AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
This superb CD is worth owning just for Ernestine Schumann-Heink's 1931 recording of Taps. She was 70 at the time and had sons fighting on both sides in WW I. And there are other treasures, notably The Star-Spangled Banner in two remarkable performances by Emma Eames recorded in 1905 and Geraldine Farrar in 1916. Both sing this very difficult anthem with ease, even adding a high note at the end - helping to erase the embarrassment of the Roseanne debacle. You'll find Enrico Caruso's famous recording of Over There, and performances by famous opera stars including Rosa Ponselle, Frances Alda, Riccardo Stracciari, Lauritz Melchior, Lotte Lehmann, and two of America's greatest baritones - Lawrence Tibbett and Leonard Warren. Battle Hymn of the Republic is heard twice (Homer and Warren) in rather straight-forward arrangements (far removed from the big-scale glories of Charles Gerhardt's arrangements for Sherrill Milnes [issued on LP in 1976, never issued on CD] and Leontyne Price [recorded in 1982, once available on RCA CD 4421]. This is an important issue for Americans, a reminder of what our Country is about. Mark Obert-Thorn's transfers are perfection. Highly recommended!
R.E.B. (August 2002)