Federico MOMPOU (1893 - 1987)
Piano Music - Volume 5
Don Perlimplin (composed with Xavier Montsalvatge - version for piano) (1955) [33:56]
Ballet (1949) [15:03]
Glossa sobre Au clair de la lune (1946) [1:33]
Romanca (1944) [0:51]
Moderato expresivo (1946) [1:00]
Fantasia sobre Au clair de la lune (1946) [3:03]
Altitud (1928) [5:46]
El pont (version for cello and piano) (1976) [8:41]
Comptines I - III (version for piano four hands) (1978) [2:53]
Jordi Masó (piano), Marisa Ruiz Magaldi (piano) (Comptines only), Marc Oliu (violin) (Altitud only), Joan-Antoni Pich (cello) (El Pont only)
rec. 28-29 July 2008, Auditorium, Jafre, Spain DDD
NAXOS 8.5720956 [73:18]
I have never understood why some people call Mompou “the Spanish Satie” for his music is so different as to be from another planet. True, both of them can write music of almost virginal purity, but nowhere does Satie show the kind of high spirits that you can find in the seventh section of the Don Perlimplin ballet. This work is a real find. Until now I’d only heard an orchestral Suite but here is the complete score. It’s a fine piece, totally Mompou - Montsalvatge only created the second and eleventh sections and added a few linking passages, he also orchestrated the work - and there’s none of the spirituality of other works, such as the Musica callada. Extrovert Mompou? Yes, and why not? There’s much Spanish colouring à la Falla and Granados, and, the note tells us, a whiff of Poulenc, but breathe and you’ll miss it. No matter. This is a major discovery and with such a persuasive performance as this it might just make some concert promoter give us the orchestral version.
Ballet is a collection of 12 miniatures, all, but the opening Prelude, playing for around 60 seconds. There’s no development, simply statement and thoughtful discourse. Despite their brevity these are very satisfying and compelling pieces.
The rest of the programme is more miniatures, but ones which stand alone, and include Mompou’s only three chamber works. The Glossa and Fantasia on Au clair de la lune are both studies on the children’s song. The Romanca was written for the third anniversary of his engagement to his future bride. Mompou was obviously not a man to rush into things, for they didn’t get married for another 13 years! Moderato expresivo was later reworked and it appeared as no.18 in the Musica callada.
And so to the chamber music. Altitud for violin and piano was written whilst the composer was living in Paris and there is a distinct French feel to the piece. El pont is a late reworking, not a transcription, of a piano piece (1947) (available on Naxos 8.554727) in homage to Casals for his centenary. The final Comptines I - III are so short as to be lost after the other pieces which seem gargantuan by comparison - “the ant’s a centaur in his dragon world”, as Pound wrote. They are a most enjoyable finale to a delightful disk. The performances are very good and the sound is excellent. Mompou deserves the audience which I hope that this disk, and the previous four in the series, will bring him.
Bob Briggs

A major discovery.