Music Reviews : Robert White Honors Memory of John McCormack

In his appearance on Friday for the Da Camera Society of Mount St. Mary’s College, tenor Robert White celebrated the day--St. Patrick’s--while honoring the memory of John McCormack in the very locale, the Doheny Mansion, where the great Irish tenor frequently entertained his hosts, Edward and Carrie Estelle Doheny, in the 1920s.

While White’s narrow-gauge instrument was severely taxed by the upper extremities of some of Beethoven’s settings of Irish, English and Scottish poems--whose performance also enlisted the expert services of violinist Peter Marsh and cellist John Walz in addition to White’s ever-subtle and sensitive pianist, Samuel Sanders--the remainder of the program proved ideally suited to White’s sweet, light and true tenor.

That remainder was, in the main, McCormack repertory: tunes associated with Ireland and the Irish, such as “Then You’ll Remember Me,” “Macushla,” “Danny Boy” and Hamilton Harty’s striking arrangement of the deep and dark “My Lagan Love.” Then, too, a noble rendering of Handel’s “Where’er You Walk,” an agile, long-breathed and dramatic “Il mio tesoro” of Mozart and, of course, the McCormack signature tune, “I Hear You Calling Me.”

White makes his--and the music’s--points without mimicking the master, while his relaxed but dignified presence further enhances a light entertainment that, one realizes upon its completion, has been nourishing as well.