George Humphreys and James Baillieu

CHRISTOPHER SMITH The Assembly House, Norwich


The Assembly House, Norwich

Tall, fair and handsome, George Humphreys chose a programme of English song from the earlier part of the last century for his lunchtime recital. Formerly a choral scholar at St John's College, Cambridge, now a post graduate student at the Royal Academy of Music, he has a fine baritone voice. It is rich in quite dark tone, flexible and wide ranging. While it is true that he did not miss any opportunity for singing out, he also knew how effective a softer passage could be. His delicate shading of key words was a special pleasure.

Vaughan Williams' Songs of Travel came first, a celebration of the joys of the open road that is full of energy and variety. Frederick Keel's lively, less well known Saltwater Ballads invited a bit of character acting, but not too much. Shakespeare Songs by Roger Quilter were performed with meticulous attention to detail and affectionate sweetness.

As accompanist, the South African pianist James Baillieu provided the singer with support without forfeiting his own individuality. He was just as impressive as a soloist in energetic dances by Ernesto Lecuona.