This represents a jumbled gallimaufrey of popular middle
of the road Americana that would not shock what used to be the W.A.S.P. ascendancy.
There are a selection of modest little arrangements
including one of the American Anthem, America the Beautiful sung
by Graves, a string quartet (here unnamed) and David Perry's guitar.
This is mournful folksy devotional stuff not helped by Denyce Graves'
vibrato. I am not a great admirer of Ms Graves voice at least not when
it is called on to sustain a note with any volume.
Keith Lockhart's Star Spangled Banner is here.
This has the Tanglewood Festival Chorus singing with whispered sincerity
accompanied by the Boston Pops. A similar, though more blatant, intensity
radiates from the swinging confidence of Lift Every Voice and Sing
though I think it could go more uninhibitedly. Fiedler takes Lockhart's
place for a breathless Shenandoah.
After such awed reverence Copland's Fanfare for
the Common Man rings out from Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco
Symphony. The Variations on a Shaker Melody 'Simple Gifts' is
chuckled and spun by the Philharmonia Virtuosi conducted by Richard
Kapp. Ernest Gold's From a Distance has Galway's flute and the
Galway Pops Orchestra conducted by Vincent Fanuele in a popsy sweet-'n'-easy
listening arrangement. Richard Stoltzmann and Irina Vallecillo give
us a boozy bluesy version of Amazing Grace.
America (better known to Brits as God Save
the Queen) is taken by the Robert Shaw Chorale and RCA Victor Symphony
with Robert Shaw conducting. The Chorale are deep and rock-steady -
wonderfully coached. The same forces give us God Bless America with
a clunky moonlight serenade swing to it in Sing Something Simple
style; this will mean something to BBC Radio 2 listeners. In
the Battle Hymn of the Republic: Glory glory hallelujah is given
stentorian resolve and a very four-square swing.
Marian Anderson's darkly masculine-accented voice is
accompanied by Franz Rupp in He's got the whole world in his hands.
In religious vein the Alleluia by crack choral and symphonic
composer, Randall Thompson is sung with reserved ecclesiastical tone
similar to the sound of Rutter.
The words are not printed.
A contrasted collection of American Classics predominantly
choral, or at least vocal.
Proceeds from the sale of this CD will be donated to
the American Red Cross
See also review
by Kirk McElhearn
A contrasted collection of American popular classics
predominantly choral or at least vocal. ... see Full Review