I’ll be joining the baritone Sidney Outlaw – an exceptional artist – in songs and spirituals by Harry Burleigh on Saturday, October 14, at the Newark School of the Arts. It’s a one-hour presentation, at noon, followed by a master class. It’s free but you need to reserve tickets at firstname.lastname@example.org
Burleigh – once Dvorak’s assistant in New York — is mainly remembered for turning spirituals into deeply felt concert songs. But his art songs – a separate repertoire – deserve fresh advocacy.
Our program will include “Lovely, Dark, and Lonely One” – arguably Burleigh’s peak achievement. A supreme American art song, it both sets and confutes Langston Hughes. As I’ve observed in this space and in the Wall Street Journal :
“Processing Hughes’s expression of impatience, Burleigh turns the poem upside down. . . . Not for Burleigh is Langston Hughes’s agitation, or the activism of a Paul Robeson. Nor is there the merest hint of modernist dissonance. We do not have to agree with him in order to admire the eloquence with which he here sustains his credo . . . that ‘deliverance from all that hinders and oppresses the soul will come and man—every man—will be free.’”
Sidney Outlaw will also be heard in recital at the Manhattan School of Music on October 12. And he can be heard on my upcoming NPR “More than Music” program on “Cultural Diplomacy Revisited” (Oct. 16)– memorably singing Gershwin and spirituals to fishermen in Chad.