The Jane Austen Collection
“Yes, yes, we will have a pianoforte, as good a one as can be got for thirty guineas, and I will practise country dances, that we may have some amusement for our nephews and nieces, when we have the pleasure of their company.”
So wrote Jane Austen (1775-1817) to her sister Cassandra on 27th December 1808. Music played a significant part in Jane’s life in the cottage at Chawton in Hampshire she shared with her mother and sister. According to Caroline, one of her nieces, she practised the pianoforte each day before breakfast, but could not be prevailed upon to perform in public.
This CD by original-instrument specialists Concert Royal presents music from the personal collection of the Austen family; music that would have been heard, if not played and sung, by Jane, her parents and her sister Cassandra. Performed in “drawing-room” style this is music presented as it would have been heard in Jane’s time.
The CD also includes extracts from “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma” and from some of Jane’s letters to her sister, including the above reference to the family’s forthcoming acquisition of a square piano, an instrument of the type used on this recording. Very different in tone (and tuning) to the modern grand piano, it is sometimes difficult to believe that this is the type of keyboard upon which many of the great works of Mozart were composed.
- The Highland Laddie (2:58)
- The Yellow-Hair’d Laddie (3:11)
- Peaty’s Mill (1:53)
- Extract 1 from Sense and Sensibility (1:13)
- Sonata V in E minor – Andantino (2:45)
- Extract 2 from Sense and Sensibility (1:14)
- The Mansion of Peace (3:43)
- Time hath not Thinn’d (3:19)
- William (2:32)
- Boulangeries (1:20)
- Cymon and Iphigenia (9:07)
- Air des Ballets de la Caravane (1:27)
- The Wedding Day (4:23)
- The Nightingale (1:31)
- Extract from “Emma” (1:16)
- The Shepherd’s Song (3:27)
- The Irishman (2:25)
Jane Austen’s enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, music is well known and has formed the basis of previous recordings. This one, by the York-based Concert Royal, uses period instruments and presents excerpts from Jane Austen’s own collection of sheet music. This not only included British music. There is no Beethoven or Mozart here, but Haydn […]”
This is a delightful idea for a recording… The non-musical items in the programme are done splendidly by the soprano Margarette Ashton… The performers are excellent. With original instruments joining a soprano voice that is small but admirably suited to the repertoire the concept succeeds. The well-recorded programme really does create images of the scene that we are intended to imagine. A recommendation then for an imaginative and enterprising CD” —Harry Downey