The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (69): Joyce gives us a Hahn

Winerful new recording by Joyce DiDonato of a chanson by Reynaldo Hahn, Marcel Proust’s lover.

The piano line sounds suspiciously like Bach.

But no-one accused Hahn of being a great original.


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  • Charmant. Reynaldo Hahn recorded several of his melodies and even a Mozart aria, accompanying himself on piano. He was briefly chief of the Paris Opera after WWII.

    A native of Venezuela, he is portrayed in “Le rechrche de temps perdu” as the composer Vinteuil, whom I’ve surely mis-spelt, but someone will know, and perhaps even the identity of violinist Paul Morel. The Baron de Charlus is accounted for, and the cork-lined room.

    • “Who cares if it’s a Rameau-Handel-Bach pastiche?”

      Probably someone who fails to enjoy the beauty of this wonderfully performed music.

  • I particularly admire anyone who can accompany themselves . I am not really a singer, but I am an experienced accompanist , and even now with nearly 60 years of accompanying under my belt, I still cannot do it successfully . Incidentally, this is by far Hahn’s best known song, and along with Le bal de Beatrice D’Este, one of his best known works

  • Every once in a while, you get on your high horse for no apparent reason. “A Chloris” is one of Hahn very best songs. Listen to Susan Graham’s celebrated recording of Hahn songs. It is full of fresh, original and utterly memorably composed songs that those of us who love them play over and over again. Bach, Gluck or any composer of note would be flattered that he could create such a stunning evocation of their work. Joyce Di Donato plays and sings beautifully here. That is all that’s important.

  • Christopher Storey — Don’t give up. Other singers than Reynaldo Hahn have managed to accompany themselves: Nina Koshets, Rosa Ponselle, Brahms’s friend Sir Georg Henschel. There’s recorded evidence. Maybe even Gerald Moore? And of course Glenn Gould.

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