Renée Fleming turned 60 shortly before the release of this album in 2019. Its contents, recorded in 2017 and 2010, still date from her sixth decade, but there is no question that Fleming has the kind of natural-sounding voice that is aging well and should have a few more go-rounds in the operatic realm, even as she takes up less-demanding fare on the musical stage. The recording of Mahler's Rückert-Lieder, Op. 44, made in 2010 with Christian Thielemann leading the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, is classic Fleming and is worth the price of admission. Sample the final song, the sublime Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, and you'll find the soprano's uncanny mixture of creamy and graceful over the long range fully intact. It's a marvelous performance. Seven years later, the news is not quite as good, although Fleming delivers distinctive readings of Schumann's Frauenliebe und -leben, Op. 42; they're on the operatic side as would be expected, but the intimate quality of these songs also serves Fleming well. Only in the set of Brahms songs does Fleming show signs of strain toward the top. The lively accompaniments of pianist Hartmut Höll are a plus, and this is a release that will more than satisfy Fleming fans.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Frauenliebe und -leben Op. 42|
|Rückert-Lieder, Op. 44|