V0450. REYNALDO HAHN: The Complete Reynaldo Hahn (Singer, Accompanist & Conductor), Songs by Gounod, Chabrier, Darcier, Bizet, Massenet, Fauré, Hahn, etc.; Arias from Così fan Tutte, Amadis de Gaulle, Le Devin du Village, Biondina, Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Venezia, La Boulangère a des Écus & Maître Wolfram; Hahn Acc.: Endrèze, Vallin & Ferrant; Gregory, Muriel, Morlet, Arletty, Ragon & Boissy: Songs by Hahn; Ô MON BEL INCONNU & CIBOULETTE - Excerpts; Hahn Cond. Singher, Heldy, Pernet, etc.: LE MARCHAND DE VENISE - Excerpts; Hahn Cond.: Mlle Merckel, Henri Merckel, Bouillon, Frecheville & Boussagol: LES INSTRUMENTS D’ORCHESTRE. 3-Romophone 82015, recorded 1909-37, incl. several Unpublished. Transfers and Notes by Ward Marston. Very Long out-of-print; Final Rare Copy! - 754238201523
“It’s most instructive to listen to Hahn’s performance of his own ‘La barcheta’, for example, from VENEZIA, the cycle in the Venetian dialect and a setting of a poem by Pietro Buratti. Hahn is utterly robust; he’s jaunty, not sexy, with the canal-lapping rhythms choppy and animated, the slither of a piano postlude at the end strong and decisive; no sensual crooning for Hahn, this is a hummed song recollected in strength not an invitation to love. Which is no more I suppose than saying that the authorial voice, in musical terms, is predominantly one that eschews emotive highlights. As with most composer-performers Hahn is straightforward and decisive. The famous recording from Così fan Tutte demonstrates perfectly the problem of Hahn’s range; he stands on some curious cusp between voice types even though as Gounod’s ‘Maid of Athens’ shows he had a non-existent top. Where Hahn really scores is in his idiomatic understanding of parlando – listen to an exceptional example in Bizet’s ‘Chanson d’avril’; there’s no real voice, as such, but the conversational ease is revelatory, the style superb.
From the same session comes one of his most famous sides, Offenbach’s ‘Les charbonniers et fariniers’ and ‘Un homme d’un vrai mérite’ (from La Boulangère a des écus). The charm is simply ineffable – lightness, perfect articulation of vowels, nostalgic reflection, all held securely in place with the briskest and most scintillating of wit. Accompanying the tenor Guy Ferrant we can hear how Hahn passed on effortless command of the Recitativo style of song making, of which ‘Chien fidèle’ is the most notable example; how wonderfully he reflects the antique delicacy of Charles d’Orléans’ poetry. As a counterblast try the almost aphoristic reticence of the piano part in ‘Paysage triste’, a wholly superior Verlaine setting. We have the added bonus of the adorable Ninon Vallin in a Hahn selection made from 1928 to 1930; highlights are the two ‘Études Latines’ from 1930 and her famous ‘Si mes vers avaient des ailes’ – all a delight. We can also hear his speaking voice in ‘Les instruments de L’Orchestre’ of the type familiar to listeners down the ages, in which he introduces the instruments (the violinists, for any lovers of French string playing, are the superb duo of Henri Merckel and Georges Bouillon).
...we shouldn’t judge him against professional singers – but strictly on his own terms, as a sort of inspired salon one-off, and yet still one of the most attractive exponents of one current in Parisian music making in the early part of the twentieth century.”
- Jonathan Woolf
"They're very collectable, these Romophone complete editions. Up they go on the shelves, and you know that there is another small but quite important area in the history of singing on records properly covered, ready for reference at any time, and reference that will be a pleasure because the standard of transfer is so reliable."
- J. B. Steane, GRAMOPHONE, Feb., 1995