Sensual French Masterpieces

Renée Fleming

Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Alan Gilbert
Orchestre National de France
Seiji Ozawa

CD and Download 478 3500
Release Date: February 2012

MAURICE RAVEL (1875–1937)

01I Asie 11:02
02II La Flûte enchantée 03:32
03III L’Indifférent 04:14

Poèmes pour Mi (with orchestra)

Premier Livre

04I Action de grâces 05:58
05 II Paysage 02:00
06III La Maison 01:55
07IV Epouvante 02:53

Deuxième Livre


V L’Épouse

09 VI Ta voix 03:15
10 VII Les Deux Guerriers 01:40
11VIII Le Collier 04:21
12IX Prière exaucée 03:11

Deux Sonnets de Jean Cassou

13I II n’y avait que des troncs déchirés 02:19
14II J’ai rêvé que je vous portais entre mes bras 05:30

Le Temps l’horloge*

15Le Temps l’horloge 01:43
16Le Masque 04:25
17Le Dernier Poème 02:06
18Interlude 01:20
19Enivrez-vous 04:39

Renée Fleming soprano

Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Music director: Myung-Whun Chung
Alan Gilbert

Orchestre National de France*
Music director: Daniele Gatti
Seiji Ozawa*
World premiere recording*

CD/Download 478 3500



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.