The art form that became known as the lied may not have been a prominent feature of Haydn’s output, but his collections of songs for solo voice have nevertheless retained their appeal to this day. This recording presents a selection of these charming works, drawing especial attention to the two stages of development into which they are divisible: while the first set, written in the 1780s, centre around witty epigram (be they pastoral in mood, containing moralising overtones or expressing unrequited love), the second set, composed in the following decade and based on texts by the English poetess Anne Hunter, highlight what one contemporaneous newspaper described as Haydn’s ‘sophisticated popularity’ and reveal a predilection for folk song through their rhapsodic and often elegiac flavour.
Accompanied by Walter Olbertz and performing these works is one of the greatest artists of the past century, acclaimed soprano Arleen Augér. The recording is testament to what the late American singer did best: her exceptional command of the lied, which became an increasingly important part of her later career, and her predilection for the Classical and Baroque repertoires. ‘Listening to a song recorded by Arleen Auger, one might be inclined to credit the engineers for some of the apparent perfection. That any singer should be able to sustain such effortless lines, such pure and exquisitely gauged sound, so consistently, seems unbelievable. Believe it.’ (Los Angeles Times).
- It is already 20 years ago that the great soprano Arleen Auger tragically died at the age of 53, one of the most wonderful, moving and unique voices of her generation.
- This issue of Haydn songs is a tribute to that voice, which finds pure poetry, clarity and beauty in these relatively unassuming Lieder of Joseph Haydn, elegant, charming and witty as they are.
- Recorded in 1980, booklet providing liner notes, biography and songs texts in original language (both German and English).