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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Gustav Mahler - Songs of Youth (Janet Baker)


Composer: Gustav Mahler
  1. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 3. Hans und Grete
  2. Winterlied
  3. Im Lenz
  4. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 4. Serenade aus Don Juan
  5. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 1. Frühlingsmorgen
  6. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 7. Ich ging mit Lust durch einen grünen Wald
  7. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 9. Starke Einbildungskraft
  8. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 2. Erinnerung
  9. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 14. Selbstgefühl
  10. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 13. Nicht wiedersehen!
  11. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 6. Um schlimme Kinder artig zu machen
  12. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 8. Aus! Aus!
  13. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 10. Zu Strassburg auf der Schantz
  14. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 12. Scheiden und Meiden
  15. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 5. Phantasie aus Don Juan
  16. Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit: 11. Ablösung im Sommer
  17. Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: 1. Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht
  18. Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: 2. Ging heut’ Morgen über’s Feld
  19. Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: 3. Ich hab’ ein glühend Messer
  20. Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: 4. Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz

Janet Baker, mezzo-soprano
Geoffrey Parsons, piano

Date: 1983
Label: Hyperion



The Lieder und Gesange, published in 1892, are ''aus der Jugendzeit'': ''Songs and airs from the time of youth''. Im Lenz and Winterlied are early songs, written in 1880. The Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen are the songs ''of a wayfaring lad''. Hence the title given to the record. ''Mahler's Songs of Youth''. Hence, too, something of the exhilaration and freshness the whole collection imparts, despite the element of sadness. No sadness, irony or criticism need attend the observation that Dame Janet, more clearly than before on records, is no longer a youthful singer. A few years ago (or perhaps, after all, merely on another day) she would have sung the songs of youth with its own voice; now she sings with the zest of youth, the wisdom of age, a voice that if faintly 'lined' and an art that has the sure, sensitive touch of an old friend. As with Elena Gerhardt, she communicates with her whole being, so that you don't have to read the translation or text of the quiet start of ''Ich ging mit Lust durch einen grunen Wald'' to share the singer's happiness or of the line ''Nun hab' ich ewig Leid und Gramen'' to know the sorrow. The pianissimos of ''Fruhlings-morgen'' or ''mir nimmer bluhen kann'' are as tenderly magical as the high spirits of ''Ablosung im Sommer'' or ''Hans und Grethe'' are invigorating. Parsons brings an equal mastery to the accompaniments, which rather wonderfully manage to suggest their own orchestration while remaining thoroughly pianistic.

Recorded sound is admirable as is Paul Banks's sleeve-note. If further recommendation is necessary let me weight it with the word 'important'. The edition of Lieler eines fahrenden Gesellen by Colin Matthews corresponding to Mahler's final thoughts as represented by the orchestral score, is recorded for the first time; so too are the songs of 1880. Important and (more important) delightful.

-- Jonathan Swain, Gramophone

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Gustav Mahler (7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911) was an Austrian late-Romantic composer, and one of the leading conductors of his generation. As a composer he acted as a bridge between the 19th century Austro-German tradition and the modernism of the early 20th century. In his lifetime his status as a conductor was established beyond question, but his own music gained wide popularity only after periods of neglect. After 1945, Mahler became one of the most frequently performed and recorded of all composers. Mahler's œuvre is relatively small. Aside from early works, most of his are very large-scale works, designed for large orchestral forces, symphonic choruses and operatic soloists.


Janet Baker (born 21 August 1933 in Hatfield, South Yorkshire) is an English mezzo-soprano best known as an opera, concert, and lieder singer. She was particularly closely associated with baroque and early Italian opera and the works of Benjamin Britten. During her career, which spanned the 1950s to the 1980s, she was considered an outstanding singing actress and widely admired for her dramatic intensity. As a concert performer, Baker was noted for her interpretations of the music of Gustav Mahler and Edward Elgar. She was voted into Gramophone magazine's inaugural Hall of Fame in 2012.


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