Du Mage, Lalande: Deus nester refugium; Exaltabo te, Domine

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COMPOSERS: Du Mage,Lalande
LABELS: Opus 111
WORKS: Deus nester refugium; Exaltabo te, Domine
PERFORMER: Stéphanie Révidat (soprano), Stephan Van Dyck (countertenor), Thomas Van Essen (tenor), Alain Buet (bass), Aline Zylberajch-Gester (organ); La Maîtrise de Bretagne, Le Parlement de Musique/Martin Gester
The grands motets of Lalande were enormously popular both during the composer’s lifetime and for almost half a century after his death in 1726. Seventy-seven such works are known, but few so far have found their way on to disc. Lalande has not enjoyed the limelight afforded in recent years to his older contemporary Charpentier and, musically speaking, it is hard to understand why. This new release certainly reveals him as a master of expressive nobility and refinement. The more immediately striking of the two motets is ‘Deus noster refugium’, whose colourful text (Psalm 46) lent itself to several musical settings during the Baroque period. There is some splendid double-choir-writing here and a response to the textual imagery that foreshadows the vigorous gestures of Rameau and Mondonville. Though habitually less agonisingly emotive than Charpentier, Lalande often builds his expressive climaxes over a wider musical span, creating an architectural splendour that is no less affecting in its greater degree of restraint. Separating the two motets is an organ suite by Pierre du Mage played on the superb instrument at Saint Michel en Thiérache. Occupying a third of the programme, it seems unfair to deny the organist, Aline Zylberajch-Gester, any appropriate billing whatsoever. She’s a star among a host of other constellations. Nicholas Anderson