Renee Fleming: Distant Light | Decca 4830415

Renee Fleming: Distant Light


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Label: Decca

Cat No: 4830415

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 6th January 2017



Renee Fleming (soprano)
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra


Sakari Oramo


Barber, Samuel

Knoxville: Summer of 1915, op.24


All is Full of Love (arr. Hans Ek)
Joga (arr. Hans Ek)
Virus (arr. Hans Ek)

Hillborg, Anders

The Strand Settings


Renee Fleming (soprano)
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra


Sakari Oramo


‘Distant Light’ is Renée Fleming’s first foray into the hypnotic world of Scandinavian music. For her first new studio album in three years she has chosen to inspire and provoke with a daring mix of music.

The title comes from a poem in a new song cycle dedicated to Renée and here receiving its world premiere recording: Anders Hillborg’s The Strand Settings

“At once atmospheric, elegiac and unsettling, the work was crafted with Ms. Fleming’s creamy voice in mind”, wrote the New York Times at its first performance in 2013. One of Sweden’s brightest star composers, Hillborg has a close relationship with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic where this recording was made in February 2016 with its principal conductor Sakari Oramo.

Renée couples this with three songs by Björk in specially commissioned orchestrations by the brilliant Swedish composer and arranger Hans Ek, recorded here for the first time.

Why Björk? Both she and Renée are recipients of Sweden’s Polar Music Prize. Both dare to be original. In the fascinating booklet interview Renée talks about her admiration for Björk: “Her originality is breathtaking. She just blazes her own path forward”. Renée chooses the songs which mean the most to her personally and musically.

‘Distant Light’ also evokes the world of summer evenings in Tennessee which is the setting for Samuel Barber’s masterpiece Knoxville: Summer of 1915. This is new to Renée’s discography and one of her most requested pieces: perfect repertoire for America’s “reigning diva” (Washington Post).

“The most sheerly beautiful soprano voice on the planet” – Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph. February 2016


... as a vehicle for the soaring purity of Fleming’s voice, and as an evocation of Strand’s very finely etched sensibility, Hillborg’s settings are genuinely beautiful and their cumulative effect is powerful. ... There’s more ravishment and vocal refinement in the work that precedes the Hillborg too. Samuel Barber’s 1938 setting of James Agee’s childhood memoir, Knoxville: Summer of 1915, is one of the most transcendentally beautiful of all 20th-century vocal works, and tailor-made for a voice of Fleming’s radiant purity.  Andrew Clements
The Guardian 11 January 2017

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