O Süsser Ton

O Süsser Ton Joseph Haydn
Deutsche Lieder - Arianna a Naxos

Susanne Lohmiller (Mezzosopran), Claudia Schweitzer (Cembalo, Clavichord)


CD 1

12 Lieder für das Clavier, Erster Teil (1781)/12 German Lieder, Part I (1781)
1. Teil Hob. XXVIa, 1-12

2. Das strickende Mädchen
3. Cupido
4. Der erste Kuß
5. Eine sehr gewöhnliche Geschichte
6. Die Verlassene
7. Der Gleichsinn
8. An Iris
9. An Thyrsis
10. Trost unglücklicher Liebe
11. Die Landlust
12. Liebeslied
13. Die zu späte Ankunft der Mutter

Einzelne Lieder verschiedener Art / Miscellaneous Lieder

14. Gott, erhalte den Kaiser, Hob XXVIa, 43
15. Der schlaue und diensteifrige Pudel, Hob XXVIa, 38
16. O süßer Ton, Hob. XXVIa, 42
17. Gott, erhalte den Kaiser, Hob. XXVIa, 43

CD 2

12 Lieder für das Clavier, Zweiter Teil (1784)/12 German Lieder, Part I (1781)
2. Teil Hob. XXVIa, 13-24

1. Jeder meint der Gegenstand
2. Lachet nicht, Mädchen
3. O liebes Mädchen, höre mich
5. Geistliches Lied
6. Auch die sprödeste der Schönen
7. O fließ, ja wallend fließ in Zähren
8. Zufriedenheit
9. Das Leben ist ein Traum
10. Lob der Faulheit
11. Minna
12. Auf meines Vaters Grab

Arianna a Naxos
Cantata a voce sola avec accompagnamento del Clavicembalo o Forte-Piano
Hob. XXVIb:2

13. Teseo mio ben! (Adagio Sostenuto)
14. Dove sei (Aria Largo)
15. Ma, a chi parlo (Recitativo - Andante)
16. Ah che morir (Aria)

Program Notes

Foto: Gabriele Kircher Joseph Haydn's "German Lieder" Part I and II, each part consisting of 12 lieder, were published in Vienna by Artaria in 1781 and 1784 respectively. While the first part of the cycle was composed in a year and is also conceptually homogeneous and well thought-out, Haydn had difficulties with the second part of the lieder cycle which he had promised to Artaria as early as in 1781 as "24 Lieder".

The compositional process lasted over four years until 1784, when Haydn completed the work in haste. Not without reason has Marianne Helms expressed doubt as to the order in the first edition of Part II, which rather followed the external circumstances than Haydn's overall concept.
(M. Helms: "Zur Entstehung des zweiten Teils der 24 Deutschen Lieder" [Origin of the second part of the 24 German Lieder], report on the International Haydn Congress Vienna, Hofburg, 5.-12.9.1982, for the Gesellschaft für Forschung zur musikalischen Aufführungspraxis, edit. by Eva Badura-Skoda, Henle 1986).
However, as Haydn's intentions could not be clearly determined, we have decided to follow the order in the Artaria edition of 1784.

Soon, reprints were issued in German, English, French and Danish language, also assortments of song selections. The publishers did not always follow the original order or titles in the Artaria edition.
The deviations regarding the German titles are listed below (here also, one can deduce that more care was taken in the first part of the song cycle).

Teil I      Nr. 1     "Das scherzende Mädchen"
Teil II     Nr. 1     "Jeder meint, das holde Kind" oder
                        "Warnung an Mädchen"
                         oder "Liebe ist blind"
            Nr. 2      "Ernst und Scherz" oder "Die junge Schäferin"
            Nr. 3      "An die Geliebte" oder "Liebeserklärung"
            Nr. 4      "Wünsche der Liebe"
            Nr. 5      "Gebet" oder "Gebeth zu Gott"
            Nr. 6      "Frohsinn und Liebe" oder "Die Hoffnung"
            Nr. 7     

For the lied No. 12 in Part I, "Die zu späte Ankunft der Mutter", Haydn had received from Artaria the text by Christian Felix Weiße, and feared that it could be censored. Especially here, one can appreciate the subtle underlying humour of the text, in which "authenticity" is placed higher than "modish taste" or "virtuosic conceit".

