Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Il mondo della luna (1777): - Overture; - Ragion nell’alma siede
The Creation (1798): - With verdure clad the fields appear; On mighty pens uplifted soars the eagle aloft
L’anima del filosofo (1791): Overture; Al tuo seno fortunate
Die Jahreszeiten (1801): Welche Labung für die Sinne!; Licht und Leben sind geschwächet
Notturno No. 3 in C major (1792)
Solo e pensoso (1798)
Sara Macliver, soprano
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Ola Rudner
Rec. September 2001 Studio, Tasmanian SO, Hobart, Tasmania
ABC CLASSICS 472 447-2 [56.36]



If the appealing cover photograph of the solo soprano tempts the collector to look more closely at this disc, well and good. Sara Macliver may not be particularly well known in Europe, and nor is the orchestra or its Principal Conductor, but this is a distinguished and satisfying disc which will give much pleasure to lovers of good singing and admirers of the composer.

The programme is made up of an aria from two Haydn operas composed whilst he was in the service of the Esterházy family. The first of these, from Il mondo della luna, was composed for the celebrated coloratura soprano Marianna Puttler, but Sara Macliver is more than equal to the demands of the piece. There are also two arias from each of Haydn’s most famous oratorios. The two extracts from The Creation are given in English, a long-standing tradition in the United Kingdom, and sanctioned by the composer. Here, as elsewhere, the singer applies some delicate ornamentation when the main theme returns, generally to convincing effect and with only one or two surprises. The lovely little cavatina from The Seasons is beautifully done. The programme closes with a noble setting of a Petrarch sonnet. To a grave adagio, the poet wanders in the country in disconsolate reflection, but when his thoughts take a more positive turn, to conclude that love will prevail, the music becomes animated and brilliant, a jubilant conclusion to the recital. The overtures of the two operas are also given, as well a charming orchestral Nocturne, creating a programme which has been most carefully planned and which you can either dip into, as I did the first time, or listen to in one sitting, as I did the second time. Either way, the result is sheer delight.

Sara Macliver possesses a most beautiful, clear voice which easily rises into the highest register. Words are always extremely clear, and her vocal production is even throughout the range. I heard none of the intonation problems that bothered me intermittently in her performance of Orff’s Carmina Burana, also on ABC Classics. This being Haydn there is little of a tragic nature here, and hers is a voice full of smiles, though when drama is called for, as in the final aria, she is fully capable of providing it.

I recently reviewed the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven symphony cycle, and was most taken with their playing. Here too the strings impress by a remarkable unanimity of attack in rapid passages – the playing really sparkles in places – and the wind contribution, including the principals, is first class too. The conductor is fully at home with the composer’s idiom, a reliable guide in this music, and a most sensitive and attentive accompanist.

As with the Beethoven cycle the production values of this issue are extremely high, and I particularly want to draw attention to quite the most informative and readable booklet notes, by Erin Helyard, that I have seen for a long time. All sung texts are provided and translated though non-English speakers must look elsewhere. The recording is excellent.

This is altogether a most successful disc which would grace any collection.

William Hedley

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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