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Poemes

16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 6, 2012
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Poemes + Guilty Pleasures + Renee Fleming - The Beautiful Voice ~ Gounod, Lehar, Orff, Puccini, Rachmaninov, Strauss
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Her performance has a grace and charisma that are quite winning . . . [there is] a melting beauty in her middle register that is especially well-suited to Strauss' melodic line . . . Fleming is at her best here, bringing to life the poignant dilemma of a woman who must choose between two suitors and in doing so pronounce a verdict on their art." -- Washington Post, 29 March 2011 (Concert review Capriccio)

From the Artist

A NOTE FROM REN‰E FLEMING For the sheer sensual joy of singing, no language gives me more pleasure than French. Not only am I drawn in by the beauty of the poetry and the evocative texture of the music, but the unaccented and legato fluidity of these phrases places my voice in its optimal resonance. My connection to Ravel's Shéhérazade dates back to my early student days - specifically, a live cassette recording of Elly Ameling and the Rochester Philharmonic. This was one of the pieces that inspired me to follow the path towards classical music. Time seems suspended in the second and third movements in a way that is especially appealing to me. More recently, serendipity proved a powerful catalyst for collaboration. It was a chance meeting at Radio France, on a day when Henri Dutilleux and I were both scheduled for on-air interviews. I declared my appreciation for his art and planted the seed for a commissioned work - all in the waiting room. Years later, I received the exciting offer to premiere Le Temps l'horloge with Seiji Ozawa in Paris and Japan. I am transported by the beauty of this work, as well as by the enigmatic, equally "musical" quality of the poetry. Henri requested that I sing Deux Sonnets de Jean Cassou, and he sent me a score into which he'd written a transposition of the first song, wanting to hear it in my voice. Nothing has been more inspiring to me as an interpretive performer than hands-on collaboration with a composer. I envy my colleagues of earlier eras, who devoted most of their time to premiering new works. When Alan Gilbert suggested I sing Poèmes pour Mi for his inaugural concert as music director of the New York Philharmonic, I was both honoured and perplexed: honoured to share such an important event with a conductor I admire; perplexed because I had always associated dramatic sopranos with the piece. Alan convinced me that the orchestration could be transparent enough, and together we found the luminosity that one associates with Messiaen in this work.

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1. Asie
2. La Flûte enchantée
3. L'Indifférent
4. Action de grâces
5. Paysage
6. La Maison
7. Épouvante
8. L'Épouse
9. Ta voix
10. Les Deux Guerriers
11. Le Collier
12. PriÃ..re exaucée
13. II n'y avait que des troncs déchirés
14. J'ai rêvé que je vous portais entre mes bras Le Temps l'horloge*
15. Le Temps l'horloge
16. Le Masque
17. Le Dernier PoÃ..me
18. Interlude
19. Enivrez-vous

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France
  • Conductor: Alan Gilbert, Myung-Whun Chung, Daniele Gatti, Seiji Ozawa
  • Composer: Maurice Ravel, Henri Dutilleux, Olivier Messiaen
  • Audio CD (March 6, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca Records
  • ASIN: B006Z94AQU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,323 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 6, 2012
Format: Audio CD
It must have taken all of Renee Fleming's clout to persuade a major label to record French orchestral songs, doubly so when two of the composers, Messiaen and Dutilleux, are modern. One expects that fleming's opera fans will stay away in droves. But whatever popularity this CD gains, it's among her very best, and at age 53 she enjoys the good vocal fortune, as did de los Angeles, of sounding young and seductive. In fact, Fleming's account of Ravel's often-recorded Sheherazade sounds at moments uncannily like de los Angeles - both a trembling and almost breathless, girlish and voluptuous at the same time. Fleming seems fully at home in French (although the printed claim that she is a Francophone belies the fact that she was born in Indiana and went to college in New York).