The plain keyboard score, in which the melodic line follows that of the voice, suits the tender text.
The solo lied with "clavier" accompaniment - clavier meaning in this case the clavichord - became a hit. The delicate, sensitive instrument not only matched the voice of the dilettante singers well, but also became an instrument to soothe the loneliness and the pain, comfort the heart, enlighten the soul, and symbolize the ties with the beloved. On the other hand, the delicate sound of the clavichord requires a special treatment of the voice, which poses a special challenge for trained voices.

The lied "Der schlaue und diensteifrige Pudel" owes its origin to a special circumstance, which is described so vividly by the Haydn biographer Dies, that I would like to quote the story (Biographical Reports of Joseph Haydn, recounted and edited after oral narration by Albert Christoph Dies, landscape painter, Vienna 1810, quoted after the 2nd edition Berlin 1962):
"Haydn received a letter from a young, foreign maiden (I suspect that Haydn used the word 'foreign' to thwart speculations as to her identity), which was so intimate, almost as they had known each other for 20 years. (...)
The maiden wrote that she was daughter of a captain and had fallen in love with an officer, who however would not marry her, unless Haydn, who, as she knew, could not reject a young and well-behaved maiden (Haydn could not tell this without smiling) had the mercy to help her in this with his heavenly music. She explained to him then, how and why Haydn could be of a help for her.
I shall recount only so much, that the reader would understand the situation. The maiden had sent Haydn verses, which she had written herself, and to which she wished a beautiful melody. She wanted to surprise her lover with this melody, and wanted to sing him the song. She hoped that she would be touched and thus marry her.
The readers would have by now surely speculated on the content of the poem and would expect that she would at least have sung like an angel. As to her singing, one can only presume that her voice could be touching, as she had asked Haydn in the letter, if he would please not make too much demand on her weak breast and allow her to rest often. After having read the title, the readers probably would have wondered why "a cunning and obliging poodle" should tempt an officer to marry her? Maybe, the story of the poodle would make it clear. The story is real. The poodle was the beloved property of the officer and had the best poodle intelligence (...).
The maiden thought that she could win the heart of the officer if she immortalised the deed of the poodle, and, to give Haydn a further incentive to compose a nice melody for her, she enclosed a ducat in the letter. The circumstances would not allow her to reward him as she would have liked.

Haydn composed the music (in B-flat major), sent the music with the ducat to the maiden and asked her, if she took him for such a niggard who was eager for a ducat? As a punishment, she should knit a few garters for him herself. The maiden took this seriously, sent him the garters shortly thereafter, informed him that she was ill, and added that if Haydn did not hear from her in the next fourteen days, he should consider her gone. He did not hear from her again. Probably, owing to her tuberculosis, she grieved herself to death after a danied proposal."

A lot has already been written on the lied "Gott erhalte den Kaiser". Haydn composed the lied 1796/97 for the birthday of the Emperor on the 12th February 1797.
Evidently, Haydn himself sang the lied often in the evening, accompanying himself on the "clavier" (Albert Christoph Dies).
Dies also reports on the last days of Haydn: "On the following day, actually already on the same day, on which Haydn had to lie down, he assembled his servants around him and played the Emperor lied with enthusiasm for them. To describe poetically: it was the last time, that he felt the presence of the muse, who had appeared to take leave from her favourite for ever."
We have decided to record the lied in two versions: a "chamber" version with solo voice and clavichord, and a "family" version with a small choir, in which members of all age groups sing, in accordance with the Biedermeier portrait of the imperial family.
"O sanfter Ton" is based on the English text "O Tuneful Voice" by Anna Hutner, the author of many texts in Haydn's latter song cycles, the 12 English canzonettas, published in 1794 and 1795.

The lied shows a later style through its expressive melodic lines and the keyboard score. The text was originally written as a farewell poem on the occasion of Haydn's departure in August 1795. The passionate intonation is in accordance with the mode of the late 18th century. The composition is Haydn's tribute to her in return.
("Eben komme ich von Haydn" [I have just come from Haydn]. Georg August Griesinger's correspondence with Joseph Haydn's publisher Breitkopf & Härtel 1799-1819, edit. by Otto Biba 1987, S. 224.). Our German version ist taken from a print by Breitkopf & Härtel (Leipzig).

