November 22, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it an A-

It seemed like a bad idea at the time, Mitchell dragging 22 catalog songs into the orchestra pit, a conceit usually favored by artistes like the Moody Blues. But the miracle is that Vince Mendoza’s symphonic arrangements sometimes place Mitchell’s alto in even more intimate climes than the scaled-back settings that surrounded her seminal soprano. (Bonus points for juxtaposing ”Slouching Toward Bethlehem” with the trudge to ”Woodstock.”)

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