The Glenn Gould Studio
Georg Friedrich Handel: Athalia: "Gentle airs, melodious stains" – Judas Maccabaeus: "Sound an alarm"
Ludwig van Beethoven: An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98
Henri Duparc: Phydilé – L'Invitation au voyage – Le Manoir de Rosemonde – Chanson triste
Roger Quilter: Three Shakespeare Songs, Op. 6
Ernesto de Curtis: Torna a Surriento – Non ti scordar di me – Tu ca nun chiagne
Donald F. Cook (arr.): Three Sea Songs of Newfoundland
David Pomeroy (tenor), Sandra Horst (piano)
D. Pomeroy (Courtesy of the artist)
David Pomeroy has established a flourishing opera career and now, at age 39, has unveiled his first recital program. The presenter was the management of Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto’s 2600-seat symphony hall, which isn’t really suitable for song recitals. This is one of a series of four recitals by Canadian singers at the 325-seat Glenn Gould Studio.
His accompanist was Sandra Horst who is probably most widely known as the Chorus Master of the Canadian Opera Company, but who also coaches and conducts at the University of Toronto’s opera school.
Handel’s “Gentle airs, melodious strains” showed us that the voice was under good control while the following “Sound an alarm” revealed the flair and excitement that characterized the whole program.
Mr. Pomeroy ably expressed the various degrees of yearning expressed in Beethoven’s cycle of six songs, An die ferne Geliebte. (Am I alone in wishing more composers had followed Beethoven’s lead in providing a pianistic segué linking the songs in a cycle? This helps maintain the mood.)
The four Duparc songs, all supreme examples of the marriage of words and music, were vividly performed with no trace of the neurasthenic cobwebs that can cling to this composer’s works. The Arcadian atmosphere of “Phydilé” was perfectly captured by both musicians; “Le manoir de Rosemonde” was appropriately dramatic, and “Chanson triste” had the requisite long, dreamy vocal lines.
By contrast, Quilter’s Shakespeare songs were forthrightly performed, with “Blow, blow thou winter wind” especially vehement.
The three songs of Ernesto de Curtis were all sung with the heart on the sleeve - the only way to do them. After all, the number one rule when singing is “Sing it as if you mean it” - which is exactly what Pomeroy does.
Mr. Pomeroy saluted his birth province, Newfoundland, with arrangements of three sea songs (of which there is a vast number). “The Maid on the Shore” tells of a lonely sea captain who entices a maiden to visit his ship; she sings him to sleep and than makes off with his silver and gold. “The Green Bushes” is a love song with a beautifully floated ending; this was followed by the rousing “Jack was Every Inch a Sailor” complete with clarinet obbligato.
The single encore was a nicely delivered “Danny Boy”.
As the list above shows, the program was nicely varied with a selection from German, French, Italian, English, and Canadian repertoire, not to mention a sampling from the cosmopolitan baroque of Handel. It would be nice to hear him explore further repertoire - surely Schubert beckons. In any event, this program is a good start. I hope he gets a chance to take it on the road.
This was very much an opera singer’s recital with a stress on the arioso nature of the material sung. One could argue there was a lack of nuance at times - but there was immediacy and drama. A singer with such a firm, healthy voice can only be applauded for using it to the full.