Psalms 42 and 95 (Corboz)
Soloists/Gulbenkian Chorus and Orchestra/Corboz; Erato
Each psalm receives a respectable and respectful performance, which seems to me fatal in both respects. The singing is often agreeably expressive, especially from Christiane Baumann, who sounds authentically at home in the German text. But far too much of the orchestral score is played down as mere accompaniment, where it should have been played up for all it is worth, like coloured illustrations in the family Bible. Thus in Psalm 42 instead of the intended exultant glitter of the upper strings in no.4, the racing hallelujahs of the lower in no.6, we are offered a dim monochrome. Gladness and praise subside into lip-service; Mendelssohn's promised land is misrepresented as flowing with milk and water.
The Musical Times, Feb. 1979 (p. 132) © the estate of eric sams