(1893 -1987) composed many often exquisite
and mysteriously adventurous
minatures for piano. Born in Barcelona, he then went to Conservatory and spent several decades in Paris,
and of course was influenced first by Gabriel Faure and Chopin, then Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy
, Francis Poulenc, and notably Erik Satie
. Yet, unlike them, he never quite became a "household name" in classical music.
Frederic Mompou (sometimes referred to as Federico Mompou,) was, however an individualistic composer for piano (and later a few vocal works
). He retained the Catalonia spirit of his native Spain, yet incorporated it in his impressionistic works. He was very shy and had a strong distaste for self-promotion, yet he developed a devoted following that grew stronger in his later years, when Artur Rubenstein, Arturo Michelangeli (here's the Cancion no.6)
, as well as Jordi Maso
and others featured more Mompou ,even more so after after his death in 1987. Three years back, renowned pianist Stephen Hough, (after a concert of Rachmaninov with orchestra), performed a sweet Mompou piano piece
as an encore to a packed stadium, which was seemingly mesmerized by the performance.
The composer said about one of a series of his works (Musicas Colladas):
"This music is quiet (callada) because one listens to it within... It is my desire that this music, should bring us closer to the warmth of life, and the expression of the human heart, that is always the same and constantly changing."
With not much imagination, a trained ear could almost swear a piece or two of Mompou's here
may even sound like something Keith Jarrett or Bill Evans (at his most introverted) might have written.
The often contemplative music of Mompou does however, often display a wide wide range of emotion, the more you listen, and can even be quite aggressive
and rhapsodic at times. But he did speak about he needing only to say what was to be said, without a note too many or one note less. Some have called him the first minimalist (perhaps after Satie), insofar as he also could break a musical idea down to its mere essence
, yet without losing its luminous magic. There is much to hear by this brilliant composer, and much that can touch the heart.
Perhaps after all the music in this post, it may be fitting to hear Mompou himself playing Mompou.