Lucky indeed am I to have seen and heard such a fantastic performance of Plain Truths on Wednesday night, March 11th, at Temple University. This was the original version, five songs with piano accompaniment. Baritone Lawrence Indik, professor at Temple University, with pianist Charles Abramovic, gave a spirited and emotional performance.
It came to me again how much the singer must take on to bring the characterization of these songs across, not least of which is “Oh, Andrew,” where he must sing the boy’s and the girl’s and the narrator’s parts. He also becomes a fiery abolitionist and an eccentric, and must sing my version of a melodramatic salon song. Indik caught the personalities spot on. Abramovic was brilliant, and captured every nuance.
I’ve since added two more songs, optional chorus, and an optional string quartet accompaniment, but in the first version the songs, with piano, are:
1. I am aware (William Lloyd Garrison)
2. Annie Lisle (Henry S. Thompson)
3. Plain Truths (“Lord” Timothy Dexter)
4. Oh, Andrew (Harriett Prescott Spofford)
5. Spirit of Freedom (Garrison)
Also on the recital was David Carpenter’s Job, for baritone, piano, and cello, which were thoughtful and intimate. The cellist and Temple professor Jeffrey Solow played lusciously.
Three Yiddish Songs by the 94-year old Montreal cantor and composer David Botwinik ended the program, and were an absolute treat: heart-rending and optimistic at the same time.
Indik inhabited the character of each set perfectly. I’m so thankful to him for championing my music, and for being such an engaging performer.
Here are notes to Plain Truths.