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Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Anne Hunter’s Salon
Scottish Folk Songs Hob.XXXIa
English Canzonettas Hob.XXVIa
see end of review for track listing
Dorothee Mields (soprano)
Les Amis de Philippe (Eva Salonen (violin), Gregor Anthony (cello), Ludger Rémy (fortepiano))
rec. Sendesaal, Bremen, 18-21 February 2013
texts and German translations included
CPO 777 824-2 [62:16]

Haydn’s visits to England resulted in not only his last twelve Symphonies but many smaller works, such as the two little Marches written for Sir Henry Harpur of Calke Abbey, Derbyshire or the Flute Trios written for Willoughby Bertie, Earl of Abingdon. Between these two extremes in scale are the various songs he wrote to English texts and the large set of folk-song arrangements. This very entertaining disc contains a mixture of these two, the six former accompanied by the fortepiano and the twelve latter by a fortepiano trio.

I had not heard Dorothee Mields previously but was immediately struck by the delightful purity of her tone and even more by her ability to vary it, admittedly to a relatively small degree, so as to point phrasing and to characterise the individual songs. Ludger Rémy is a fortepiano player who makes the most of the instrument’s range of tone and volume and together they make much of the solo songs. I had feared that starting with three slow songs might make for monotony but such is their ability to characterise each song that this was by no means the case.

The only serious criticism that I might make is that for much of the time the words are unclear. CPO however deflect that possible criticism by printing all the words in the booklet, and I do not feel that in this instance it is a serious defect. The Scottish songs have words by Robert Burns, Allan Ramsay and other Scots authors. Having the text in front of one can be particularly helpful here, and even then without a glossary an English reader may have difficulty with the precise meaning of some of the words. Haydn himself did not have the texts when he arranged the songs so that in any event it would be unrealistic to expect as close a correlation between text and music as is the case with the English songs. Dorothee Mields negotiates the texts with great spirit, and the varying character of each song is well captured. Many are strophic in form but I never found any risk of monotony.

The booklet contains as well as the texts a lengthy and thoughtful essay by Ludger Rémy in which he discusses Haydn’s visits to London, Anne Hunter and her Salon, and Haydn’s contribution to the invention of Scotland.

All in all this is a disc of delightful music, performed with understanding and imagination, and accompanied with all the texts and information needed for full enjoyment.
John Sheppard

Track listing
The Wanderer [4:29]
The Spirit’s Song [5:54]
She never told her love [4:12]
The Waefu’ Heart [1:56]
John Anderson [1:46]
Mary’s Dream [4:05]
The Boatman [4:00]
Langolee [3:13]
Sensibility [2:27]
O Tuneful Voice [4:33]
A Pastoral Song [3:22]
Fidelity [4:16]
Jackie and Sandy [0:56]
I love my love in secret [1:25]
Gramachree [3:36]
Auld Robin Gray [5:47]
What can young lassie do with an auld man? [2:51]
Jenny’s Bawbee [4:16]