Mompou Vocal and Orchestral Works

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Federico Mompou

Label: Harmonia Mundi

Media Format: CD or Download

Media Runtime: 58

Catalogue Number: HMC90 1482

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Improperiae (Los Improperios) Federico Mompou, Composer
Federico Mompou, Composer
Jerzy Artysz, Baritone
Josep Pons, Conductor
Teatre Lliure Chamber Orchestra (Barcelona)
Valencia Choir
Virginia Parramon, Soprano
Combat del Somni Federico Mompou, Composer
Federico Mompou, Composer
Josep Pons, Conductor
Teatre Lliure Chamber Orchestra (Barcelona)
Virginia Parramon, Soprano
Suburbis Federico Mompou, Composer
Federico Mompou, Composer
Josep Pons, Conductor
Teatre Lliure Chamber Orchestra (Barcelona)
Scènes d'enfants Federico Mompou, Composer
Federico Mompou, Composer
Josep Pons, Conductor
Teatre Lliure Chamber Orchestra (Barcelona)
The usual image (a true one) of Mompou is of a quiet, retiring composer of exquisite miniatures for piano or for voice. Not until he had reached the age of 70 did he write for the orchestra, and then only in the present Improperia (from the liturgy for Good Friday) and later for a children's cantata and settings of five songs to poems of Paul Valery. He normally placed great store on concision, and recognized that this choral work was not only of unusual dimensions for him but that it also marked a departure in style; yet he insisted that in writing it he was by no means disavowing his earlier ideals. So far, we have had to make do with the very indifferent 1968 recording of it under Markevitch (Philips), with its poor choral tuning and strident tone: the new issue is in every way superior, with a very good solo baritone, a well-trained and fresh-sounding choir and clean orchestral sound. Only in a couple of places is balance questionable: for the baritone's very first entry he sounds far too distant (was his mike not up?) and at ''Quid ultra debui facere'' he is in danger of being swamped by the woodwind. But this is a moving performance of a work of deep commitment, exhibiting more passion and drama than is usually associated with Mompou. Harmonically it is, at times, reminiscent of Poulenc (who was an admirer of his), especially in the curiously jaunty ritornello in ''Ego propter te'' and in the beatific close-harmony female chorus in the final antiphon, which after an exultant climax dies away with repeated calls of ''Domine!''.
The orchestrations by other hands of two of his early piano suites (dating from the First World War) are undeniably effective, but they decidedly change the music's character. Its intimate, modest proportions seem unduly blown up in the outer movements of Suburbis, which put me in mind of those attempts to colour classic black-and-white films that are entirely satisfactory in their original state. Scenes d'enfants lends itself rather better to being scored, and is more vividly recorded here; but in the sensuously sentimental tune of the popular ''Jeunes filles au jardin'' the off-beat chords are too loud for the muted violins who have the melody. With memories of Victoria de los Angeles and Teresa Berganza in the haunting and seemingly simple Combat del somni song-cycle, it is kinder to say nothing of the drab voice on the present recording.'

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