I wonder as I wander: Songs by Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler & Britten | BIS BIS2475

I wonder as I wander: Songs by Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler & Britten


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Label: BIS

Cat No: BIS2475

Format: SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 8th January 2021



James Newby (baritone)
Joseph Middleton (piano)


Beethoven, Ludwig van

Adelaide, op.46
An die ferne Geliebte, op.98
Lieder (8), op.52
» no.4 Mailied

Britten, Benjamin

Folksong arrangements Vol.3 'British Isles'
» no.2 There's none to soothe
Folksong arrangements Vol.4 'Moore's Irish Melodies'
» no.5 At the mid hour of night
» no.9 The last rose of summer
I wonder as I wander

Mahler, Gustav

Des Knaben Wunderhorn
» no.11a Urlicht
» no.11b Revelge
Lieder und Gesange aus der Jugendzeit, Book 3
» no.1 Zu Strassburg auf der Schanz

Schubert, Franz

Abendstern, D806
Auf der Donau, D553
Der Wanderer, D489
Der Wanderer, D649
Im Freien, D880


James Newby (baritone)
Joseph Middleton (piano)


When deciding on the repertoire for his début disc, James Newby’s first choice fell on An die ferne Geliebte, songs that he had been performing ever since the beginning of his career. But Beethoven’s song cycle – and perhaps even more so the quasi-operatic Adelaide – also sets a tone for the entire disc, that of longing and of wanting to be elsewhere, near the distant beloved. These are emotions that Schubert, perhaps more than any other composer, has plumbed in depth, and Newby went on to select five of his songs that in various ways depict the restlessness and loneliness of the eternal wanderer.

Mahler is another composer who knew something about longing – for instance that it can be deadly, which he demonstrated with his Zu Straßburg auf der Schanz, in which a soldier awaits execution after trying to desert to his homeland while the piano imitates the muffled rolling of drums. The military theme continues in the high-strung Revelge, as a young soldier marches towards his death, thinking about his sweetheart with ever-greater desperation. The final song by Mahler, Urlicht, expresses the anguish and pain of earthly life, and the longing for Heaven and, in effect, death. Framing this programme with five folk song arrangements by Benjamin Britten, James Newby and Joseph Middleton, his partner at the piano, explore Man’s never-ending search (geographical or psychological) for that distant object of desire: who, what or wherever it may be.

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