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 Post subject: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:11 am 
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"Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner" or "Impressions on the Life of a Miner"

Here is the next set in my new books of Mompou's early and never before published music. This one consists of only three short pieces written in 1914, so he was twenty-one years old. This set is also the only one Mompou composed as a true cycle, meaning the pieces are unified by a common theme and by the titles of each individual piece.

As expected, one can clearly hear Mompou's unique harmonies and also his 'bells'; some high ones and some low ones - those giant bells that have that low-sounding bong when struck. In the last piece, I think it's easy to hear the rush of the miners going to work - maybe getting down into the mine on a rail car or whatever they used. Then comes the actual hard and grueling work, followed by the 'quitting time' bell at the very end.

Anyway, each of these pieces had a couple tricky spots so I hope they came off okay. Also, any tempo shifts and held-out notes are written in the music (it's not me...)

1: Premeres hores del mati - First hours of the morning

2: Treballs i records - Work and memories

3: Retornant del treball - Returning to work

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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:01 am 
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These are lovely. Just goes to show how early on in a composer's career his style can become sufficiently established as to be clearly recognisable from familiarity only with works produced much later on.

They are very well played, and I did not notice any obvious signs of you struggling with "tricky spots". The more of these pieces I hear you play, the more tempted I am to go and buy the books. Because I don't have them, I can't comment on points of detail, with one exception: I do have the free sample pages from the publisher's website, and they include the first page of the middle piece, and there does seem to be an unwritten up-shift in tempo at bar 24.
Quote:
In the last piece, I think it's easy to hear the rush of the miners going to work - maybe getting down into the mine on a rail car or whatever they used. Then comes the actual hard and grueling work, followed by the 'quitting time' bell at the very end.
3: Retornant del treball - Returning to work
An interesting interpretation, but are there comments in the book to support it? How sure are you that your translation is accurate? I would have thought that "retornar de ..." means to return from, not to something. Wouldn't "returning to work" be "retornant al treball"?

So if it means "Returning from work", then the feeling of "rush" which you sensed would be the miners leaving the mine eager to get home, not entering it eager to start work, and in that case whatever you thought might represent "hard and grueling work" (which we've really already had in the middle piece) would have to represent something else instead. Perhaps it's a weary walk to the train station, with your 'quitting time' bell perhaps being a bell on the train, rung to wake up any miners who may have fallen asleep, tired out from all that hard work, to make sure they get off at their stop instead of being taken to the end of the line and back again.


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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:59 am 
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rainer wrote:
They are very well played, and I did not notice any obvious signs of you struggling with "tricky spots". The more of these pieces I hear you play, the more tempted I am to go and buy the books. Because I don't have them, I can't comment on points of detail, with one exception: I do have the free sample pages from the publisher's website, and they include the first page of the middle piece, and there does seem to be an unwritten up-shift in tempo at bar 24.

Well, yes, there is no tempo change indication at bar 24 and I did speed up a little bit there anyway. It just seems to me like it should sound more playful there. And nine bars later it is marked 'animant' so I purposely made it more sharp and detached in an effort to make it even more different.

rainer wrote:
An interesting interpretation, but are there comments in the book to support it? How sure are you that your translation is accurate? I would have thought that "retornar de ..." means to return from, not to something. Wouldn't "returning to work" be "retornant al treball"?
In the book, it specifically translates to "Returning of the work" and so I changed it a little to "Returning to work" which makes more sense to me. Therefore, I guess my interpretation is correct, but I don't speak Spanish fluently. Just going by what I read.

Thank you for listening and commenting, Rainer! :) The next piece in the book is "Muntanya-dansa" from the set, "Impressions de la Garriga". A friend sent it to me a while ago and I already recorded it so I probably won't do so again. But it's a darling little piece, full of Mompou's spirit and playfulness. I think you'd like it!

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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:04 am 
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Very well played and nice music too! Typical Mompou interesting harmonies and even though it might seem a bit complex, my entire family listened to your recordings during our Sunday breakfast without complaining ;).

But Monica, something went wrong on the site as the page for these recordings is blank.

