SONGS BY PURCELL, HANDEL, MENDELSSOHN, STRAUSS, MOZART, FAURE; SPIRITUALS. Kathleen Battle, soprano; James Levine, piano. Deutsche Grammophon DG 415 361-2 (compact disc). MOZART: "ESULTATE, JUBILATE" AND CONCERT ARIAS. Kathleen Battle, soprano; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andre Previn. Angel CDC-7 47355-2 (compact disc). The DG issue condenses the typical Battle recital (this one recorded live at the 1984 Salzburg Festival) with generally ravishing results. The American soprano distills the essence of a wide range of material by finding her own interpretive solutions. The Strauss songs are remarkable for their easy charm, the Purcell group scores by intense textual projection. Even when her voice lacks the traditional weight (as in Faure's evocative "Les roses d'Ispahan"), Battle offers a satisfying emotional response. Levine's solid accompaniments occasionally rush the singer (especially in the Mendelssohn), but his tempos are preferable to Previn's metronomic beat and dubious stylistic credentials on the Mozart disc, which finds Battle troubled by the coloratura of "Esultate, Jubilate" and mystified by the heroic and pastoral sentiments of the concert arias. Excellent recording in both cases.