“Captain Tobias Hume” – Concerto Caledonia/ David McGuinness – Delphian DCD 34140, 57:22 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****:
Tobias Hume is the subject of Concerto Caledonia’s fifth outing on Delphian, the composer himself subject to no less than seven other complete discs so far—not bad for a guy whom we know almost nothing about.
He was a confirmed military man with one “feminine”—as he called it—affection, which was music. He was born sometime between 1565-79, and we know that no less a personage than Dowland knew of him, primarily because the latter defended the lute against Hume’s professed preference of the viol. His old age, if we can believe his letters, were not easy and near-destitute, not uncommon for a soldier back then—or now—despite the excellence of the military record. His music is wonderful, unmannered, creative, and simply self-reliant and direct in its communicability. The two sources here are his First Part of Ayres: Captain Humes Musicall Humors and Captain Humes Poeticall Musicke, the latter more focused in intention and directed at solicitation of funds in London from high-up sources, hence the many dedicated pieces.
Concerto Caledonia plays these works with humor, pathos, and an irrepressible spirit that one wonders if even Hume might think a little over the top. Their mastery of this music is unquestioned, and the sound, while vivid and well-spread, is also a little bright and harsh, easily corrected by turning the volume down as the whole seems to have been recorded at a very high level. Nevertheless, this is a fine recording that more than does justice to this worthy and curiously creative spirit who would have been proud to have all this attention today.
TrackList: A Mery Conceit; The Queens delight; What greater griefe; A Spanish humor: The Lord Hayes favoret; Fain would I change that note; The virgins muse: The Lady Arbellaes favoret; Be merry a day will come; A Toy; Ha Couragie; A Merry meeting; A Galliard 3; The Lady of Sussex delight; A Pollish Vilanell; Tobacco, tobacco; Maister Crasse his Almayne; A Galliard 5; The Earle of Pembrooke’s Galiard; A Souldiers Song; A Souldiers Galliard; Tickell, Tickell; I’m falling; Tickle me quickly ; Captaine Hume’s Galliard; My hope is revived; Cease leaden slumber; An Almaine; The Spirit of the Almayne; The Duke of Holstone’s Almaine; Give you go[o]d morrowe Madam