Della Reese

The Classic Della

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The pun in the title of Della Reese's most popular album for RCA Victor refers to the musical basis for these 12 songs: classical pieces originally composed by Tchaikovsky ("Symphony No. 6," "Melodie Op. 42"), Debussy ("Reverie"), Schubert ("Serenade"), Chopin ("Etude in E, Op. 10 No. 3," "Polonaise No. 6 Op. 53"), and Puccini ("Musetta's Waltz Song" from La Boheme), among others. The idea is a full-length expansion of her 1959 single, "Don't You Know," one of the biggest hits of her career (and also included here). Fortunately, Della Reese's voice -- as strong, controlled, and pitch-perfect as it had proven in the past -- is up to the challenge of such heavy material. Meanwhile, Glenn Osser's arrangements are gauzy and string-heavy, quite suited for the material and Reese's vocals. Though it's not a definitive performance, Reese admirably stretches her grasp of popular song by assimilating pieces from the classical repertoire.

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