(downloadable PDF)
Sewing the earthworm a song cycle for soprano and piano by Brian Harman (Score)
Printed on demand
Sewing the Earthworm Sewing the Earthworm CD $7.99
Sewing the earthworm a song cycle for soprano and piano
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