Elisabeth Schwarzkopf recorded the Richard Strauss Four Last Songs twice, so why shouldn't Renée Fleming? If I am to do Renée Fleming properly, it must include the new recording with Christian Thielemann and the Muenchner Philharmoniker. On my iPod the album is called Strauss Sanger with a funny little "o" over the "a" in Sanger. I'm sure this is supposed to be dots.
One dreams with any music that someone will come who will immerse themself into a music until it permeates their soul, and with a singer also their body, to the point where it flows out in pure ecstasy. That moment has come. For those of us who worship at the shrine of Richard Strauss this is simply bliss. Her voice is fuller than the mature Elisabeth. Strauss is about the legato, refined to its ultimate degree, and Renée completely embodies this.
The musicians are on the same page. Gott sei dank.
The album is filled out with a long section of Ariadne's music from Ariadne auf Naxos. It works well on recording, though I can't quite imagine it in the opera house.
"Zueignung" gets a rapturous rendition with a few notes I don't remember hearing before.
The album ends with a wonderful excerpt from Die Aegyptische Helena, a work with which I am entirely unfamiliar. Goddesses of the past are no longer there for us to hear and worship--this goddess of the present will help us forget them.
There is a deluxe edition of this album with tracks not by Strauss. I didn't buy it.