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...
Thank you, George!
Yes, Mompou comes from a family of bell makers. As I wrote in another thread, Mompou's family had owned and managed a bell factory. One of the special offers of the factory was that they guaranteed the exact note that a bell would produce. Mompou as a child was fascinated by the metallic sounds that came from the factory and loved to spend hours there listening to the sounds and vibrations that were produced as the bells were being designed and made.
Mompou started using bell sound in pretty much all his music, including these early works. Regarding bells ringing here in the U.S.; actually, where I live I hear bells all the time. In the downtown area near the river there is a carillon which is among the four largest in the world. It has 72 bells, which were cast in The Netherlands. The largest bell is nicknamed “Big Joe” (named after the founder of the town – his name is Joe Naper), and weighs nearly 6 tons! The bells ring every hour and they have carillon recitals in the evenings during the spring and summertime. I know what you mean by the sound of bells - I remember when I was in visiting my cousin in Germany and at night I heard in the distance a church bell chiming on the hour. It’s a peaceful sound; I also like the sound of a train in the distance.
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
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
and the set.
Enjoyed listening to these,
Thank you, Riley. Yes, Mompou's pieces are not as easy as they sound. Plus, he must have had large hands because he wrote huge chords and intervals, which I can't reach.
I don't understand what you are getting at, Rainer. Did I say something bad? I did not mean to.
Good heavens, no. I apologise if I gave the impression that I thought such a thing of you.
All I meant was that although it was a nice thought to imagine that there might be some sort of direct connection between the miner about whom Mompou wrote this set of pieces and the making of his grandfather's bells, it struck me as pretty unlikely that there would be. I reckon the miner in question would be just as likely, indeed more so, to be a generic miner of just about any mineral you could think of (salt, coal, lead, whatever) as a miner of the ores to make the metal for the bells. Surely Dencausse would have bought in ready-made bell bronze and not gotten involved in mixing his own copper and tin, never mind refining their ores.
Ok, thank you for the explanation, but I do think the miners were working on behalf of the bell factory. His grandfather's bell factory did actually make the bells, according to what I've read.