The Messiaen song cycle, Poemes pour Mi (Mi being the nickname of his first wife), dates form the Thirites, which means that it is written in a post-Debussy idiom before Messiaen became Messiaen. That doesn't imply conservatism. The agitated "Epouvante" ("Terror") portrays a kind of nauseous fear using a slippery, exotic sound palette that the mature Messiaen would famously extend even further. But most of the nine poems celebrate a sense of loving calm with religious overtones. Melody is not the cycle's strong point - it takes off from the sing-song style of Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande, often repeating the same note or remaining within a narrow band. Amazingly, Fleming performed the Messiaen as part of a PBS broadcast from Lincoln Center; such events are generally restricted to standard fare. Alan Gilbert conducted then and repeats here with the Orchestre Philharmonique of French Radio (one of the country's most forward-looking ensembles under their music director Myung-Whun Chung).
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By old-phonographs on March 12, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It is so exciting when a recording accomplishes something new and interesting. This is the case with the beautiful and exceedingly interesting album. The lush and beautiful Ravel and the more "modern" Messian and the fantastically beautiful Dutilleux. We are lucky that there is an artist with the stature in the business to pull off such an album at a time when the recording industry in such flux and confusion. Thank you Renee! You have done the music world a great service.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 19, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Few singers have the staying power as Renee Fleming who continues to add roles to her operatic repertoire that are challenging and still pay attention to the music for voice and piano as well as for voice and orchestra that allow her to stretch her wings even more broadly. This CD of French music is breathtakingly beautiful. Fleming sings this difficult collection of songs with orchestra with complete ease, as if each song was just a simple encore. They, of course, are not encore in nature. These are song cycles and episodes that require not only a voice capable of feats of daring but also demand the setting of moods - and Fleming succeeds on all levels.

The first cycle offered is Maurice Ravel's sensuous Shéhérazade with Alan Gilbert conducting the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Fleming floats these poems with the passion and sexuality they deserve. The poems are by Tristan Klingsor: (Asie, La flûte enchantée, and L'indifférent), breathe here both in the voice and in Gilbert's orchestral shimmer. The second cycle Poèmes pour Mi is by Olivier Messiaen and require the vocalist to find that exotic, mystical realm Messiaen inhabited. These are difficult songs but Fleming approaches them ecstatically and with fine vocalism. Gilbert again conducts.

The final cycle is a world premiere recording - Henri Dutilleux's Le Temps L'Horloge, a work written for Fleming and performed here in tandem with Dutilleux's Deux Sonnets de Jean Cassou (Dutilleux requested these songs be included). These Dutilleux works are the least known and bear no comparison, but if what Fleming does with these songs is under the guidance of the composer then they likely will remain definitive. The Orchestre National de France is conducted by Seiji Ozawa.
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By danny jones on March 28, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I believe Renee Fleming is the best soprano ever. I just love everything she does. Looking for more Jazz please.
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I bought it when I heard she would sing the national Anthem at the Super Bowl. I love her passion and her intense and most beautiful voice.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By An Chloe on December 3, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This album has way too little to do with ‘opera’, albeit sung by a leading operatic soprano, but consists of 20th-century French song cycles, of which only one, Ravel's Shéhérazade, could be described as traditional diva territory. For a singer so attuned to the undulating tones of the French language, Renée Fleming has recorded relatively little Gallic repertoire apart from the Massenet operas.
Dutilleux, who wrote Le Temps l'horloge–an exquisite meditation on the dichotomy between time measured and time experienced subjectively – for the soprano Renee Fleming between 2006 and 2009, knows how to make the voice sound fabulous, and Fleming knows how to bring out the songs to thrilling life. Seiji Ozawa leads Orchestra National de France in the live recording of the world premiere of that work back in 2009.
In the other pieces Alan Gilbert conducts Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France in studio recordings.
The conductors and the players convey an embodied understanding of this music and perform it with vibrant energy and nuance. Decca's sound is impeccable and beautifully balanced.
Messiaen's mystico-erotic Poèmes pour Mi was the property of contemporary music singers until recently. Also included is Dutilleux’s Deux Sonnets de Jean Cassou, which Fleming took into her repertory at Dutilleux's request. The Deux Sonnets de Jean Cassou was written for voice and piano in 1954, but now orchestrated by the composer especially for this recording.
The album is exquisitely assembled and rarely recorded, but also has its share of problems. Le Temps L'Horloge was taped at its 2009 premiere with the Orchestre National de France conducted by Seiji Ozawa.
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