Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

LABELS: Virgin Veritas
WORKS: Requiem; Te Deum; Magnificat
PERFORMER: Ensemble La Fenice, Ensemble Jacques Morderne/Jean Tubéry
CATALOGUE NO: VC 5 45476 2
The obscure Pierre Tabart worked in the same era as those giants of French music, Lully and Charpentier, but held positions far away from the hotbed of artistic politics and intrigue that was Paris and Versailles, first in the Loire region and later in Senlis and Meaux. Not, though, for want of trying – he auditioned unsuccessfully for the post of sous-maître at the Chapelle Royale in Versailles. The Te Deum (with alternate verses sung to plainsong) has none of the splendid trumpets of similar works by his Paris-based colleagues, but the textures are nicely varied. The Magnificat has a more modern feel, exploring contrasting scorings and more adventurous harmony. The ‘Et misericordia’ is particularly lovely. By contrast, the Requiem, a rare example from the period, is a retrogressive work, full of old-fashioned imitative polyphonic lines and appropriate sobriety, though the strange, chordal ‘Dies irae’ has a directness and darkness that transports one back yet further with its medieval feel. Two organ works are also included: André Raison’s Offerte du 5me ton opens the disc, and Nicolas de Grigny’s poignant Cromorne en taille à 2 parties, from the Kyrie of an Organ Mass, nicely breaks up the Requiem. Both are well played by Frédéric Desenclos on an appropriately reedy-sounding instrument in Dieppe’s Église Saint-Rémy. Under Jean Tubéry, however, the singing of the Ensemble Jacques Moderne sometimes seems a little buttoned-up and even, once or twice, slightly ragged. Stephen Pettitt