New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
As the COP26 Climate Change Conference reaches its conclusion, soprano Renée Fleming releases a new cover of Jackson Browne's environmental anthem Before the Deluge, arranged by composer Caroline Shaw, with star collaborators Alison Krauss
and Rhiannon Giddens. The trio of renowned singers are joined by Yannick Nézet-Séguin - with whom Fleming recorded her latest album Voice of Nature: The Anthropocene - for a new rendition of the song, available now on Decca Classics.
Speaking of the track, Renée Fleming says, "Alarmed by the increasing number and ferocity of climate catastrophes, I felt compelled to respond in Voice of Nature: the Anthropocene. The artist/activists and the 'back to nature' movement in the 70's inspired me, and Jackson Browne's epic Before the Deluge is just as powerful today in the face of the climate crisis. What a gift that brilliant friends Rhiannon Giddens and Alison Krauss
could collaborate with me and Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Caroline Shaw's haunting arrangement."
released Before the Deluge in 1974 on Late for the Sky, the album widely considered his masterpiece. Its lyrics describe a population's desperation as they face environmental destruction: "In their hearts, they turned to each other's hearts for refuge // In the troubled years that came before the deluge."
For this new version of the song, Fleming is joined by Alison Krauss, US bluegrass icon and recipient of a staggering 27 Grammy Awards. They have performed together previously at the Kennedy Center's American Voices festival, which Fleming hosted in 2013. They are joined by Rhiannon Giddens, another award-winning American music star. Giddens trained as an opera singer before embarking on a genre-defying career that encompasses country, blues, folk, bluegrass, and historic exploration, earning a Grammy Award and six nominations as a solo artist and as part of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Yannick Nézet-Séguin, musical director of the Metropolitan Opera, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Orchestre Métropolitain, is the stellar pianist.
Before the Deluge follows the release of Fleming's album Voice of Nature: The Anthropocene with Nézet-Séguin last month. Inspired by the solace Fleming found while hiking near her Virginia home during lockdown, Fleming marries Romantic-era songs celebrating the power of nature with new commissions by contemporary composers. Debut recordings of pieces by Caroline Shaw, Nico Muhly and Kevin
Puts highlight the fragility of the environment and the urgency of the climate crisis.
Voice of Nature earned rapturous reviews: The Financial Times praised the album's "floating silver moonbeams of sound," BBC Music
Magazine celebrated its "exquisite beauty," and Gramophone commended Fleming's "radiant tone" and "shiveringly lovely voice, from its silvery high notes to bitter-chocolate chest register." The New Yorker observed, "Fleming's voice floats and blooms" and "Nézet-Séguin's piano playing flickers like starlight."