Elly Ameling

Haydn: Complete Songs

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The audiophile Netherlands label PentaTone has carved out an interesting niche, reissuing albums from the 1970s and 1980s that at the time were top of the line both artistically and sonically. This album by the great Dutch soprano Elly Ameling was originally recorded in 1980, in quadraphonic sound. Justly well known, it has already been reissued several times, but never until now remastered into hybrid SACD surround sound as it is here. Even played in conventional stereo on a good system, the sound is pristine and strikingly detailed. But best of all are the performances by Ameling and her accompanist, German Classical-era specialist Jörg Demus. Demus deserves some of the credit: he also worked with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and this recording has some of Fischer-Dieskau's slightly miraculous ability to find the nugget of greatness in a fairly workaday song by one of the masters. When it comes to Haydn, who is even less esteemed as a song composer than Mozart is, Ameling has the following to work with: a group of songs from late in Haydn's life that are seemingly slight but actually quite profound, an earlier group that's pretty basic and a miscellany of odds and ends. Ameling weaves these three groups together but basically leads off with the sets of English-language canzonettas that date from Haydn's second visit to London. These range from charming little love songs like Piercing Eyes, Hob. 26a/35, to the quite striking encounter between Haydn and Shakespeare, She Never Told Her Love, Hob. 26a/34, with its long introduction that seems to prefigure a much later era of Romantic song. Ameling is absolutely superb here, catching both small humorous details and submerged psychological currents with unerring accuracy. But she's equally remarkable in the two sets of 12 songs with keyboard, from 1781 and 1784, not major productions in Haydn's output, but each song has one clever detail to which Ameling is always sensitive. This is a disc that belongs in any Haydn collection.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
4:33
2
3:25
3
5:45
4
3:33
5
3:46
6
2:59
7
4:10
8
4:08
9
2:30
10
4:14
11
3:03
12
5:15
13
1:55
14
3:43
15
1:29
16
3:19
17
2:47
18
2:39
19
2:36
20
2:15
21
2:10
22
3:06
23
2:22

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:31
2
2:24
3
2:21
4
3:52
5
2:12
6
3:04
7
2:48
8
1:38
9
1:41
10
2:39
11
1:53
12
2:59
13
2:57
14
1:37
15
4:46
16
1:33
17
3:47
18
1:54
19
3:53
20
2:52
21
1:40
22
2:44
23
2:24
24
3:35
25
2:11
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