DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Capturing The Spirit Of Our Times, But Is Classical Music Listening?

By Norman Lebrecht on May 21, 2021

Livermore

Dreams of a New Day: Songs by Black Composers (Cedille)

★★★★☆

🎧 Spotify | Apple Music | Amazon

In a year when every US institution is trying to fly multicultural credentials, the unanswered question is whether classical music has anything positive to contribute. No major orchestra has gone beyond the token overture or intermezzo by a minority composer, and no work by an unsung artist has yet captured the spirit of these times. For all its hiring of diversity VPs and woke PRs, the music establishment has not changed its ways, nor the audience its tastes.

The present recital is something of a breakthrough. Will Liverman, a baritone much seen at the Met, has chosen songs by Black composers of two or three generations, songs that undermine the whiter-than-white settings of bygone years. “Pale Hands I Love Thee” by Henry Burleigh (1866-1949) sounds richly, transgressively vivid beside the wispy orations of Rudolph Valentino and Richard Tauber.

An alternative “Amazing Grace”, set by Leslie Adams (b.1932), replaces humble faith with raw aspiration, unstoppable in its vigour. Two songs by Shawn E Okpebholo (b. 1981) remember racial attacks in Southern states, while Richard Farina’s “Birmingham Sunday” leaves us with a glint of hope in an all-American narrative idiom.

Liverman summons up a gamut of emotions and colours, delicately supported by pianist Paul Sanchez. I listened to this album with pleasure and affirmation. There is a wealth of diverse talent out there, and it has a variety of messages for our present confusions. All we have to do is listen.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, subscribe to Slippedisc.com.

#LUDWIGVAN

Get the daily arts news straight to your inbox.

Sign up for the Ludwig van Daily — classical music and opera in five minutes or less HERE.

Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | Meet The National Ballet’s New Principal Dancers

By Michael Vincent on June 22, 2021

The National Ballet of Canada has announced the list of dancers promoted for the 2021-22 season.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Vadim Gluzman’s Beethoven And Schnittke Is A Highlight Of The Year (So Far)

By Norman Lebrecht on June 18, 2021

Vadim Gluzman gives a gripping reading of Beethoven and Schnittke concertos, with aptly restrained support from the Lucerne orchestra and conductor James Gaffigan.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

THE SCOOP | Art of Time Ensemble Announces Pivot Towards Large Scale Productions

By Michael Vincent on June 3, 2021

Art of Time Ensemble founder Andrew Burashko announces a new direction and new team member for the Toronto-based company.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.