On Tuesday, Oct. 20, senior Baron Lam performed his postponed junior recital for a small audience of voice faculty and his very supportive Delta Tau Delta brothers in Harper Hall.
A strong and stable bass, Lam’s voice exhibited quite an impressive range in his first piece, “Air de Caron” by Lully. The piece showcased not only his vocals, but boasted an emotional range as well, starting quite jauntily then taking the audience on a powerful emotional journey. His French pronunciation was great as well, which is admirable, for he admitted that it was his least favorite language to learn and sing in.
Next were two pieces by John Ireland, the second of which, “Sea Fever,” gave the Lawrence University Privateers a run for their money, describing the call to adventure that comes from the ocean. Lams’ voice carried these two Ireland pieces very well, exhibiting clear diction and telling the stories of the songs eloquently. His low voice mimicked both the lull of the rolling seas and the strength of a brave traveler. The lyrics and tone of the pieces were both compelling and beautiful.
Lam’s fourth piece was a set of six short songs by Poulenc titled “Le Bestiaire,” each about a different emotion or concept, ranging from love to death. To sing each piece in the set one after the other while imbuing all with such deep emotion is incredibly impressive. Some audience members found themselves welling up a bit at the conclusion of the set, as Lam’s gorgeous bass embodied the sadness and bleak nature of loss.
The room may have only had 10 people in it, including Lam himself and his accompanist, Nathan Birkholz, but the music swelled and filled the small hall for the 40 minutes of the recital. It is disappointing that more people could not have been there to see and hear the culmination of months of hard work, especially after the recital had to be postponed due to the pandemic. However, Lam did not let this get in the way of delivering an engaging and dramatic recital.
The performance then continued with two pieces in German by Brahams and Strauss, respectively. The Strauss, titled “Nichts,” which translates to “Nothing,” captured the imagination in particular. Lam introduced the piece, saying, “It’s about song and how little we know about it,” almost laughing to himself. He portrayed this emotion honestly and delicately, singing the song while also clearly wondering what makes music like it so special and bewitching.
Next was “A Vi Ravviso,” a piece from Bellini’s Italian opera, “La Sonnambula.” This was right in Lam’s wheelhouse, as his knack for acting and love for opera shined through during this particular performance. As was stated by one of his Delta brothers at the end of the recital, “He really has a great talent, doesn’t he?” Indeed.
The final piece was by Tchaikovsky, translated to English as “The Pilgrim’s Song.” With its contemplative mood, the song rounded out the performance quite well, leaving the audience silent for a second before bursting into an applause that seemed to come from more people than simply eight. Overall, it was a diverse and spectacular showcase of Lam’s hard work and undeniable capability as a vocalist.
The performance was live streamed and recorded and is available on the Lawrence Vimeo page.