Smith’s ‘Truths’ looks at Port’s past

JC Lockwood’s appraisal of the upcoming premiere of Plain Truths, my failed poetry, and my burgeoning pop career, in his blog Newburyport Arts. A taste:

…But sometimes the Philadelphia-based composer takes the word thing almost to the point of obsession: By the time he gets around to writing the music, he sometimes will have spent months digging through biography and history, selecting and rejecting and editing texts. … “Plain Truths,” a 20-minute piece for baritone and string quartet based on texts of prominent Newburyporters from the community’s storied past, including the pot-boiling 19th-century novelist Harriet Prescott Spofford, the fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, and of course, self-appointed Lord Timothy Dexter, who presided over High Street, if nothing else. In fact, the title of the piece, which gets its NCMF premiere on Aug. 20, comes from Dexter’s “A Pickle for the Knowing Ones; or Plain Truths in a Homespun Dress,” an 1802 work that is part political screed, part sermon and part diatribe against anyone who owed him money… As usual, Smith got caught up in the history, especially the Dexter — so much so that he considered building the whole piece around just this one of the city’s most colorful figures…

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