Mstation Classical Reviews

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Tue, 01 Mar 2005

Jane Austen's Songbook

Julianne Baird, Laura Heimes, Anthony Boutte,
Karen Flint, Martin Davids, Colin St. Martin
LP, Albany Records US, through Priory in the UK

This appears to have been a labour of love by this group and rather a good one it is too. Better than "rather a good one" in fact -- much better.

Jane Austen was a keen musician and usually played her pianoforte for an hour every morning. She collected songs she liked and put them into her songbooks, eight volumes of which are still at her house at Chawton. This group sifted through the songs and here present a selection, each of which has a vocal with piano accompaniment.

The collection includes sea songs, some rollicking tales of the day, and even an early version of what became, in 1795, the post-revolutionary anthem -- the Marseillaise. Jane Austen was a royalist and there are songs sympathetic to that side as well.

I hope they sell a lot of these and are emboldened to do more. (Count K)

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