ADAMS: "FEARFUL SYMMETRIES," "THE WOUND DRESSER." Sanford Sylvan, baritone; John Adams conducting the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Elektra Nonesuch 9 79218-2 (compact disc).

Based on the Whitman poem, "The Wound Dresser" is a vividly atmospheric piece, with stunning orchestral touches supporting the arching, aching, yet understated vocal line. Sylvan supplies dignity and clarity, with well-balanced accompaniment from the composer. "Fearful Symmetries" is equally deftly scored, but in the cause of a relentless pop parody. It swiftly outlasts its welcome, though the disc as a whole lasts only a stingy 47 minutes.

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