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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:04 pm 
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Very nice. Quite idiosyncratic music. I think I like no.2 the best; it has a wistful tinge and harmonically it's really rather interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:34 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
rainer wrote:
... there does seem to be an unwritten up-shift in tempo at bar 24.
Well, yes, there is no tempo change indication at bar 24 and I did speed up a little bit there anyway. It just seems to me like it should sound more playful there. And nine bars later it is marked 'animant' so I purposely made it more sharp and detached in an effort to make it even more different.
That's fair enough, and I wouldn't even have mentioned it had you not said
Quote:
Also, any tempo shifts and held-out notes are written in the music (it's not me...)
:twisted:
Quote:
rainer wrote:
An interesting interpretation, but are there comments in the book to support it? How sure are you that your translation is accurate? I would have thought that "retornar de ..." means to return from, not to something. Wouldn't "returning to work" be "retornant al treball"?
In the book, it specifically translates to "Returning of the work"
Well, that lets you off the hook, then!
Quote:
and so I changed it a little to "Returning to work" which makes more sense to me.
Indeed it does, but I would regard the fact that you felt it needed changing as an indication that the translation in the book is to be regarded as suspect. I'd bet that the translation was done by a native Catalan or Spanish speaker who does not really know English well enough and simply used the usual dictionary translations for "de" and "el" (of which "del" is a contraction).
Quote:
Therefore, I guess my interpretation is correct, but I don't speak Spanish fluently. Just going by what I read.
I used to speak Spanish fluently, but it was four and a half decades ago, and I was never exposed to Catalan (it was "forbidden" when we were in Barcelona). Nevertheless I'm pretty sure the book translation is wrong. Google Translate agrees with me, but that's not saying much. Googling also reveals that the translation into Spanish of this title (which I trust them to have got right) is "Volviendo del trabajo", of which I'm even more sure (if I had to put a figure on it, I'd call it 99%) that it means "returning from work".
Quote:
The next piece in the book is "Muntanya-dansa" from the set, "Impressions de la Garriga". ... it's a darling little piece, full of Mompou's spirit and playfulness. I think you'd like it!
It's one of the pieces of which the first page is in the free samples, so I've just printed it out and played it, and if that page is anything to go by, you're right!


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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:09 pm 
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robert wrote:
Very well played and nice music too! Typical Mompou interesting harmonies and even though it might seem a bit complex, my entire family listened to your recordings during our Sunday breakfast without complaining ;).

But Monica, something went wrong on the site as the page for these recordings is blank.


Thank you, Robert. I was too tired last night to put the recordings on the main site. Just did it now, though. :)

andrew wrote:
Very nice. Quite idiosyncratic music. I think I like no.2 the best; it has a wistful tinge and harmonically it's really rather interesting.


Thank you, Andrew. Mompou used some bits of no. 2 in another piece - I can't remember which one right now, but I know I've played it.

rainer wrote:

I used to speak Spanish fluently, but it was four and a half decades ago, and I was never exposed to Catalan (it was "forbidden" when we were in Barcelona). Nevertheless I'm pretty sure the book translation is wrong. Google Translate agrees with me, but that's not saying much. Googling also reveals that the translation into Spanish of this title (which I trust them to have got right) is "Volviendo del trabajo", of which I'm even more sure (if I had to put a figure on it, I'd call it 99%) that it means "returning from work".


Well, I'm still not sure. To me the piece sounds like the workers are going 'to' the mine and then working hard and then work is done. I can ask someone I know who speaks Catalan and would be able to tell me. I'll let you know I get the answer.

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:23 pm 
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Hi Monica,
I finally had a listen to these; they are wonderfully melodious salon works and you played them very well! I especially liked the B section of the second work, and I find the language of the 3rd quite close to Debussy. Certainly these demonstrate great creativity and musicality on the part of a young Mompou. Thanks for expanding my exposure to the literature again!

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Last edited by musical-md on Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:14 pm 
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Very nice again. Not Mompou's greatest work but endearing and interesting pieces with lots of bell sounds. Are the detached notes in the middle of no.2 supposed to be like that ? IMO this part would sound better more legato.
Interesting to learn about mining in Catalonia. I guess Mompou may have visited the salt mines of Cardona.

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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:14 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
robert wrote:
Very well played and nice music too! Typical Mompou interesting harmonies and even though it might seem a bit complex, my entire family listened to your recordings during our Sunday breakfast without complaining ;).

But Monica, something went wrong on the site as the page for these recordings is blank.


