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82 Reviews
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82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Despite a couple of misses, a compelling album
As a voice and choral instructor, I have always been intrigued by artists who attempt music for which they are not primarily known. Renee Fleming is a superb operatic soprano. She had fun with "Haunted Heart", though I found some of the arrangements to be trite and at times totally out of the original style; it was literally saved by the final "Hard Times Come Again No...
Published on November 2, 2005 by A. C. Hughes

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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somebody apparently forgot to pay the claque!
Is this Renee Flemming's best effort? Not by a long shot, but it certainly doesn't deserve the thrashing it's getting here. What's wrong with a crossover album anyway? If it exposes more people to classical music, I think it's great.

OTOH, if you're the type that regards opera as some sort of elitist bloodsport, give it a pass. For the rest of us, sit back and...
Published on October 25, 2005 by L. Buck


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82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Despite a couple of misses, a compelling album, November 2, 2005
By 
A. C. Hughes (Pulaski, TN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Sacred Songs (Audio CD)
As a voice and choral instructor, I have always been intrigued by artists who attempt music for which they are not primarily known. Renee Fleming is a superb operatic soprano. She had fun with "Haunted Heart", though I found some of the arrangements to be trite and at times totally out of the original style; it was literally saved by the final "Hard Times Come Again No More".

So I am doubly delighted with this album. Certainly, every one of these pieces has been recorded by a plethora of artists, and yes a couple of the arrangements are saccharine (I do agree that the addition of the flute in "Panis Angelicus" is superfluous and detracts from the beauty of the Franck piece),

but I think the Handel "Dank Sei Dir Herr" is breathtaking and most of the album is truly wonderful. Susan Graham is another of my favorite singers and the duet from "Hansel and Gretel" is

memorable. As for its being too heavy, the Humperdinck orchestration for "Hansel and Gretel" is as thick as anything Wagner ever wrote.

As for "Amazing Grace", which so many have trashed, this arrangement shows the folk quality of it, and I find nothing objectionable in Mark O'Connor's violin playing. The hymn itself has been played to death and is one of the favorite hymns of many people world-wide; I feel that she does it justice.

It is an album that I will listen to often...with some reservations but the whole a fine effort.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely recording, October 27, 2005
This review is from: Sacred Songs (Audio CD)
Finally a recording that is as stunning as her luminous Handel Album! Brava Renee!
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fleming delivers deeply spiritual recital disc!, September 29, 2005
This review is from: Sacred Songs (Audio CD)
Renee Fleming has followed up her great Handel recital from last year with this fantastic recital disc of sacred music. She truly does perform these with her illustrious lyric soprano voice, and she resisted being overtly operatic as many of these are chorale songs with melodic lines known the world over. She obviously wanted to focus on these beautiful melodies. Although she does many favorites such as both Ave Marias - Gounod and Schubert, she also records some lesser known gems such as the Bernstein track and the duet with mezzo Susan Graham. There are 2-3 Handel pieces for the Handel fans. I really believe she is the best soprano performing before the public today when you consider the whole package - vocal beauty, committment to acting craft, winsome personality, solid vocal technique and production, experimentation with lesser known operas, and her total presentation. The beauty of voice is here on this disc, and most of her vocal mannerisms that her detractors criticize her for are absent from Sacred Songs. It is recorded in beautiful digital sound with Andreas Delfs presiding over the Royal Philharmonic.
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surrender to the Voice of La Suprema, October 5, 2005
By 
pastre (edinburgh,UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sacred Songs (Audio CD)
The most prolific and gorgeous among all sopranos has released this collection of spitritual songs and true to her craft, has again stunned audiences with her pitch perfect golden tone, though her voice seems too creamy to some sone songs. I've always loved Emma Kirkby's "nun-like" version of Laudate Dominum. Curiously, when Madama takes over territories she hasn't trod before, she does always emerge triumphant. I think this is a hallmark of a genius. Yes, this isn't her masterpiece but still, it is La Suprema Fleming and even her harshest critics have to bow to the fact that Madama's voice ranks number one bar none.

I play the cd to relax and indulge. Ms Fleming is in her mid 40's but her voice doesn't show any hint of decline. Brava La Suprema! Brava!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely music, October 28, 2005
This review is from: Sacred Songs (Audio CD)
I'm by no means an expert but I really like this disc. My favourites are the Ave Marias and the Pie Jesu. I did prefer her Amazing Grace at the Charity even for 9/11 though. Still, a most enjoyable disc.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicately Haunting, September 29, 2005
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This review is from: Sacred Songs (Audio CD)
Sacred Songs: 16 songs, beautifully arranged, starting with Ave Maria by Bach, and going through a vast repertoire in English, French, German, and Latin. Ms. Fleming again shows why she takes risks of taking the "road not taken" and making the songs unique. The Schubert arrangement of Ave Maria alone is enough reason to buy this beautifully constructed recording. Ms. Fleming is not afraid to explore well-known Choir music such as two selections from Handel's Messiah, as well as the lesser known "L'adieu des bergers" by Berloiz.

One of the most beautiful sounding releases in Classical Music for 2005.

Yes, this isn't standard Bel Canto repertoire, and yes, this is the second CD of "alternative repertoire" of this year that she has released that had nothing to do with opera.

Before you bash this carefully constructed collection of songs, take the time to actively LISTEN to the phrasing and the interpretation of each song. Then write your review.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somebody apparently forgot to pay the claque!, October 25, 2005
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sacred Songs (Audio CD)
Is this Renee Flemming's best effort? Not by a long shot, but it certainly doesn't deserve the thrashing it's getting here. What's wrong with a crossover album anyway? If it exposes more people to classical music, I think it's great.

OTOH, if you're the type that regards opera as some sort of elitist bloodsport, give it a pass. For the rest of us, sit back and enjoy.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RENEE!!, October 9, 2005
This review is from: Sacred Songs (Audio CD)
I don't care how "well trodden" this is, how "bland" it is to some...it's fabulous to me and- IT'S RENEE FLEMING. Our National treasure. Buy the CD, like everything else with her name on it you will not be disappointed. Classic songs, beautiful voice, what else can you ask for? Buy the cd, sit back, and enjoy.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please, please disregard the negative comments, September 27, 2005
By 
This review is from: Sacred Songs (Audio CD)
First of all, never compare Renee Fleming to Charlotte Church!!! That is extremely disgraceful! Renee Fleming has one of the most beautiful, warm sounds in all of operatic history. I'm convinced that some reviewers buy famous opera stars' albums just to bash them. I am a professor of voice at a college in Louisiana, and I am here to say that Renee Fleming's voice is amazing. This album is wonderful!!! Her technique is solid and her voice is a blessing to the world. She sings with conviction without giving up her technique. Her sound is always beautiful, no matter if you agree or disagree with her interpretation of the music. So for you reviewers who obviously know nothing about classical singing, do the rest of us a favor and don't write anymore comments. Buy this album and you will be pleased. Also this music isn't meant to be sung at fortissimo, it's mostly prayers...so it should be sung with softer conviction. However, there are times when a declamatory section requires a burst of forte. Anyway, this is a fabulous album and you will be pleased.
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73 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I love it!, October 11, 2005
By 
This review is from: Sacred Songs (Audio CD)
My, there are certainly some mean-spirited persons inhabiting these reviews...

I love this set of tunes. It speaks to me. Maybe I'm just a softy or am mushy hearted - but I don't care. Renee makes beautiful music.
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Sacred Songs
Sacred Songs by Renée Fleming (Audio CD - 2005)
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