Gustav MAHLER (1860 - 1911)
Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit
Starke Einbildungskraft [1:02]
Um schlimme Kinder artig zu machen [1:58]
Hans und Grete [3:26]
Selbstgefühl [1:31]
Ich ging mit Lust [4:25]
Scheiden und Meiden [2:18]
Aus! Aus! [2:24]
Duette für zwei Singstimmen und Klavier , Op. 63
Ich wollt, meine Liebe [2:12]
Abschiedslied [1:55]
Grüss [3:26]
Herbstlied [2:15]
Volkslied [2:13]
Maiglöckchen und die Blümelein [2:08]
Maîtrise des Bouches-du-Rhône, Jeune Choeur/Samuel Coquard, Nina Uhari (piano)
rec. 7-9 October 2011, auditorium, College Malraux, Marseille, France
Sung texts with French and English translations
‘The Maîtrise des Bouches-du-Rhône was created in 1994 by the Département des Bouches du Rhône and the French Ministry of Culture to foster the pedagogic and cultural impact of vocal training. Its primary aim was to make the practice of vocal music available to all children from the area. Since 2002, under the guidance of its director, Samuel Coquard, the Maîtrise has blossomed into a highly professional vocal group. Its unusual set up includes a preparatory choir, a junior choir, and the full choir, for a total of 80 boys and girls.
The Maîtrise is housed in Marseilles, in Collège André Malraux, and Collège Athéna.’ The liner notes also let us know that the pupils combine traditional schooling with 11 hours per week of music education and vocal training. What we hear on this disc is the Young Choir and the choice of repertoire is well suited to their fresh voices. The singing is straightforward and not too sophisticated but it is a pleasure to hear such fine intonation, such joy.
The Mahler songs are settings of texts from Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Samuel Coquard says in his notes: ‘Our interest in choosing these Lieder is based on the meaning of the poetry itself: Childhood, the wonderful and the fantastic, naivety, a carefree attitude, the child’s poetic universe, nature (birds, forests and flowers), not to mention death, which carries away children like soldiers during a war ...’ They were all composed between 1888 and 1891 when Mahler was around 30 and they belong to the most light-hearted of all his compositions. Hand und Grete, warm and inward, and one of my real Mahler favourites Ich ging mit Lust are gems here and it is a pleasure to hear them sung without the Lieder singers’ word-painting. Young voices blending beautifully are a gift from Heaven in this repertoire.
The six Mendelssohn duets were also intended for solo voices but they are also basically simple and folk-song like - one is even entitled Volkslied. There the young singers produce some fine pianissimo singing. Otherwise there are few nuances, but I suppose the aim was to be as down-to-earth as possible, and for so short a programme and so short songs it never becomes monotonous. Good piano accompaniments and good recording. This is a disc for lovers of youthful voices.
Göran Forsling 
A disc for lovers of youthful voices.