CD review: A tale of two sopranos

Joel Kasow writes: Two recital albums on Decca have recently come our way featuring two "house"singers. Renée Fleming’s Poèmes shows off the soprano, highlighting the extraordinary vocal beauty in exotic repertoire, thus demonstrating the soprano’s eagerness to lead her fans outside the customary paths. The most familiar item, Ravel’s Shéhérazade, is given one of the slowest performances I have ever encountered, totally exaggerating the languor that is the hallmark of the piece. The colors of the voice match those of the orchestra in Olivier Messiaen’s Poèmes pour Mi, a far more subjective interpretation than, say, that of Françoise Pollet under Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra. Alan Gilbert and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France sustain her interpretation of both works. The other two works are by Henri Dutilleux, an early Deux Sonnets de Jean Cassou revised for Fleming, and the recent Le temps de l’horloge, written for the soprano. The latter was recorded ...........

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