There are eleven spirituals on this CD, but it opens with a stunning traversal of seven sacred selections from the Baroque era, six selections of Bach and one of Handel. Ms. Anderson's sweetness, sincerity and artistry are complemented nicely by a young Robert Shaw conducting the RCA Symphony Orchestra (you can clearly hear the later Shaw of the Bach B Minor Mass in places, and the selection from the St. Matthew Passion is a haunting reminder that Shaw was never able to commit a complete Matthew to disc for posterity, though it was his favorite work and its recording a goal in his life - but I stray). What the Baroque selections lack in the latest in musicological authenticity they more than make up for in heartfelt simplicity and directness. It's Baroque music for the ages, and it may move you to tears.
The eleven spirituals, on the other hand, are accompanied only by an unidentified pianist, one who is certainly quite accomplished and gives Ms. Anderson a superb level of support. The question will need to be asked, I suppose, "Is there perhaps more inspiration present in the singing of the spirituals than in the Baroque selections?" Not at all; the artistry in both is equal. Indeed, modern audiences, used to hyped-up versions of these spirituals, may be slightly disappointed at the plainness of these renditions. I wasn't; I was enchanted.