This, the fourth volume of Mompouís piano music released
by Naxos, centres around a substantial work, Música Callada
written between 1959 and 1967. Many consider that work to be Mompouís
musical testament. Música Callada consists of four
books of unequal length composed in 1959, 1962, 1965 and 1967 respectively.
The title ("Music without sound" or maybe better still "Silenced
music") comes from St John of the Cross who bracketed it with Soledad
Sonora ("solitude that clamours"), and the music obviously
reflects both aspects of the quotation, in being mainly slow-moving
and meditative. The twenty-eight short movements that make-up the four
books are "a summary of the most personal elements of [Mompouís]
musical language" (Victor Estapé). Some of them however
retain some echoes of popular music, albeit in a very stylised way.
The music has a timeless, almost mystical atmosphere attuned to the
composerís solitary meditations. As a whole Música Callada
is an ambitious piece. It does not readily yield its secrets and definitely
needs repeated hearings. Some may have difficulties in absorbing such
slow-moving and emotionally complex music in one sitting, though Masóís
dedicated advocacy pays high dividends and serves the composer well.
The early Muntanya dates from 1915 and
is thus quite an early work in Mompouís huge piano output. It is a comparatively
traditional and much simpler work both in idiom and in emotional content.
So too is the somewhat later El pont (1946), a miniature
impressionistic tone-poem of great charm which nevertheless remained
unheard for many long years.
This is a very fine release: excellent playing, natural
piano sound and most interesting notes by Victor Estapé. Nevertheless,
if you do not know Mompouís piano music, you might better start with
any of the other volumes before investigating the present one. Then
the rewards will be plentiful.