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Renée Fleming - Haunted Heart

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Haunted Heart

Renée Fleming

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Haunted Heart is the debut of the "other" Renée Fleming -- the smoky chanteuse lurking behind America's most prominent operatic soprano. It is a transformation so organic and whole that it may astonish even those who already know of Fleming's history with jazz singing. Make no mistake: this is not "Renée sings Jazz" in the vein of "Kiri Sings Cole Porter," or even "Dawn Upshaw Sings Rodgers and Hart." This is not an operatic voice in wonderland. It is a new voice, the voice of an entirely different musical persona, and on its own terms something quite successful. The husky yet limpid, entirely un-operatic sound Fleming cultivates for this album is distinctive and original, not the result of mimicry. But if you need an image to conceptualize what you'll hear, think Anita Baker or a leaner-sounding Patti Cathcart: deep, warm, breathy, but with deceptive freedom and clarity. Paired with the sprawling pianism of Fred Hersch and the effects-laden guitar of Bill Frisell, Fleming's singing stands strangely out of time, neither old nor fully modern. It is decidedly old fashioned in many ways, a return to the front-and-center vocalism of the 1940s and 1950s -- an album about songs, and about singing. But the eclectic track list -- including famous songs by Lennon and McCartney, Bill Carey, Stevie Wonder, Gustav Mahler (yes, that Gustav Mahler), and Stephen Foster -- could only be a product of postmodern thinking, in which boundaries of time and style become increasingly meaningless. That eclecticism is a great strength of Haunted Heart. Hearing Fleming deliver a torch song to beat all in "You've Changed," only to follow it up with the joyful "My Cherie Amour" and then a stylishly down-tempo rendition of "In My Life" gives new legs, and fresh context, to all three. But that inclusiveness eventually catches up with Fleming, and the second half of the album begins to wander as she inserts songs from the Classical repertory. Mahler's "Liebst du um Schönheit" seems lonely clothed only in sparse guitar accompaniment; and Emile Paladilhe's "Psyché" suddenly transports Fleming back to the soprano register -- the only time on the entire album when you'll be reminded of Fleming's concert singing. Fleming shows admirable expressive versatility, and fluidity that few singers of any style could match. Her singing is deeply honest and imbued with an arresting sexuality. Frisell's distinctive guitar echoes give a surreal poignancy to the plaintive "Answer Me," and a snappy good nature to "When Did You Leave Heaven?" His finest moment is the concluding "Hard Times Come Again No More," in which his gentle accompaniment mirrors the change of text and vocal inflection throughout each of the four verses. Fred Hersch's arrangements are for the most part very effective, though they have a tendency to ramble, squandering songs' momentum and sense of structure. His playing, and especially his accompanying in slow ballads, shows exquisite touch and sensitivity, and a fluid sense of rhythm that is both enveloping and clear.
© TiVo

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Haunted Heart

Renée Fleming

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1
Haunted Heart
Fred Hersch
00:05:19

ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Howard Dietz, ComposerLyricist - Arthur Schwartz, ComposerLyricist - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Hersch, Recording Arranger, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

2
River
Bill Frisell
00:04:19

Joni Mitchell, ComposerLyricist - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Hersch, Recording Arranger, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, FeaturedArtist

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

3
When Did You Leave Heaven?
Bill Frisell
00:02:52

Walter Bullock, ComposerLyricist - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Richard A. Whiting, Composer - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, FeaturedArtist

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

4
You've Changed
Fred Hersch
00:05:15

ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Carl Fischer, ComposerLyricist - Bill Carey, ComposerLyricist - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Hersch, Recording Arranger, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

5
Answer Me
Bill Frisell
00:03:47

ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Carl Sigman, ComposerLyricist - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerhard Winkler, ComposerLyricist - Fred Rauch, ComposerLyricist - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, FeaturedArtist

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

6
My Cherie Amour
Bill Frisell
00:03:20

Henry Cosby, ComposerLyricist - Sylvia Rose Moy, ComposerLyricist - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Stevie Wonder, ComposerLyricist - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Hersch, Recording Arranger, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, FeaturedArtist

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

7
In My Life
Fred Hersch
00:05:08

John Lennon, ComposerLyricist - Paul Mccartney, ComposerLyricist - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Hersch, Recording Arranger, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

8
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
Bill Frisell
00:04:08

Jimmy Webb, ComposerLyricist - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, FeaturedArtist

