Composers: Schumann, Brahms and Mahler
Performers: Renée Fleming s, Hartmut Höll p, Munich PO/Thielemann
Catalogue Number: Decca 4832335
American soprano Renée Fleming has an incredibly diverse discography, following her album of musical theatre numbers, Broadway, with this new disc of lieder by Brahms and Schumann – recorded with long-time collaborator (and former teacher), pianist Hartmut Höll in 2017 – and concert recordings of Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, from 2010 performances with the Münchner Philharmoniker and Christian Thielemann.
Fleming brings her trademark lush soprano to bear on Brahms’ famous Wiegenlied, which opens the disc. These are shimmering, characterful performances – if a little mannered (the opening of her Lerchengesang is particularly syrupy). But Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben is touchingly intimate in her hands, her diction clear as a bell, and the joy and bright-eyed excitement of Chamisso’s young protagonist palpable in Er, der Herrlichste von allen and Ich kann’s nicht fassen, nicht glauben.
It’s the Mahler, however, recorded some seven years earlier, in which Fleming really shines, her gleaming soprano unfurling above the orchestra. Her rendition of Um Mitternacht is a particular highlight, Fleming soaring to a radiant climax.
She chooses to end the cycle with an agonisingly beautiful Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, her sound delicate, but glistening with emotion, against the exquisite weaving of the Munich winds.
A must-have for Renée Fleming fans.