Renée Fleming soprano
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Music director: Myung-Whun Chung
Orchestre National de France*
Music director: Daniele Gatti
World premiere recording*
CD/Download 478 3500
A NOTE FROM RENÉE FLEMING
For the sheer sensual joy of singing, no language gives me more pleasure than French. Not only am I drawn in by the beauty of the poetry and the evocative texture of the music, but the unaccented and legato fluidity of these phrases places my voice in its optimal resonance.
My connection to Ravel’s Shéhérazade dates back to my early student days — specifically, a live cassette recording of Elly Ameling and the Rochester Philharmonic. This was one of the pieces that inspired me to follow the path towards classical music.
Time seems suspended in the second and third movements in a way that is especially appealing to me.
More recently, serendipity proved a powerful catalyst for collaboration. It was a chance meeting at Radio France, on a day when Henri Dutilleux and I were both scheduled for on-air interviews. I declared my appreciation for his art and planted the seed for a ommissioned work — all in the waiting room. Years later, I received the exciting offer to premiere Le Temps l’horloge with Seiji Ozawa in Paris and Japan. I am transported by the beauty of this work, as well as by the enigmatic, equally “musical” quality of the poetry.
Henri requested that I sing Deux Sonnets de Jean Cassou, and he sent me a score into which he’d written a transposition of
the first song, wanting to hear it in my voice. Nothing has been more inspiring to me as an interpretive performer than handson collaboration with a composer. I envy my colleagues of earlier eras, who devoted most of their time to premiering new works.
When Alan Gilbert suggested I sing Poèmes pour Mi for his inaugural concert as music director of the New York Philharmonic, I was both honoured and perplexed: honoured to share such an important event with a conductor I admire; perplexed because I had always associated dramatic sopranos with the piece. Alan convinced me that the orchestration could be transparent enough, and together we
found the luminosity that one associates with Messiaen in this work.