Packaged Pyrotechnics

PERFORMERS: KATHLEEN BATTLE and WYNTON MARSALIS

ALBUM: BAROQUE DUET

LABEL: SONY

THE BOTTOM LINE: A potent pairing, but the brilliance may be too much of a good thing.

To borrow a term from Hollywood, Kathleen Battle's recent albums have been very high-concept. Their glossy appeal can be pitched in fewer than 10 words: Kathleen Battle and ((another famous musician)) perform ((mainstream repertory)). Thus last year Battle teamed up with soprano Jessye Norman in a program of spirituals on Deutsche Grammophon that is still going strong as a crossover best seller. In January Battle released an all-Bach album with + violinist Itzhak...

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