Sacred Songs

Sacred Songs

3.6 3
by Renée Fleming
     
 
Renée Fleming still reigns as a leading diva of the opera stage, but this album of Sacred Songs finds her in a remarkably un-divalike mood, and the result is some of the most purely enjoyable singing of her career. In her opera roles, some listeners feel Fleming is "acting" a bit too much, adding interpretive

Overview

Renée Fleming still reigns as a leading diva of the opera stage, but this album of Sacred Songs finds her in a remarkably un-divalike mood, and the result is some of the most purely enjoyable singing of her career. In her opera roles, some listeners feel Fleming is "acting" a bit too much, adding interpretive shadings and nuances that can distract from the beauty of the melodies. That's not a problem for a single moment here, as the soprano simply gives us one glorious outpouring of song after another: If she hadn't already made an album called The Beautiful Voice, that title could easily apply here as well. These excerpts from masses and requiems, oratorios and cantatas, have more than sacred texts in common, for they also feature soaring lyrical lines that sound nothing less than angelic in Fleming's glistening performances. The Bach/Gounod "Ave Maria" sets the tone of purity at the outset, joined a few tracks later by an equally moving Schubert "Ave Maria." Further highlights are many: At two expressive poles, the "Laudamus Te" from Mozart's Mass in C Minor is a joyful hymn of praise and the "Domine Deus" from Poulenc's Gloria a pensive meditation. "A Simple Song" from Bernstein's Mass has never sounded lovelier, and while it may have been cheating a bit to include the "Evening Prayer" from Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel, no one is going to object to hearing this luminous duet with mezzo Susan Graham. From start to finish (another highlight, with the soprano joined by fiddler Mark O'Connor on "Amazing Grace"), these Sacred Songs capture Fleming at her finest.

Editorial Reviews

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Sarah Bryan Miller
[Grade: A] Her sumptuous soprano sound is wonderful.... This is a lovely recording.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/27/2005
Label:
Decca
UPC:
0028947571773
catalogNumber:
000519302
Rank:
22393

Tracks

  1. Ave Maria, for voice & piano (or other vocal arrangements; after Bach's Prelude No. 1 from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1)  - Charles Gounod  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  2. Cantata No. 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben," BWV 147 (BC A174): Jesus bleibet meine Freude (Jesu, joy of man's des  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  3. Dank sei dir, Herr for voice & piano  - Siegfried Ochs  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  4. Ellens Gesang III ("Ave Maria"), song for voice & piano, D. 839 (Op. 52/6)  - Franz Schubert  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  5. Mass No. 17 for soloists, chorus & orchestra in C minor (fragment, "Great Mass"), K. 427 (K. 417a): Laudamus te  - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  6. Panis angelicus for tenor, organ, harp, cello & bass  - César Franck  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  -  London Voices  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  7. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: He shall feed His flock  - George Frideric Handel  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  - Charles Jennens  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  8. Mass, theatre piece for singers, players & dancers: A Simple Song  - Leonard Bernstein  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Stephen Schwartz  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  9. Requiem, for 2 solo voices, chorus, organ & orchestra, Op. 48: Pie Jesu  - Gabriel Fauré  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  10. Gloria, for soprano, chorus & orchestra, FP 177: Domine Deus  - Francis Poulenc  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  -  London Voices  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  11. Vesperae solennes de confessore for soloists, chorus & orchestra, K. 339: Laudate Dominum  - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  -  London Voices  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  12. Messiah, oratorio (reorchestration of Handel's HWV 56), K. 572: Rejoice greatly  - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  - Charles Jennens  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  13. Hänsel und Gretel, opera: Abends will ich schlafen gehn  - Engelbert Humperdinck  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  - Susan Graham  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Adelheid Wette  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  14. L' Enfance du Christ, oratorio for soprano, 2 tenors, Baritone, 3 basses, chorus & orchetsra ("trilogie sacrée") H. 130 (Op. 25): L'adieu des bergers (The Sherpherd's Farewell)  - Hector Berlioz  - Hector Berlioz  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  -  London Voices  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  15. Maria Wiegenlied (Mary's Lullaby: "Maria sitzt am Rosenhag"), song for voice & piano (or orchestra), Op. 76/52  - Max Reger  - Martin Boelitz  - Andreas Delfs  - Renée Fleming  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope
  16. Amazing Grace  - John Newton  - Renée Fleming  - John Newton  - Mark O'Connor  - Mark Millington  - Evans Mirageas  - Chris Pope

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Sacred Songs 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though the title of this newest release from the prodigious output of Renee Fleming may suggest a recording of hymns and down-home revival songs, nothing could be further from the truth. This collection of sixteen works is gleaned from sacred music through the centuries and gives Fleming the opportunity to include in her recorded repertoire works she might otherwise not have had the opportunity to sing. While those who appreciate her gifts as a musician will treasure this very straightforward approach to some beautiful excerpts, there will be the usual detractors who find Fleming's glamour on the stage non-transferable to the CD. And it would be a shame to pass this recital by on that premise. Fleming is in fine voice, free of mannerisms, and elegant in phrasing in a wide range of works by Handel ('Rejoice greatly', 'He shall feed his flock'), Bach ('Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben'), both Gounod's and Schubert's 'Ave Maria', Mozart ('Laudate dominum' from the Solemn Vespers and 'Laudamus te' from the Great Mass), Bernstein's Mass ('A Simple Song'), Fauré ('Pie Jesu'), Poulenc ('Domine Deus' from the Gloria), Franck ('Panis Angelicus'), and other composers. She even includes the 'Evening Prayer' from Humperdinck's 'Hänsel und Gretel' with exquisite surprise gift of support from Susan Graham. The recital is conducted by Andreas Delfs with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Far from being a crossover ploy this album is a collection of beautiful music beautifully sung. Grady Harp
Guest More than 1 year ago
She has a beautiful voice and gives a brilliant performance to the pieces. Nevertheless, everything on this CD is a boring round up of the usual suspects. There is such a vast amount of unknown outstanding music out there that it is unfortunate that Ms Fleming would resort to exclusively well-known pieces. Albums like this send composers like Bach and Reger and Franck down the slippery slope of becoming one hit wonders.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago