Noel Bauldeweyn (first name also Noe, Natalis; surname also Balbun, Balduin, Bauldewijn, Baulduin, Baulduvin, and Valdovin; (c. 1480 – after 1513) was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance, active in the Low Countries. A contemporary of Josquin des Prez, he had a strong reputation until well after the middle of the 16th century. That some of his works have long been misattributed to Josquin, the most renowned composer of the age, is indicative of his skill as a composer.
Little documentation of his life has yet come to light. He is known to have been the singing master at St. Rombouts in Mechelen between 1509 and 1513, replacing Jean Richafort. That he held a position of such high status, in a church which was a musical center – and also used by the Burgundian court chapel itself – indicates that he was probably not younger than about 25 at the time. In 1513, Nicolas Champion took Bauldeweyn's position at St. Rombouts, but the circumstances of his departure, and where he went, are not known.
The extraordinarily wide distribution of his music in sources, ranging from Italy, Bohemia, the Netherlands, and Spain, suggests that he may have traveled, though at what point in his career he did so is unknown; and the evident stylistic evolution from an early to a late idiom suggests he may have been active as a composer for decades. Aside from the few shreds of documented biography at St. Rombouts, and the inferences about his career from his music itself, no definite information about his life is known.
Music and influence
Bauldeweyn wrote both sacred and secular music, and everything known to be by Bauldeweyn is either vocal, or originated as a vocal composition. Seven of his masses have survived complete. The most famous of these is the Missa Da pacem Domine which was long attributed to Josquin des Prez (and included in the Smijers complete works edition of Josquin, 1953). In addition to the seven masses which have survived complete, there are 13 motets, although curiously none of his masses were published except for the Missa da pacem once attributed to Josquin; all exist only in manuscript sources. An unknown number of compositions are lost, including at least one mass, as indicated by a fantasia for vihuela by Valderrábano, "after a mass by Bauldeweyn", the music of which is not known from any source.
Bauldeweyn's style shows both the contrapuntal manner of the late 15th century, archaic by the time he was writing, with occasional harsh dissonance and unblended textures, as well as the pervasive imitation and canonic writing techniques of the generation of Josquin des Prez and his successors. The style of some of his latest works implies that he may have lived a good deal longer than indicated by the last mention of his name at St Rombouts in 1513. Bauldeweyn preferred textures of five or six voices, characteristic of the 1520s and the next decades. He liked full textures, and had a sense of harmony which anticipated changes later in the century.
- Edgar H. Sparks and Bernadette Nelson. "Bauldeweyn, Noel". In Macy, Laura. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
- Edgar Sparks/Bernadette Nelson: "Noel Bauldeweyn", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (Accessed 18 January 2008), (subscription access)
- Allan W. Atlas, Renaissance Music: Music in Western Europe, 1400–1600. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1998. ISBN 0-393-97169-4
- Gustave Reese, Music in the Renaissance. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1954. ISBN 0-393-09530-4