Sacred Songs (US Bonus Track Version)
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The True Voice of an Angel
Fleming has proven herself time and again, and this album is no exception. Her broad vocal range and ability to master a repetoire containing more genres than any other opera star today is insipiring. In a previous review, a 16 year-old, aspiring singer was in awe of Fleming. I, too, while not an aspiring opera singer, am in awe of her. Neither of us are without warrant, and it is clear that Fleming has a voice that could bring opera into mainstream music. Her appearance on the Lord of the Rings soundtrack shows just how versatile she is, and how lasting she will be. "Sacred Songs" is not just a tribute to religiously themed classical music, but rather a testament to Fleming's charm and ability.
Awe-inspiring, a feast for the musical ear, truly sacred. Get it!
The Kraft of Renee Fleming
What a bounty of sacredness: two Ave Marias, Panis Angelicus, Dank Sei Dir, Herr, and He Shall Feed His Flock... And Renee is feeding her flock with elegant restraint, staying mostly in tempo and singing with the roundest, mushiest tones possible. If fabric softener had a sound, this would be it. What a collection- crossover dream list. Nothing to do with anything sacred, since these are all "bleeding chunks", pulled out of sacred works at random, but many people may be too drawn in syrup to notice. My brain ejected at the super sugary Simple Song but I have managed to revive myself with Sailing the Seas of Cheese album by Primus and that classic track, Jerry Was a Race Car Driver. God bless Primus! Fleming's Opus Sacrum offering also include Faure's Pie Jesu, a Mass for the Dead bit, pulled around vocally like taffy without putting a shred of real emotion in it. A nicely faked "mournful" and overcooked rendition of Poulenc's Domine Deus. Then Christmas fare of L'Adieu des bergers, supposedly in French, but sung in that bizarre language known as Renee Flemish, and Mariä Wiegenlied, apparently in German, and then Abends will ich schlafen geh'n, with hapless Susan Graham- how much cheese can you eat at one sitting? This Hansel and Gretel piece is so schmaltzy it will leave grease marks on your computer. Decca graciously gives us two bonus tracks on the iTunes album- I was expecting The Unchained Melody, but first we get Amazing (Dis)Grace: aided by fiddler Mark O'Connor, Fleming goes into hyperglycemic, hormonal, jazzy overdrive. I can envision the brainstorming at Decca that took place before they picked this song, the accounting team going "Panis, Ave Maria twice: check... how about that Nessun Dorma, that always sells? No? How about Amazing Grace then? With a sexy violin player AND extra sugar on top, eh, Renee?" And how about Siiiiilent Night? Classy and oh so sacred. If you are in devotional mood, get "Simple Gifts" by Bryn Terfel, with heartfelt Ave Maria and all the Panis you can eat, and find out that opera singers can sing Amazing Grace with grace instead of turning it into sentimental vomitorium. Sailing the achingly sugary sea of processed Fleming cheese is your choice. The press release for this album stated point blank that "this album offers a programme destined to score a substantial crossover hit for Decca." Amen, and Ka-ching!
Born: February 14, 1959 in Indiana, PA
Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s
Top Albums and Songs by Renée Fleming
||The End of All Things||The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)||5:12||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Gianni Schicchi: O Mio Babbino Caro||Renée Fleming||2:52||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod)||Sacred Songs||3:15||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Hallelujah||Dark Hope||7:39||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Madama Butterfly: Un Bel Dì Vedremo||Renée Fleming||4:55||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||La Bohème: Quando m'en vo||Renée Fleming||2:51||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Serse, HWV 40: Ombra mai fu, "Largo"||Renée Fleming: Handel Arias||3:04||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Amazing Grace||Sacred Songs||5:13||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Gretchen Am Spinnrade, D.118||Schubert: Lieder||3:23||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Après un Rêve||Renée Fleming - Night Songs||3:24||$1.29||View In iTunes|