Michel Corboz

Voices of the Soul

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Voices of the Soul Review

by James Manheim

Despite the cheesy cover design, this is a compilation that starts out with a big advantage: it offers a consistent musical point of view. The various singers, choirs, and orchestras are conducted by Michel Corboz, a veteran Swiss-born musician who has been active in Lausanne and in Lisbon, Portugal, and whose choruses have spawned an impressive number of European vocal careers. The reason is that Corboz forges a rich yet precise blend in all the vocal music he conducts. In some of the earlier music on the program here, his style sounds almost luxuriant; with the later music, such as the selections by Fauré, it seems calm and detached. But his recordings are of consistently high quality, and these (save perhaps for the overdone "Laudamus te" from the Bach Mass in B minor from a young Sandrine Piau) are no exception. The program is unusual, with many pieces setting texts from the Catholic mass and the last part of the program devoted mostly to the Requiem mass. There is a certain somberness to the collection, but these nineteenth century settings are more concerned with what would now be called spirituality than with funereal sentiments. The listener looking for vocal and choral pieces that convey a sense of calm will find them here, and performance of the Mozart Requiem in D minor, K. 626, from which the last two tracks are taken is one of the all-time greats; sample the unbearably rich vocal quartets in the Recordare, track 15. Another bonus is the inclusion of two tracks from the fairly obscure Requiem of Portuguese composer João Domingos Bomtempo (whose name -- he should have been a conductor! -- is inaccurately rendered in the rudimentary packaging), a pleasant work that views the Viennese Classical style from a distance. The packaging gives no clue at all to the origins of these works other than performance marks of 1989 and 1996; some of the selections seem to be older than that, and the sound environments are inconsistent. Nevertheless, this is an example of a crossover-ready compilation that can lead listeners to some really distinctive performances.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Mass in B minor, for soloists, chorus & orchestra, BWV 232 (BC E1)
1 Michel Corboz 04:15 Amazon
2 Michel Corboz 02:59 Amazon
Missa Cellensis, for soloists, chorus, organ & orchestra in C major ("Cantata Mass"), H. 22/5
3 Michel Corboz 04:19 Amazon
Mass for tenor, baritone, bass, chorus & orchestra in A flat major ("Messa di gloria")
4 Michel Corboz 04:46 Amazon
5 Michel Corboz 04:09 Amazon
Gloria, for soprano, chorus & orchestra, FP 177
6 Michel Corboz 04:43 Amazon
Requiem Mass, for soloists, chorus & orchestra (Manzoni Requiem)
7 Michel Corboz 04:36 Amazon
Requiem, for 2 solo voices, chorus, organ & orchestra, Op. 48
8 Michel Corboz 03:17 Amazon
9 Michel Corboz 05:11 Amazon
10 Michel Corboz 04:00 Amazon
Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem), for soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 45
11 Michel Corboz 06:19 Amazon
12 Michel Corboz 03:29 Amazon
Messe de Requiem, for soloists, chorus & orchestra, Op. 23
13 Michel Corboz 03:17 Amazon
14 Michel Corboz 04:27 Amazon
Requiem for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, K. 626
15 Michel Corboz 05:44 Amazon
16 Michel Corboz 03:15 Amazon
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