Pierre Tabart left only six surviving works, all sacred choral pieces that were preserved in the collection of the theoretician, Sébastien de Brossard, and this CD includes three of them, the Te Deum, Magnificat, and Requiem. Tabart was a near contemporary of Marc-Antoine Charpentier who worked in Orléans, Senlis, and Meaux, none of which were too far from Paris, but which were still considered culturally provincial. His music doesn't have the individuality of Charpentier's, but its highly sophisticated, elaborate counterpoint and virtuosic vocal demands demonstrate the diversity of styles of liturgical music in France around the turn of the 18th century. These pieces were written for four or five voices and continuo, and Jean Tubéry, leading Ensemble La Fenice, the group he founded, provides an inventive realization of the continuo part. He uses single voices for some sections, creating a nice contrast with the sections using full choir, the exemplary Ensemble Jacques Moderne, which sings with purity, fine blend, and excellent intonation. The focused intonation is especially highlighted in the unaccompanied Dies Irae, in which a solo voice intones the traditional plainchant, its phrases alternating with homophonic sections for the men's voices alone, its austerity a vivid depiction of the scary desolation of the text, and a terrifically effective contrast with the other richly polyphonic movements. The sound of Virgin's CD is clean and present. This is a release that should appeal to fans of middle Baroque choral music.
Pierre Tabart: Requiem; Te Deum; Magnificat Review
by Stephen Eddins