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RECORDINGS: ALLA BREVE

August 31, 1986|ALLAN ULRICH

BEAUTIFUL DREAMER: THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK. Marilyn Horne, mezzo-soprano; English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Carl Davis. London 417242-1 (digital). Actually, it's the great American patriotic, pseudo-folksy, moderately inspirational songbook, with the traditional Stephen Foster-George M. Cohan melange spiced by Aaron Copland's Five Old American Songs. Horne wraps herself in Old Glory with commendable simplicity and unambiguous fervor, mining the sentiment of "I Dream of Jeannie" and "You're a Grand Old Flag" without succumbing to bathos. Given the nature of the project, Davis' arrangements are surprisingly tasteful.

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