The keyboard part of the Italian solo cantanta "Arianna a Naxos" shows a completely different nature, namely an orchestral character. Haydn probably composed the cantata at the end of 1789 and performed it many times in 1790 in Vienna in "music-loving houses". On the 12. April 1790, Haydn promised an orchestral version to John Bland, a London publisher, which however never took place. Instead, Haydn published the cantata in the keyboard version himself during his stay in London.
The first performance known to us took place with the renowned castrato Gasparo Pacchierotti (1740-1821) and Haydn himself at the keyboard at "Mrs. Blair's in Portlad Place". It was announced that Haydn will play the harpsichord, while, according to the Morning Post, a fortepiano was used. Whichever was the truth, both instruments were conceivable for the composer as well as the audience. The cantata became a hit and Haydn's most successful work of the season in England. The audience in London was charmed and "was moved to tears" according to the Morning Post.

Claudia Schweitzer

Susanne Lohmiller

Susanne Lohmiller studied voice and voice pedagogy at the Musikhochschule Freiburg/Breisgau and graduated from the Mozarteum in Salzburg with a concert diploma. She also attended seminars for early music performance with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and master classes with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Kurt Widmer. In addition, S. Lohmiller has dedicated herself to experimental music. She has performed with renowned ensembles such as "Ars Electronica" in Linz and at the Off-Festspiele "Zeitfluss" in Salzburg.
S. Lohmiller currently resides in Marburg, where she works as a voice teacher and as a concert singer for lieder, oratorio and free improvisation.

Claudia Schweitzer

Claudia Schweitzer studied harpsichord and church music. After having gained her solist diploma, she has worked as a freelance musician and music pedagogue in Melsungen. She also teaches harpsichord performance and solo correpetition at the Hochschlue für Musik und Theater in Leipzig.
Claudia Schweitzer performs solo recitals and collaborates with verious soloists, and is harspichordist of the ensemble "La Capriola".
Her musicological activities resulted in publications of baroque instrumental music and in translations of historical treatises. Currently, she is researching the life and work of the composer Madame Ravissa de Turin.

The Keyboard Instruments

For a long period of time, the harpsichord and the fortepiano stood in competition to each other, until the pianoforte finally emerged as the principal instrument. Initially, the harpsichord was superior to the fortpiano in terms of technical reliability, volume, and brilliance, while the fortepiano offered new tone colours and differentiation possibilities in dynamics. Haydn's works were written during this transition phase, and although the designated instrument for each work can be determined in certain cases by studying the style, written documents or the circumstances, such as the available instruments, Haydn's oeuvres are genrally conceivable on both the harpsichord and the fortepiano. And, as if this was not enough, there is a third possible instrument, namely the clavichord, which has a colourful timbre as that of a pianoforte, but which could only be used in the "chamber" due to its soft sound.

The abundance of "Lieder, beym Clavier zu singen" (Songs, to be sung at the clavier) from the time is an indication that the clavichord enjoyed manifold usage, which motivated us to interpret a few of the German songs, especially the more intimate ones, on the clavichord.
For the recording, we have selected the instruments as follows:

1. Harpsichord after the German models of late 18th century, built by Bernhard von Tucher, Leitheim 1998, with the dispositon 8' 8' 8' peau de buffle and lute 2. fretless clavichord after an original instrumetn by Johann Chtistian Gottlieb Schiedmayer (Neustadt a. d. Aisch, 1787), built by Jürgen Ammer, Breitenbach bei Kassel 1997.

In the latter half of the 18th century, in accordance with the new music aesthetics, many experiments were made with the harpsichord. The rigid sound of the harpsichord was to be made more flexible and richer in nuances through various swellers (especially in England), knee levers or pedals for rapid registration (France and England) or various materials (France and Germany). The plectra of the peau de buffle register are not made of quill or delrin but of buffalo leather, which produces a warmer, flattering timbre with a lighter touch.

The harpsichord was tuned after Neidhardt (1729) a1=413 Hz.

Claudia Schweitzer

Back to the List