Distant Light is Renee Flemings first foray into the hypnotic world of Scandinavian music. For her first new studio album in three years she has chosen to inspire and provoke with a daring mix of music.
The title comes from a poem in a new song cycle dedicated to Renee and here receiving its world premiere recording: Anders Hillborgs The Strand Settings.
At once atmospheric, elegiac and unsettling, the work was crafted with Ms. Flemings creamy voice in mind, wrote the New York Times at its first performance in 2013. One of Swedens brightest star composers Hillborg has a close relationship with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic where this recording was made in February 2016 with its principal conductor Sakari Oramo.
Renee couples this with three songs by Bjork in specially commissioned orchestrations by the brilliant Swedish composer and arranger Hans Ek, recorded here for the first time.
Why Bjork? Both she and Renee are recipients of Swedens Polar Music Prize. Both dare to be original. In the fascinating booklet interview Renee talks about her admiration for Bjork: Her originality is breathtaking. She just blazes her own path forward. Renee chooses the songs which mean the most to her personally and musically.
Distant Light also evokes the world of summer evenings in Tennessee which is the setting for Samuel Barbers masterpiece, Knoxville: Summer of 1915. This is new to Renees discography and one of her most requested pieces: perfect repertoire for Americas reigning diva (Washington Post).