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

9
Excerpts From Wozzeck/Improvisation/The Midnight Sun
Fred Hersch
00:06:15

Johnny Mercer, ComposerLyricist - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Alban Berg, Composer - Lionel Hampton, ComposerLyricist - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Georg Büchner, Author - Fred Hersch, Co-Arranger, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Arranger, Co-Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joseph Francis Burke, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

10
Liebst du um Schönheit
Bill Frisell
00:02:39

Gustav Mahler, Composer - Friedrich Rückert, Author - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, FeaturedArtist

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

11
My One And Only Love/This Is Always
Fred Hersch
00:08:02

ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Harry Warren, Composer - Mack Gordon, Author - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Hersch, Recording Arranger, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Guy B. Wood, ComposerLyricist - Robert Mellin, ComposerLyricist - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

12
Canção do Amor
Bill Frisell
00:03:46

ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Heitor Villa-Lobos, Composer - Fred Hersch, Recording Arranger, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, FeaturedArtist - Dora Vasconcellos, Author

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

13
Psyché
Fred Hersch
00:02:53

ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Hersch, FeaturedArtist - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Pierre Corneille, Author - Emile Paladilhe, Composer

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

14
Hard Times Come Again No More
Bill Frisell
00:05:47

ELLIOT SCHEINER, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Co-Producer, StudioPersonnel - Stephen Foster, ComposerLyricist - Aya Takemura, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Renee Fleming, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Brian Montgomery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Doris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Ruotolo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, FeaturedArtist

℗ 2005 Universal Classics Group, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

Album Description

Haunted Heart is the debut of the "other" Renée Fleming -- the smoky chanteuse lurking behind America's most prominent operatic soprano. It is a transformation so organic and whole that it may astonish even those who already know of Fleming's history with jazz singing. Make no mistake: this is not "Renée sings Jazz" in the vein of "Kiri Sings Cole Porter," or even "Dawn Upshaw Sings Rodgers and Hart." This is not an operatic voice in wonderland. It is a new voice, the voice of an entirely different musical persona, and on its own terms something quite successful. The husky yet limpid, entirely un-operatic sound Fleming cultivates for this album is distinctive and original, not the result of mimicry. But if you need an image to conceptualize what you'll hear, think Anita Baker or a leaner-sounding Patti Cathcart: deep, warm, breathy, but with deceptive freedom and clarity. Paired with the sprawling pianism of Fred Hersch and the effects-laden guitar of Bill Frisell, Fleming's singing stands strangely out of time, neither old nor fully modern. It is decidedly old fashioned in many ways, a return to the front-and-center vocalism of the 1940s and 1950s -- an album about songs, and about singing. But the eclectic track list -- including famous songs by Lennon and McCartney, Bill Carey, Stevie Wonder, Gustav Mahler (yes, that Gustav Mahler), and Stephen Foster -- could only be a product of postmodern thinking, in which boundaries of time and style become increasingly meaningless. That eclecticism is a great strength of Haunted Heart. Hearing Fleming deliver a torch song to beat all in "You've Changed," only to follow it up with the joyful "My Cherie Amour" and then a stylishly down-tempo rendition of "In My Life" gives new legs, and fresh context, to all three. But that inclusiveness eventually catches up with Fleming, and the second half of the album begins to wander as she inserts songs from the Classical repertory. Mahler's "Liebst du um Schönheit" seems lonely clothed only in sparse guitar accompaniment; and Emile Paladilhe's "Psyché" suddenly transports Fleming back to the soprano register -- the only time on the entire album when you'll be reminded of Fleming's concert singing. Fleming shows admirable expressive versatility, and fluidity that few singers of any style could match. Her singing is deeply honest and imbued with an arresting sexuality. Frisell's distinctive guitar echoes give a surreal poignancy to the plaintive "Answer Me," and a snappy good nature to "When Did You Leave Heaven?" His finest moment is the concluding "Hard Times Come Again No More," in which his gentle accompaniment mirrors the change of text and vocal inflection throughout each of the four verses. Fred Hersch's arrangements are for the most part very effective, though they have a tendency to ramble, squandering songs' momentum and sense of structure. His playing, and especially his accompanying in slow ballads, shows exquisite touch and sensitivity, and a fluid sense of rhythm that is both enveloping and clear.
© TiVo

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