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Renée Fleming - Richard Strauss: 4 Last Songs / Orchestral Songs / Suite from "Der Rosenkavalier" - Christoph Eschenbach
Richard Strauss, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Christoph Eschenbach
Renée Fleming - Richard Strauss: 4 Last Songs / Orchestral Songs / Suite from "Der Rosenkavalier" - Christoph Eschenbach
Genres: Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

This lower-priced repackaging is most welcome, and fans of either Richard Strauss's songs or Renée Fleming should jump for joy. The wonderful American soprano's voice and particular gifts are tailor-made for Strauss's long...  more »

      
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Amazon.com essential recording
This lower-priced repackaging is most welcome, and fans of either Richard Strauss's songs or Renée Fleming should jump for joy. The wonderful American soprano's voice and particular gifts are tailor-made for Strauss's long, flowing, arching melodies. Indeed, in the Four Last Songs, as far as breath control is concerned, Fleming almost outdoes Jessye Norman; with regard to beauty of tone, she gives Gundula Janowitz a run for her money; and interpretively even Elisabeth Schwarzkopf would be proud. Fleming's voice is absolutely evenly produced, her sense of legato is ravishing (and occasionally--but only occasionally--slightly too Italianate and voluptuous for these songs), and her intelligence is keen. The five other songs, originally composed with piano accompaniment but later orchestrated by Strauss, are just as splendidly done. I doubt if "Wiegenlied" will ever be sung so beautifully again. An unimportant reading of the suite from Der Rosenkavalier rounds out this CD. --Robert Levine

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CD Reviews

An Unbelievable Interpretation
Bruce Hodges | 12/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I find it unbelievable that one could place Lucia Popp anywhere near Renee Fleming as far as Strauss interpretation (or any other interpretation, for that matter) is concerned. Popp was musical, but her voice had a tightness that is very stressful to listen to. Yes, Fleming's voice is a chocolate bath - it is purple velvet, or a deep red wine. This music could have been written for her. In this recording, we have found the ultimate Strauss singer - yes, I think she does surpass Schwarzkopf and Janowitz . There is no hurdle in the score that she can't handle, and can't handle unspeakably beautifully. This is an absolute MUST!"
Al last!
erestrepos@hotmail.com | Bogotá, Colombia | 09/11/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"At last! Since the great recordings of the Vier Letzte Lieder by Elizabeth Schwarzkopf with George Szell (EMI), Sena Jurinac with Fritz Busch (EMI Références) and Gundula Janowitz with Herbert von Karajan (DG) the recording industry was not able to produce another worthy and enough satisfying version of this Strauss' sublime and extremely difficult work. Fleming faces beautifully all the interpretive challenges, delivering an immaculate and meaningful reading of the work which makes evident a strong Schwarzkopf influence. Although all the four last songs and the extra five orchestral songs are little masterpieces of musical commitment and balance between text and music, my favourites are "Im Abendrot", "Befreit" and "Cäcilie". From the golden, velvety and magical tone employed in "Im Abendrot", going through the amazing legato and breath control of "Befreit" to the mighty power of the voice in "Cäcilie", Fleming rejoice us with one of the most superb albums of the last times. Brava! Brava! and, once again, Brava!"
Exquisite
erestrepos@hotmail.com | 08/31/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Through the tears streaming down my face at the beauty and poignancy of "Befreit", one of the additional songs included beyond the Four Last, I wholeheartedly endorse this lovely recording. I have many (many) versions of Strauss's Four Last Songs and this is in the absolute top tier. Ms. Fleming's sweet/strong/rich/emotional/shimmering voice is just what the Old Master must have had in his ear as he wrote these limpid and luscious songs."