Sunday, December 4, 2011

Applause! Applause! Review of Tim DiPasqua's "Originals" by Rita Sola

This review of Tim DiPasqua's show entitled "Originals" at Don't Tell Mama was written by Rita Sola and appeared in Volume I, Issue 2 (December, 1997) of Applause! Applause! published by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens.

"Originals" - Tim DiPasqua
Don't Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street, NYC)

There was a moment in Tim DiPasqua's recent appearance at Don't Tell Mama which can only be described as tumultuous silence. It came as he sang the last note of his new song "When He Walks Through The Door." The silence, of course, was in the room, the tumult -- of emotions -- was in the listener. The song describes the destruction of a woman's soul. After becoming a wife, the fulfillment of a life-long dream, she finds herself cringing in terror each time her husband approaches. Sung and played with powerful understatement by the composer, it is a wrenching experience, particularly towards the end. After forty-five years, "A time now of truce...he won't hit any more but she still hides her head when he walks through the door." The ending: " she plays dead when he walks through the door."

It's an old mystery: why do those of us addicted to the arts so often describe as beautiful, great works that are not only sad, but painful? An example: Michelangelo's Pieta, which is, in fact, the statue of a mother holding her dead son in her arms. In Italian, "pieta" means both pity and piety, two words also used interchangeably in English until the 1600's. Then came the Age of Reason and, with it, skepticism and agnosticism. Now with pity, there is the connotation of despair; with piety, however, there is hope. Perhaps finding beauty in the tragic is, in reality, a form of faith.

Some recent songs have demonstrated this. Whether written with subtle grace as is Tom Andersen's "Yard Sale", about an AIDS victim selling all his worldly goods, or consuming rage as is Baby Jane Dexter's "Fifteen Ugly Minutes" about a violent rape, these songs are emotionally lacerating...and gorgeous. Tim's song is one of them.

Besides the one between pity and piety, there is also a fine line between a lover and a friend, Tim tells us in "When You Would Sing With Me" dedicated to his one-time (and long-time) musical partner, Tom Andersen, to whom we must be eternally grateful for encouraging Tim to go out on his own. The song is a poetic tribute to an exceptionally strong friendship. It is a spiritual, rather than a self-consciously spirited piece like many old standards of the "Put It There, Pal" variety. Instead we have, "...your heart beats with mine. I know what you're thinking even before you do." How many people do you know, even in a romantic relationship, who can say that?

There were lively numbers too in the program which was called "Originals" and certainly was. Particular favorites: "You Make Me Nuts" and "When Love Comes Around". And lovely ballads: "That Feels So Good", " I Had Myself A Lover", "Maybe You Didn't Hear Me", and more, all sung and played wonderfully by the composer who was ably accompanied by Timothy Wilson on the violin and Doug Romoff on the bass.

The run has ended but Tim DiPasqua does appear regularly at Don't Tell Mama. Next time he's back at the piano, do tell mama and everyone else you know and go.

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