André Rieu

Aimer

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Belgian violinist Andre Rieu, beloved icon of PBS pledge drives and other tug-the-heartstrings situations, returns with Dreaming, an album featuring sentimental tunes of stage and film, as well as Rieu's usual waltzes and familiar classical melodies. Listeners are regaled with instrumental versions of "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic, "Moon River," "Send in the Clowns," and the like, along with Greensleeves, The Blue Danube, and Albinoni's Adagio. Rieu came by his light-classical leanings honestly, taking and enjoying a job as a salon musician while a conservatory student and noticing a wide-open space in the marketplace for a latter-day Waltz King, seasoned with a dash of the late (and underrated) Ray Conniff. His arrangements (and his occasional original short compositions) are unfailingly effective. They never hog the spotlight for Rieu's own violin, which instead becomes one of many subtle accents that emerges from the homogeneous string texture. There's basically one tempo, moderato, basically one mood, unctuous, and hardly more than one dynamic level, middling. The splendid wit of Rieu's supposed idol Johann Strauss Jr. is entirely absent, and the wordless vocal choruses added to some numbers intensify the Mantovani ambiance. But there's no question about it -- customers in search of nostalgic music to shed a quiet tear by will find what they're looking for here. Part of the credit goes to Denon's terrific sound, which lets every bit of surface detail be heard even as every rough edge is smoothed down.