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Caldera - Stabat Mater: A Moog Mass CD (album) cover

STABAT MATER: A MOOG MASS

Caldera

 

Progressive Electronic

3.48 | 9 ratings

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Adelstrop
4 stars I bought the UK version of this album when it came out in the early 70s and it's sitting on the desk in front of me as I write this. Unlike the awful cover shown on this site, which I guess is the US version, the UK cover has a rather noble head of Christ, with a Crown of Thorns made up of electric cable and capacitors(?). It's striking and effective (can be found via google)

The music for the album was written by Antonio Caldara in the 18C. A performance of this can be found on YouTube and it's interesting to contrast the original with 'A Moog Mass', as it throws into perspective the wildly original and deeply weird concept that Margouleff and Cecil put together.

It isn't clear whether the people who were involved in this recording were intending to give themselves the name 'Caldera' or 'Caldara'. Some people assume that this was their intention because the name appears in the same place that band names were printed on most of the records of the time. I think that's unlikely - they produced nothing else under this name - and classical recordings often feature the composer's name rather than the performers'.

The album title 'A Moog Mass' is also misleading, as the piece is actually the sequence 'Stabat Mater' and the album contains none of the standard pieces that go up to make the ordinary of the Mass, 'Kyrie', 'Gloria', 'Agnus Dei' etc.

I have to disagree with the opinion expressed by a previous reviewer that it is "an obscure electronic version of the infamous hymn to Mary". Obscure version certainly, but there's absolutely nothing infamous about the text. In fact it is one of those devotional pieces widely set to music by people like Palestrina, Pergolesi, Dvorak etc. The piece itself is about the effect on a mother who witnesses the mortal suffering of her son. It is not necessary to have any religious belief to be moved by the human pain of the situation.

I also like that the people involved in the recording treat it as a serious piece - there is nothing ironic or tongue-in-cheek about their approach to the subject.

It was probably too much to ask to think that "A Moog Mass" was ever going to be popular, even though the exploration of electronic sounds was astonishingly original and ground-breaking. There waas no-one else at the time who came close in my view, and anyone with any interest in electronic music in particular, should take time to listen. The album can also be found on YouTube.

Adelstrop | 4/5 |

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