BAULDEWEYN. Masses / Beauty Farm

[17.8.2017  15:26 GMT+2] • pf

Release date: 20 August 2017

(2861, 1329, 7, 1502976360, 203, 2862, 'Beauty Farm - BAULDEWEYN. Masses', 'purofuego' - 1502983763
[17.8.2017  15:26 GMT+2] • pf

[17.8.2017  16:56 GMT+2]

¿Se acabaron los desnudos?
De un extremo al otro, ahora el modelo (o cantante) totalmente cubierto, hasta la cabeza.
Y con barba a la moda.
El fondo sigue igual de imaginativo,
luminosas geometrías divergentes, casi un Kandinsky de pacotilla.

No hay que ser malo. Lo importante es la música.

(2862, 1329, 7, 1502981797, 205, 2915, 'Re: Beauty Farm - BAULDEWEYN. Masses', 'last' - 1507711012
[17.8.2017  16:56 GMT+2]

[14.10.2017  20:45 GMT+2] • pf

Nudity is back. And the next album will be...?

Try to guess.

(2921, 1329, 7, 1508006734, 203, 2921, 'Beauty Farm - ???. Masses', 'purofuego'
[14.10.2017  20:45 GMT+2] • pf

[18.11.2017  9:20 GMT+1]

Todd Mc. Comb, 7 November 2017

With their fourth album — nearly two hours of four masses by Noel Bauldeweyn — Beauty Farm heads off into unknown repertory, after largely mimicking The Sound and the Fury with two Gombert albums followed by an Ockeghem album. (The latter was also released this year, so they're increasing their pace too.)

They also seem to have confirmed an emphasis on mass cycles once again, an emphasis that doesn't necessarily thrill me, given the ample repertory that is correspondingly (& badly) neglected, but I do understand: Not only are these mass cycles impressive monuments, but emphasizing a single genre has allowed these (related) ensembles to focus on counterpoint & personality, and (technical) details in general, without worrying so much about different genres & texts. So it makes sense, but hopefully soon e.g. some other motet albums will appear.

The previous album — and perhaps The Sound and the Fury's last? — where the repertory per se made such an impression on me (as opposed to the interpretation of relatively known repertory) was the Pipelare double album, and in that case, I had every reason to rue not having paid more attention to Pipelare previously: There were previous albums devoted to his music, although none had managed to make a big impression on me. (That changed in significantly, given the sheer originality, scope & quality involved in the tantalizing selection of four complete masses.)

In the case of Bauldeweyn (ever Baldwin?), however, there had been almost nothing to hear, making him quite obscure today, and so in that sense, his music is even more of a revelation. Like Pipelare, Bauldeweyn (who was apparently younger, but didn't live as long, although all of this is sketchy) was apparently a contemporary of La Rue, with his most important works also documented by the Alamire scriptorium. In that case, he's also a direct contemporary of Josquin (again maybe not by age, but by years of peak activity), and whereas the notes suggest that Bauldeweyn is something of a bridge between Obrecht & Gombert — a perfectly good suggestion, although I don't really hear much Obrecht, personally — his music also shows some of the same rhetorical or discursive skill & focus.

The previous comparison is related to the general density of Bauldeweyn's writing (at least here), which doesn't show the same predilection for rests or reduced forces as Josquin, but the textual orientation nonetheless suggests similar concerns. (One might think e.g. of a less motivically insistent version of the Josquin of Missa Malheur me bat et al. — otherwise the most Obrechtian Josquin, I suppose.) The resulting style is distinctive, and so Bauldeweyn must enter conversations regarding the greatest polyphonists of the greatest age of Western polyphony — and the album is duly added to my personal list. Beyond Pipelare, whose style shows even more vitality & variety, La Rue's Missa Incessament — one of his masterpieces, and one that would benefit from an updated interpretation — comes to mind by way of comparison for Bauldeweyn's opening Missa En douleur en tristesse, perhaps the biggest highlight. Impressive. So who or what does Beauty Farm have in store to reveal next?

(2956, 1329, 7, 1510993209, 205, 2956, 'Re: Beauty Farm - BAULDEWEYN. Masses', 'last'
[18.11.2017  9:20 GMT+1]

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