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SHORT SPINS

Pop/Celine Dion and Anne Geddes, Miracle: a Celebration of New Life (Epic). A disc, a coffee table book, and lord only knows what else marks the ultra-kitsch collaboration of the high-gloss baby photographer and the self-dramatizing French-Canadian throat goddess of pop music. Strictly as a disc, though, the insert photos border on the gross and the lullabies sung are useful only for putting infants to sleep. Not one of Cirque du Celine's better acts. Review: 1 1/2 stars (Out of 4) (Jeff Simon)

Rock/Supergrass, Supergrass Is 10: The Best of 94 -- 04 (Capitol) Britian's most significant rock export of the 90s? Quite possibly. A tour through the wonderfully weird world of Supergrass, with two new tunes to whet the appetites of Grass-heads for the future. I'm hooked. You should be too. Review: 3 1/2 stars (Jeff Miers)

Classical/Renee Fleming Handel arias (Decca) Though his operas are making a big comeback, it's easier for many to take Handel one aria at a time. And this thoughtful recording makes it easy: every aria, in the notes, is framed within the context of the opera. There's Cleopatra seducing Caesar in "Julius Caesar," and an Israelite woman in "Samson" celebrating a hero's glory (in "Let the bright Seraphim sound," an aria Kathleen Battle sang recently at UB). "Ritorna, oh caro" from "Rodelinda" is especially moving: a wife discovers that her husband is, after all, alive. Fleming appreciates the emotion, and brings it out. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment provides period accompaniment. It's commercial, sure, but delightful all the same. Review: 3 1/2 stars (Mary Kunz)

Gospel-blues-folk-rock/Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama, There Will Be a Light (EMI). A marriage made in heaven, with a group of inspired musicians reaching for the orgin of their birth on a series of uplifting gospel tunes backed by memebrs of Ben Harper's soulful band. This is as uncynical as a project like this can get; there is an organic flow throughout and a sense of necessity ties Harper's rootsy r&b approach to the Blind Boys' soul-stirring traditionalism. Listen to this; it can't promise you eternal salvation, but it will give you a temporary dose. Review: 4 stars (J.M.)

Classical/Beethoven, Cello Sonatas Nos. 4 and 5, Maria Kliegel, cello, and Nina Tichman, piano (Naxos). Go on, the price is right. Pick up this CD and, when Eastern Standard Time kicks in and we're buried in darkness, you can immerse yourself in the difficult, but strangely appealing, psyche we know as Beethoven. These two sonatas aren't immediate grabbers, but there's so much here: the intimate Adagio to No. 5, the reflective, almost eerie introduction to No. 4. Kliegel and Tichman, who are concluding their excellent Naxos Beethoven collaboration, throw in Beethoven's rather obscure Variations on "See here the conquering hero comes" from Handel's "Judas Maccabaeus." Beethoven was the master of the variation, and this robust, endlessly entertaining series proves it. Review: 4 stars (M.K.)

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