I am sure Jane Austen, musical and thorough as she is, knew exactly what pieces the young ladies preformed at Mrs Coles party, but she did not specify, and as a consequence the number of possibilities exceed even the possible piano presenting patrons of Jane Fairfax.
My picks for this concert vary a lot. Here is what they are for now, and my thoughts on them.
Emma's first song: "The Boat Song" [Tune: by an anonymous and presumably Scottish person]lyrics from the famous poem "Lady of the Lake" by Sir Walter Scott,published 1810. (Sorry, I couldn't find a midi with the original lyrics. That is the tune, though.)
Emma's second song: "Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms" [Tune: My Lodging Is on the Cold Ground, Irish Traditional] collected by Thomas Moore in his second volume of Irish Melodies, published 1808, arranged by Sir John Stevenson.
For Emma, I assumed spirited and tasteful "little things that are generally accepted" meant, Scotch and Irish airs.
There had been a fashion, amounting even to a craze, for collecting folk songs from Ireland, Scotland and Wales (but
not England) - it had begun in the mid-eighteenth century, but the publishing of piano and voice sheet music from these collections really started around the turn of the century, with the likes of Thomas Moore and Robert Burns selling smash hits for piano and voice like "Auld Lang Syne" and "The Minstrel Boy" until well into the Victorian era.
I have worked on the assumption that Emma would have had nothing to spur her into buying new music, since her last annual concert with the odious Jane Fairfax in January 1812, and that any music bought as a result of that last concert, would not have been sight-read, let alone practiced to performance standard. So I looked for Emma's show pieces amongst the hits of 1805 to 1810.
I was long distracted by the hundreds of Robert Burns lyrics, but I couldn't see an elegant English gentlewoman like
Emma singing "At e'en in the gloamin', nae swankies are roamin'" very naturally and anyway, I suspect Jane Austen did not approve of Burns, so I choose instead, the throughly English Scottish lyrics of Sir Walter Scott,with that stirring, spirited, patriotic tune, so immensely popular that you might even hear it played in 2008!
I chose "Endearing Young Charms" partly because it was in Moores second volume of melodies and thus in the time-frame, and partly because it is also a favorite of Wile E.Coyote . (I blame Antoinette, (A.I.S.S.B.H))
Jane's first song: "Soave sia il vento"[Tune: Mozart K588, first published 1790] Libretto by da Ponte.
First performed in England at the King's Theatre,Haymarket in 1811. The song is in Italian of course. I give Jane Fairfax credit for some skill as an arranger, as the original calls for two sopranos (no doubt, they sung it that way with the Dixons at Weymouth), so she must incorporate the second soprano into the piano part. The song is a beautiful adieu to the friends and lovers of the singers, who have departed across the sea."Let the winds be gentle, Let the waves be calm, Let all the elements respond kindly to our dearest desires"(Or something like that. Bablefish is no proficient.)
Jane's second song: Von deiner Gut, o Herr und Gott (By thy goodness, O bounteous Lord)[Tune: Joseph Hayden, 1798] Libretto anonymous and presumably English person.
First preformed Friday 28th of March, 1800 at Covent Garden. It is the 30th song in Hayden's master work, the Creation (so scroll right down to Disc Two, 11.Part Three - The Sixth Day:Nr.30 Von deiner Gut, o Herr und Gott, if you want to listen to an excerpt) .
Splendid, sophisticated, yet sanctimonious, this duet thanks God for all that he created. The libretto takes inspiration from Milton's "Paradise Lost" as well as from the Bible.
Of course, it is not sung in Italian, but I figured that Harriet's attention would be completely occupied by Ann Cox by then, and I don't think Harriet's ear is nice enough to tell a trained voice singing in Italian from one singing in German (or English!).
Jane Fairfax continues on to the recitative that introduces the next duet, which is a solo for the Baritone to annoy Mr Knightley
Frank would have liked to continue with Holde Gattin dir zur Seite, but he is being a little willful with the claims he makes. While it is true that the strength of the song falls almost entirely on the second at first, the soprano part when it does come is demanding - left to the mercy of Frank Churchill, Jane Fairfax would have sung herself hoarse at last.
So, what are your choices, or your thoughts on mine?