Will Liverman & Jonathan King – Whither Must I Wander (2020) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Will Liverman & Jonathan King – Whither Must I Wander (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/44,1kHz | Time – 50:12 minutes | 427 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Odradek Records

Whither Must I Wander, baritone Will Liverman’s debut recorded song recital, works on various levels. It is a collection of songs about wandering, a common enough theme in Romantic song for many decades. The program begins with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ early Songs of Travel, on texts by Robert Louis Stevenson, and one of these gives the album its name. Liverman and pianist Jonathan King continue with the Three Salt-Water Ballads of James Frederick Keel, a much less well known representative of the pastoral school, and King David (1919) of Vaughan Williams’ acolyte, Herbert Howells. So far, it is a fairly typical British song recital, but then the program takes a left turn into other kinds of journeys, perhaps more metaphysical. Liverman offers two traditional American songs, one harmonized by Aaron Copland and the other set anew by contemporary composer Steven Mark Kohn. The proceedings close with two German songs, one a fine setting by Nikolai Medtner of Goethe’s Wandrers Nachtlied II, and the other, Mondnacht, from Schumann’s Liederkreis, Op. 39. The effect is a deepening of the mood throughout, achieved in a wholly unexpected way. Liverman has a background in the gospel music of African American Pentecostal churches. This tradition is not heard directly in Liverman’s singing, and the sole hymn, At the River (generally known as Shall We Gather at the River?), is not of African American origin. Yet the black tradition seems to be a component of the music in some indefinable way. An impressive release from the Odradek label, and one that inspires a desire to hear Liverman in core lieder repertory.

1. Songs of Travel, IRV 77: I. The Vagabond (03:08)
2. Songs of Travel, IRV 77: II. Let Beauty Awake (01:52)
3. Songs of Travel, IRV 77: III. Roadside Fire (02:13)
4. Songs of Travel, IRV 77: IV. Youth and Love (03:44)
5. Songs of Travel, IRV 77: V. In Dreams (02:37)
6. Songs of Travel, IRV 77: VI. The Infinite Shining Heavens (02:32)
7. Songs of Travel, IRV 77: VII. Whither Must I Wander (03:56)
8. Songs of Travel, IRV 77: VIII. Bright is the Ring of Words (01:53)
9. Songs of Travel, IRV 77: IX. I Have Trod the Upward and the Downward Slope (02:21)
10. Three Salt-Water Ballads: I. Port of Many Ships (02:09)
11. Three Salt-Water Ballads: II. Trade Winds (02:17)
12. Three Salt-Water Ballads: III. Mother Carey (01:43)
13. King David (04:55)
14. At the River (04:03)
15. Ten Thousand Miles Away (Arr. Steven Mark Kohn) (04:18)
16. Wanderer’s Night Song (02:41)
17. Liederkreis, Op. 39, No. 5: Mondnacht (03:50)