A less embarrassing way is to do what I have learned: make an oral introduction to the audience, give a background to the composer's history and his/her intentions with this work, even - if you think you have time - talk about how it is structured, what special features to observe and how you have worked with this. Smile at the audience and make them smile back. Now you are friends, now the ice is broken. Now they know that you have worked seriously with this, and they definitely appreciate to get some context to what they are listening at.
Make sure you know your audiences before you do this.
For instance, in London's South Bank Centre comprising three concert halls (the Royal Festival Hall being the biggest), many - probably most - in the audience are regulars and are classical music buffs, often musicians themselves. For some of the piano recitals, there are special cheap seats behind the stage for students too. Most of them have bought the season's programme booklet, which contain detailed notes on the music (all written by musicologists, sometimes with the performer's own added notes) for each concert - which assume that the reader is highly knowledgeable about classical music, with frequent references to Italian and German terms, words like 'motivic development' and 'enharmonic equivalent' and "the Darmstadt school" sprinkled in, and many other composers mentioned - and would give the performer eye-rolls if he started 'introducing' the music he's about to play and (silently and politely
) mouth "Just get on with it!". The encores are when chatting to the audience - very briefly, introducing what he's going to play (especially if it's something obscure), maybe why he chose it (and a bit of wit wouldn't go amiss) - works well.
At the other end of the spectrum are the audiences I perform for - the vast majority of whom have only heard live classical music from my previous recitals (if they have attended before), and come just to enjoy music they would never hear anywhere else. Not to hear me give a mini-lecture on classical music. (Though I have given lecture-recitals on classical music before - which were billed as such). I make myself available for anyone to ask me questions (or just chat) afterwards, and they know I won't talk down to them. The questions I've been asked range from "Is Brahms a modern composer?" to "Was that last piece a study by Liszt?" I respond accordingly and go into as much detail as they are interested in. However, many of the audience aren't interested to know more about the composers or the music: they just want to listen and enjoy it - like any pop song - and when they chat and ask questions, it's along the lines of "How long have you been playing?" or "How many hours do you practise a week?"
The last thing I want to do is to put them off from enjoying classical music in their own way, on their own terms - without any scholarly fluff that they aren't interested in.