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RECORDINGS

The poetry of the 18th century writer Robert Burns continues to attract composers. Choral veteran Robert DeCormier is only the latest; his cantata, “The Jolly Beggars,” occupies more than half of this engaging, handsomely sung and played recording, with sharply enunciated texts consistently brought forward in the performances. “Beggars” makes a clear narrative out of nine unrelated poems by the Scottish icon; as delivereed by these forces--including several excellent vocal soloists, among them David Dusing and Eileen Clark-Reisner--the total is touching and irresistible. The other composers, whose settings are also appropriately effective, are Vaughan Williams, Shostakovich, William Mayer, Haydn and Beethoven. Their handiwork is in all cases served well by the performers and conductor.


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