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



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3 stars Stabat Mater: A Moog Mass is an obscure electronic version of the infamous hymn to Mary. This album by Caldera is a bit different than other electronic artists on this site for a couple reasons - spacey, cosmic and experimental sounds are traded out for harpsichords and moogs played in the medieval style, and vocals are included that are vocoded to the point where the language being sung is incomprehensible. A Moog Mass is a strange combination of new technology (for the time) and extremely old musical material and concept, but it seems to work pretty well in my opinion. I certainly wouldn't compare this to anything by Tangerine Dream or Schulze, or anything else I've heard; based on all of the electronic music I've heard, A Moog Mass is unique. The best thing that I could compare this to would be a combination of Daft Punk vocals and Justice's musical epicness, minus the dance tendencies.

This album really is very interesting, and definitely not bad. The only part of the album that I don't care for are the male spoken introductions to each track that are backed by hypnotizing spacey sound effects, because it doesn't fit with the music at all.

If you ever have the opportunity to listen to this album, I'd definitely recommend that you do so. Something different like this is always good to experience at least once. I found A Moog Mass to be a greatly enjoyable and refreshing listen, like some experiments tend to be, but I do realize that this album is nowhere near essential listening material.

Report this review (#444364)
Posted Sunday, May 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1275378)
Posted Saturday, September 13, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars I agree with user ColorOfMoney91 in his concepts, but this opus deserves more than 3 stars. For me it's 4, and would gave it half point extra if I wasn't listening to a dirty vinyl record. This mass preserves the monastic style besides it's dominant strange timbres, which never exceeds the religious spirit. // Estoy de acuerdo con el usuario ColorOfMoney91 en sus conceptos, pero esta obra merece más de 3 estrellas como calificación. Para mí es justo otorgarle 4, y le hubiera dado medio punto adicional si no estuviera escuchándola de un sucio disco de vinilo. Esta misa mantiene el estilo monástico a pesar de los extraños timbres dominantes, que nunca sobrepasan el espíritu religioso.-
Report this review (#1467423)
Posted Monday, September 21, 2015 | Review Permalink

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