America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful

by John Williams [composer]John Williams [composer]

CD

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Overview

America the Beautiful is a collection of "typically American" songs performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra. Only a few selections are overtly patriotic ("American Salute (When Johnny Comes Marching Home)," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," and the title track); the main focus of the program is on quintessentially American composers such as Aaron Copland ("Fanfare for the Common Man," "Hoedown"), George Gershwin ("Strike Up the Band"), John Phillip Sousa ("The Stars and Stripes Forever"), Irving Berlin ("Alexander's Ragtime Band"), Scott Joplin ("The Entertainer"), Charles Ives ("Variations on 'America'"), and Meredith Willson ("Seventy-Six Trombones"), as well as traditional songs like "Prayer of Thanksgiving" and "When the Saints Go Marching In," plus the Woody Guthrie folk standard "This Land Is Your Land." While most of the material isn't exactly unfamiliar, that actually works in the disc's favor -- it comes off as a showcase of the range and depth of talent in American popular composition, and it's a fitting tribute.

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