Michael Hume, a Washington tenor now living in New York, gave an unusually fine program of song last night at the National Gallery of Art.
The first half of the program was French: the nine songs comprising "La Bonne Chanson" by Gabriel Faure and five songs by Francis Poulenc.
The second half included three songs by Tchaikovsky, four lieder by Hugo Wolf and five Shakespeare songs by Peter Warlock and Roger Quilter.
Hume set himself a formidable task in this program. There were songs in four languages, with a wide range of emotional content. He acquitted himself with distinction.His diction was excellent, his phrasing intelligent and musical and his projection of the poetic sense of the text admirable.
He was especially effective in the French songs, capturing the balance between lyricism and declamation characteristic of this literature.
There is a lapidary quality about his singing. The impression is made not with extremes of dynamics, but with delicately controlled shading within narrow limits.
Fred Scott at the keyboard deserves equal honors. He was in complete command of the difficulties of the accompaniments and always gave just the right support. It was a night of beautiful song.
The encore was "Resume" written to words by James Agee by Washington composer Roger Haynes.