If you buy this CD, you'll probably do so for Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait." You won't be disappointed, either, for this is one of the best renditions of that particular symphonic war-horse in print. It's well performed, and James Earl Jones's majestic voice transcends the kitschier aspects of Copland's narration.
"Fanfare for the Common Man" is also here in all its brassy glory, although if you're like me you've heard it so often it gives you a headache. But in all likelihood you haven't heard the other Copland works on this CD: "Canticle of Freedom" and the seldom-performed "An Outdoor Overture." "An Outdoor Overture" is second-tier Copland -- a pleasant symphonic poem, nothing too remarkable. "Canticle of Freedom," on the other hand, exemplifies Copland's worst tendencies as a composer; most of it is just noisy and not musically interesting.
The real surprise here is Roy Harris's three-movement "American Creed," which is both inspiring and musically sound. It is a patriotic symphony that mostly avoids bombast, and it ought to be performed far more often. Harris is a much underrated composer, and this is one of his best works.
On the whole, this CD is a smashing good classical music collection for a Flag Day or Fourth of July holiday -- or for any time you just want to celebrate being an American.