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A Very Innocent Diversion

[Aunt Jane] began her day with music – for which I conclude that she had a natural taste…she practiced regularly every morning – she played very pretty tunes I thought – I liked to stand by her and listen to them…much that she played was from manuscript, copied out by herself – and no neatly and correctly that it was as easy to read as print. From the Memoirs of Jane Austen’s neice Caroline, 1867 Piano music seems to be very much at the heart of Jane Austen’s life. Her neice Caroline tells us that she practiced every day and the majority of music in the writer’s music collection at her house in Chawton, Hampshire, includes something to be played on the piano, whether as a solo instrument, or a song accompaniment or an important part in a chamber music piece she would have performed with friends and family. The music by Piccini, Pleyel and Eichner on this recording can all be found in the Chawton music collection. Further volumes of music known to have been associated with Jane Austen but not kept in her Chawton house include music by Haydn, and so two of his sonatas were chosen for the recording. Muzio Clementi was such a major musical figure at the time – he was active as a publisher, composer and piano maker – that his music must have been known to Jane Austen. Jane Austen’s own piano was made by Stodart and would have been very similar to

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