Thank you, Robert. I was too tired last night to put the recordings on the main site. Just did it now, though. :)

I kind of thought so. But as the link from Mompou's page was there already, I thought that maybe something went wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:18 pm 
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techneut wrote:
Very nice again. Not Mompou's greatest work but endearing and interesting pieces with lots of bell sounds. Are the detached notes in the middle of no.2 supposed to be like that ? IMO this part would sound better more legato.
Interesting to learn about mining in Catalonia. I guess Mompou may have visited the salt mines of Cardona.


Thank you for listening/commenting. Those notes in the middle section do not have any slurs, it's marked 'animant' (must mean animated, right?) and there are those triangle/staccato/pointy thingys on each first note of the triplets. I just wanted to make it sound different from the preceding section.

I'm guessing that the miners were digging for metals to make the bells, but I'm not sure.

robert wrote:
I kind of thought so. But as the link from Mompou's page was there already, I thought that maybe something went wrong.

Nope, I started to do it but could not keep my eyes open, so I quit for the night and went to bed.

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:49 am 
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pianolady wrote:
it's marked 'animant' (must mean animated, right?)
I think it means animating, not animated, in other words it should get faster gradually rather than suddenly.
Animated would be 'animat' without the second 'n'.
Quote:
I'm guessing that the miners were digging for metals to make the bells
How sweet. What a lovely romantic idea, grandad sending young Fred to visit the bronze mines :) to source the best ores, to be refined in-house. It's as ridiculous as Mr Pleyel or Steinway visiting India or Africa to hand-pick the elephants whose tusks were going to provide the ivory for their piano keys.


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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:45 am 
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musical-md wrote:
Hi Monica,
I finally had a listen to these; they are wonderfully melodious salon works and you played them very well! I especially liked the B section of the second work, and I find the language of the 3rd quite close to Debussy. Certainly these demonstrate great creativity and musicality on the part of a young Mompou. Thanks for expanding my exposure to the literature again!


Thank you for listening and commenting, Eddy! :)

rainer wrote:
How sweet. What a lovely romantic idea, grandad sending young Fred to visit the bronze mines :) to source the best ores, to be refined in-house. It's as ridiculous as Mr Pleyel or Steinway visiting India or Africa to hand-pick the elephants whose tusks were going to provide the ivory for their piano keys.

I don't understand what you are getting at, Rainer. Did I say something bad? I did not mean to. :?

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:49 am 
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Thank you, Monica. Charming little gems played so well indeed. Where do you find all this music and the time? You and Chris are an inspiration. Your performance brings back memories of Barcelona and my trips through the Catalan countryside...

Time out Celtics! All this mention of bells and work is no coincidence. Mompou comes from a family of bell makers. His grandfather owned a bell foundry. So, I don't think these titles are irrelevant descriptions. Bravo for Mompou for infusing the bell into his later music. These factories were usually set up close to where copper ores were found. I actually visited one of these European bell foundries in Innsbruck, the Grassmayr Bell Foundry, makers of bells since 1599. The finest (and largest at 40,000+ lbs.) ring E-flat and sometimes F. It's sad that these days, most bell foundries have closed or turned into museums at best.

Childhood memories of bells are inescapable, and tend to resonate with you for a lifetime. For some, like Rachmaninov, bells haunted them, but for me, I love the sound of bells. I even make chimes for my garden, and during the long cold New England winters, I dream of hearing chimes again in the cool summer breezes of Cape Cod. I even recorded an improvisation based on a buoy bell in Nantucket Sound. Whenever I go to Europe, I always keep my ears open for church bells, as they don't ring here in the U.S. The sound of these European bells can be heard for miles. It takes one back to a simpler time in history...

For Whom The Bell Tolls? It tolls for Mompou! And Monica, you can ring the bell anytime... :wink:

George

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 Post subject: Re: Mompou - Impressions Sobre La Vida D'un Miner
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:34 am 
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Monica,

I had a listen to your latest impressions by Mompou. It was a pleasure! Your phrasing and dynamics for me create the "impressions" Mompou desires to capture in these pieces. I agree with you there are parts in these pieces that sound tricky. For example, about halfway into the 2nd piece with the repeating figures in the left hand. I am in awe how you can make them so portato and, I should mention, at tempo :shock: :) the first piece seems to have some hard parts, but perhaps the easiest in the set? The way you play the end of the third put a smile on my face! It is a tranquil ending that makes for a nice ending to the piece that seems to start so wildly :o and the set.

Enjoyed listening to these,

Riley

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