Mavens of American song will recognize from our headnote that many of these entries are in fact excerpted from suites or cycles of songs, and of course collectors of the "complete" this or that will be saddened by that news. Yet that is also the measure of the careful process of selection employed by the splendid voice-and-piano team of DeGaetani and Kalish in winnowing their way through hundreds of possible items for inclusion in this broad-based survey of American art song–those verging on the popular not excluded (note the Stephen Foster and Carrie Jacobs-Bond selections). What is more, the lyricists include some of America's finest poets, so that these pieces represent a genuinely native response to native texts. As I writeRead more this, 1988's presidential campaign is in the final writhings of its dismal existence, which makes it a special pleasure to have something to take national pride in. The anthology is generous as to length (note that the new-to-records Charles Ives numbers include one, "The All-Enduring," which is on the CD version only; another, "Sunrise," uses a violin as well as voice and piano), ideal as to performances and sound, and enriched by extraordinarily fine notes by David Hamilton. With full lyrics included, this must-own album is a credit to producer Teresa Sterne.
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