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R. Strauss: Four Last Songs, Songs & Arias / Christian Thielemann, Renée Fleming, Munich PO

Album Summary

>Strauss, Richard : Four Last Songs, AV 150
>Strauss, Richard : Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60
>Strauss, Richard : Verführung ("Der Tag, der schwüle"), song for voice & orchestra, Op. 33/1 (TrV 180/1)
>Strauss, Richard : Freundliche Vision ("Nicht im Schlafe hab' ich das geträumt"), song for voice & piano (or orchestra)
>Strauss, Richard : Lieder (5), Op. 48
>Strauss, Richard : Lieder (8), Op. 10
>Strauss, Richard : Die Ägyptische Helena (The Egyptian Helen), opera, Op. 75 (TrV 255)
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Renee Fleming's 2008 album Four Last Songs highlighting Richard Strauss: Songs & Araia. Munchner Philharmonic. Christian Thielemann. Renée Fleming, the world's preeminent lyric soprano, is joined by Christian Thielemann, internationally acclaimed for his performances of Strauss works, for this recording of the exquisitely beautiful Four Last Songs. These enduringly popular works have become signature pieces for the soprano and she was delighted for the opportunity to work with the gifted Thielemann. In addition, Fleming performs a selection of lieder with orchestra as well as arias from Ariadne auf Naxos and Die ägyptische Helena. Also available in a special, deluxe edition! In addition to the Strauss program, a second disc which highlights Fleming's signature roles at the Metropolitan Opera is included.

This is the single CD Version. A deluxe edition is available as DEC B001185202. "To record something twice demands that the performer having something new to say, and through highlighting the subjectivity of the 'Four Last Songs' meaning, Fleming has justified the luxury afforded her. High-quality music-making, well-recorded, makes this an important release." -MusicalCriticism.com

BBC Music Magazine
Renée Fleming's first recording of the Last Songs, made in 1996 (on RCA), was distinctly mixed. Here Christian Thielemann is a much more natural Straussian, powerful and luxuriant, and Fleming's voice has gained in distinctiveness and diction, to splendidly dramatic effect, often with a real 'float' at the top.

Gramophone Magazine
As Fleming explains in a note, the Four Last Songs has become the work that she has performed most often. Throughout the four songs, Fleming not only lavishes every resource of tonal richness at her command, but she seems to be urging all sorts of extra details from the text. The sound is stupendous, Fleming's voice complemented by the Munich Orchestra, with Thielemann bringing out every detail in Strauss's nostalgic orchestration.

The Guardian
[Thielemann] gives her voice space to soar and swoop in its illimitable fashion, but refuses to indulge her much-discussed habit of dropping consonants half the time...this is a strikingly fretful interpretation that contemplates mortality with profound unease as well as resignation...Elsewhere, she gives a ravishing account of Verführung and the finest performance of Winterweihe I can think of.

The Observer - Anthony Holden
[Fleming's] voice is perfectly suited to [these 'magical late songs'] demands, less of range than of tender, expressive feeling... a must for more than merely Straussians



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Works Details

>Strauss, Richard : Four Last Songs, AV 150
  • Performer: Renée Fleming (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christian Thielemann
  • Ensemble: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 20 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1948
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Strauss, Richard : Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60 :: Ach! Wo war ich? Tot?
  • Performer: Renée Fleming (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christian Thielemann
  • Ensemble: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Composition written: 1916.
  • Running Time: 2 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1916
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Strauss, Richard : Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60 :: Ein Schönes war
  • Performer: Renée Fleming (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christian Thielemann
  • Ensemble: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Composition written: 1916.
  • Running Time: 6 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1916
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Strauss, Richard : Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60 :: Es gibt ein Reich
  • Performer: Renée Fleming (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christian Thielemann
  • Ensemble: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Composition written: 1916.
  • Running Time: 5 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1916
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Strauss, Richard : Verführung ("Der Tag, der schwüle"), song for voice & orchestra, Op. 33/1 (TrV 180/1)
  • Performer: Renée Fleming (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christian Thielemann
  • Ensemble: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Composition written: 1896.
  • Running Time: 7 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1896
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Strauss, Richard : Freundliche Vision ("Nicht im Schlafe hab' ich das geträumt"), song for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  • Performer: Renée Fleming (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christian Thielemann
  • Ensemble: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 2 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1900
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Strauss, Richard : Lieder (5), Op. 48
  • Performer: Renée Fleming (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christian Thielemann
  • Ensemble: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 2 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1900
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Strauss, Richard : Lieder (8), Op. 10
  • Performer: Renée Fleming (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christian Thielemann
  • Ensemble: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 1 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1885
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Strauss, Richard : Die Ägyptische Helena (The Egyptian Helen), opera, Op. 75 (TrV 255) :: Zweite Brautnacht!
  • Performer: Renée Fleming (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christian Thielemann
  • Ensemble: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1923-1927
  • Studio/Live: Live