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Classical - Released May 17, 2013 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Record of the Month - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - Prise de son d'exception - Hi-Res Audio
Fans of Catalonian miniaturist Frederic Mompou are used to looking in out-of-the-way places for his music: small labels, encores of recitals. Yet here he is, presented in full major-label splendor by Sony Classical, with a substantial hard-bound booklet, performed by Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos. It may be that confusing times are good for the reputation of this most inward of composers, but whatever the reason, this recording will introduce a lot of people to Mompou's fascinating world. His music is essentially a compressed version of the Impressionist language, with dashes of Satie's elliptical mode and perhaps the mysticism of Scriabin. Mompou goes further in the directions of both dissonance and diatonic harmony than did the Impressionists, and his use of simple harmony as a kind of color effect is unique in the entire concert music repertory. Some people are completely puzzled by Mompou, most of whose music proceeds at the same basic slow-to-moderate tempo. Try Volodos out! He has the knack of getting strong profiles of individual phrases while still keeping the whole thing at a sort of glimmering level. You can get a foothold with the Musica callada XV (track 20), which seems to take Chopin's Prelude in E minor, Op. 28/4, as a point of departure. From its opening figure the listener is drawn into Mompou's murky yet gentle world, which some filmmaker ought to exploit. The difficult-to-translate Musica callada (¡callate!, be quiet, mothers say to their children; "Music that Has Become Quiet" is close) is Mompou's greatest work; in it, his extremely concise language, almost completely eschewing motivic development, is brought to a fascinating extreme. Volodos has the control to get something like the last bars of Schubert's Winterreise out of the music here: it really does seem to exist on the lip of nothingness. Strongly recommended for all, and really something of a milestone.

Classical - Released June 12, 2012 | harmonia mundi

Catalan composer Federico Mompou wrote four volumes of brief, aphoristic piano pieces called Música callada, or Music of silence, between 1959 and 1967. He seemed to inhabit a musical world of his own, indifferent or hostile to many of the conventions of western music, particularly Germanic music, which he described as "phonorrhea," with an excess of padding, ponderous development, and numbing redundancies. His aesthetic is similar in some ways to Satie's, and their works have some similarities, particularly the use of a simple, but unconventional tonal language that is not shy of dissonance. Mompou's music is notable for the simplicity and clarity of its content and its expression -- there are no wasted or unnecessary notes. It is almost all very quiet music and has a rhythmic fluidity that often obscures a sense of pulse. As a child, the composer grew up near his grandfather's bell factory, and he traced his musical aesthetic to the experience of hearing the bells. Many of the sonorities in Música callada can indeed best be described as bell-like. Spanish pianist Javier Perianes plays with an unmannered delicacy and a self-effacing directness that honor the ephemeral character of these pieces and allows their poetry to blossom. The sound is absolutely clear and captures the intimacy of the music.

Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | La Ma de Guido


Classical - Released November 6, 2007 | harmonia mundi

The music of Catalan composer Federico Mompou (1893-1987) is difficult to pigeonhole, in much the same way as Erik Satie's, which it sometimes resembles. Mompou saw himself as existing outside the musical mainstream and admitted to no influence from other composers. The aesthetic of his early music understandably sounds like it grew out of Impressionism, since he studied in Paris from 1911 until the beginning of the First World War, but the piano pieces for which he is best known are mercurial enough to set them apart as the work of a composer genuinely indifferent to musical trends. The charge of Impressionist influence is given more weight by the very Impressionist orchestrations of two of his collections of evocative piano pieces written between 1915 and 1918. Manuel Rosenthal orchestrated Suburbis in 1936, the same year that Alexandre Tansman made an orchestration of four of the five movements of Scènes d'enfants. The orchestrations inevitably soften the piano's percussiveness, which gives the pieces some of their quirky charm, but taken on their own terms, the orchestral versions are lovely and are welcome additions to the symphonic repertoire, if only to introduce Mompou's work to a broader audience. The Orquestra de Cambra Teatre Lliure, led by Josep Pons, plays the scores with delicacy and abandon, as the music requires. The real revelations of the CD are the performances of two of Mompou's vocal works, Les Impropères (1963), an austerely serene oratorio punctuated by explosions of wild energy, for baritone, chorus, and orchestra, and Combat del somni (1942-1948), a setting of five Catalan poems for voice and piano, three of which the composer orchestrated with great delicacy. The lyrically intense songs have a folk-like Spanish flavor and are among the composer's most haunting and emotionally charged works. Soprano Virginia Parramon sings them with great purity and poignancy. The exquisite pieces on this CD should be appealing to anyone interested in musical mavericks of the twentieth century for whom the sensuousness of sound was a primary concern.

Chamber Music - Released November 1, 2017 | La Ma de Guido


Classical - Released April 14, 2010 | Columna Música


Classical - Released September 16, 2006 | Columna Música


Classical - Released February 27, 2013 | Columna Música


Classical - Released September 22, 2008 | Picap


Classical - Released May 5, 2010 | Columna Música


Classical - Released May 22, 2012 | VDE-GALLO