Picks and Pans Review: Willie Stargell and William Warfield, Narrators; David Effron Conducting the Eastman Philharmonia

updated 09/05/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/05/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Stargell, 42, who retired last year after a splendid 20-season major league baseball career, had never attended a classical concert until the first one he appeared in. But there is a wonderful emotion and resonance in his reading of the words of Martin Luther King Jr., accompanying the composition by Joseph Schwantner, a teacher at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. King's delivery was as crucial to his speeches as the words themselves. But Stargell, though no orator, handles even a segment of the "I have a dream" speech with great dignity and feeling. His voice is unschooled, but far from unmoving. Actor-singer William Warfield delivers the Lincoln lines that accompany Aaron Copland's often rollicking, Fosteresque Portrait with more polish, but there is a little pretentiousness too. The third piece on the album is a brief instrumental overture that Washington-born composer George Walker wrote for the Eastman Philharmonia. Next to the introspective power of Schwantner's work and the vigor of Copland's, it seems nondescript.

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