Bauldeweyn: Four Masses

Bauldeweyn Masses
Beauty Farm
Fra Bernardo 1709761 [CDx2]

This double album illustrates yet another fascinating discovery by The Sound and the Fury –> Beauty Farm franchise....

With Noel Bauldeweyn, another composer (like La Rue & Pipelare) whose major works are preserved in Petrus Alamire manuscripts from the era of Habsburg rule in The Netherlands, we get to hear a musical density evocative of Gombert amid a textual-discursive idiom recalling Josquin. Bauldeweyn was apparently younger than Josquin & the other composers named, but his major works likewise appear to date from the first couple of decades of the 1500s.

The present program features two mass cycles in five parts on the first disc, followed by one each in four & six parts on the second. This appears to be most of his mass cycles (which number seven in the old New Grove), and includes some stylistic variety. Unlike e.g. Pipelare, there are fewer references to the standard themes of the period (e.g. L'homme armé), and in fact the only cycle here related to an arguably more famous model is the Missa Inviolata (with a similar interiority suggesting more than a casual relation to La Rue's — a recently recorded favorite). The others (& indeed the Missa Inviolata too) show a marked originality, even an idiosyncratic style — a retrospective judgment largely derived from the huge shifts in contrapuntal writing on the horizon that were to leave Bauldeweyn behind. The opening Missa En douleur en tristesse should also be mentioned for its La Rue-like integration of canon with emerging parody techniques.

Is there another revelation like this to come? What of Bauldeweyn's music in other genres? I found the (unexpected) originality here to be quite refreshing.

To renaissance sacred list

Todd M. McComb