WORKS: Works by Schubert, Gounod, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Bach, Poulenc, Bruch, Bernstein
PERFORMER: Cheryl Studer (soprano)Ambrosian Singers, LSO/Ion Marin
CATALOGUE NO: 435 387-2 DDD
Just in time for Christmas comes this collection of what one might call sacred lollipops. They include both Schubert’s Ave Maria and the other one by Gounod, meditating on Bach. Cheryl Studer’s beautiful soprano sounds rather anonymous in this repertory.
Not a great deal of personality shines through her workaday performances of ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’, Mendelssohn’s ‘O for the Wings of a Dove’ or Mozart’s beautiful ‘Laudate Dominum’, though she catches well the naive sincerity of ‘Pie Jesu’ from Fauré’s Requiem, and is also in her element in an aria from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Among the less familiar items are a dull prayer by Gounod, the ‘Domine Deus’ from Poulenc’s Gloria, and Bruch’s attractive ‘Jubilate, Amen’, and the singer is at her best in the ‘Simple Song’ from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass.
Some of Ion Marin’s tempi are distinctly sluggish, as though they were being conducted after a too heavy Christmas dinner. This is a pleasant enough disc to use as background music for a family reunion over the holidays, though there are livelier accounts of the much-loved Schubert, Handel and Mozart pieces to be found elsewhere. Charles Osborne