DONATION STATUS
Needed before 2016-12-31
$ 2,500
So far donated
$ 805

Mompou - early and recently published pieces

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianolady, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,716
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    I recently purchase three books of Mompou's music that were just recently published for the first time in 2010. The material consists of scores from his early period - up until 1919 and when he went to Paris for the first time and was greatly influenced by Faure. Yet one can clearly hear the beginnings of Mompou's distinct sound and harmonies - many of the pieces are snippets and sketches of themes he would use in some later works. So far, I'm really enjoying this journey into new Mompou music and my only regret is that I don't enough time to learn and record more at a time. Hence, here are the first five in book 1.

    First, a note: There are no dynamic markings or pedal markings whatsoever in the music. According to the notes in the score written by Mac McClure, 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. Therefore, I decided to take into account Mompou's interest in the sound of bells and used quite a lot of pedal in most of the music here. Not sure if that is a good decision or not; I've not heard any recordings of these pieces and I also hope my dynamics and tempi are appropriate.

    The first three pieces are from a set titled, "Impressions de Muntanya" (Mountain Impressions). Written in 1910 when Mompou was only 17 years old!
    1. Dansa del poble (Village dance)
    2. El repos dins del temple (Rest in the temple)
    3. Pastoral

    Mompou - Impressions de Muntanya 1: Dansa del poble
    Mompou - Impressions de Muntanya 2: El repos dins del temple
    Mompou - Impressions de Muntanya 3: Pastoral


    The second set is titled, "Dues Impressions" (Two Impressions)

    1. Barri de platja (Beach Neighborhood) - clearly, Mompou used the middle section in his Cancion d danzas no. 3 - one of my favorites! Neato!!
    2. Cami de muntanya (Mountain path) - again, another recognizable piece - this one used in another of my favorites - his "Jeunes filles au jardin" (Girls in the Garden).

    Mompou - Dues Impressions 1: Barri de platja
    Mompou - Dues Impressions 2: Cami de muntanya
     
  2. hanysz

    hanysz New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Pianist
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Home Page:
    WEBSITE:
    http://hanysz.net
    LOCATION:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Thanks for posting these--they're very cute pieces, delightful to listen to!
    Then you have a license to invent whatever dynamic markings take your fancy--don't just play everything mf! Of course you don't want to overdo it--it would be a shame to spoil the simplicity and freshness of these pieces--but there's certainly room for you to create more contrast and occasionally have more sense of direction.

    How many more of these pieces are there? I'm looking forward to the next instalment!
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,716
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    Thank you, Alexander. Also, some of the pieces have no tempo markings in the beginning, either. I'm not used to having such little instruction in the score, but at least there are bar lines and time signatures here (these things are sometimes lacking in Mompou's music).

    There are about 45 pieces altogether in the three books. I'll probably submit another three pieces in a couple days, which will make a total of eight so far. But then I probably will have to put the rest on the back burner for a little while.
     
  4. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,842
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sweden
    Home Page:
    Last Name:
    Stahlbrand
    First Name:
    Robert
    WEBSITE:
    http://pianosociety.com
    WLM:
    robertstahlbrand@hotmail.com
    LOCATION:
    Sweden
    Very good and with an interesting story attached to them! I have just touched Mompou's music but it's on the pile of music I must take on one day. Definitely deserves a tweet ;).
     
  5. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Physician
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX, USA
    Last Name:
    del Rio
    First Name:
    Eddy
    LOCATION:
    San Antonio, TX, USA
    Hi Monica,
    I just had a listen to these. I think these are wonderful little gems and shold be used in teaching for literature that emphasizes color and harmony. The melodies are not particulalry memorable IMO, but they have wonderful atmosphere. I don't know the works but I think you do a very credible job of them. Of the first set, I found the ending of the second one strange compositionally (but as you say, this is juvenalia). The 3rd of the first set has a something about it that makes me think Christmas, of all things, :D with the open 5ths making me think of common-folk celebrating.

    Thanks for the posts.
    Eddy
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Wow, you have learned these very quickly, and yet they don't sound like that. I welcome your choice of more pedal, it makes for so much warmer colors than they would have with your usual style of playing. I agree with Alexander that they are lacking in dynamics, and there could perhaps be a little more rubato and freedom. But otherwise there is nothing to criticize here.

    I'm not convinced that the first three are very good music, sounding rather juvenile and not really memorable, but the last two certainly are, foreshadowing (or maybe belonging to) Mompou's mature style. I'm sure I heard the second of these before, could be he re-used that too. Or maybe I remember it from Marcel Worms' excellent CD of these works.
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,716
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    @Robert - Thank you.
    The rest of the story is that Mompou’s wife one day found two large boxes that contained the music which is in these newly published books. Really, they are Mompou’s harmony studies and his first forays into composition. According to the text in the opening of the book, in 1985, two years before Mompou’s death, his wife (also a pianist) would play through the music in the boxes and upon hearing his music, Mompou cheered up. Then these boxes were placed on top of a wardrobe and remained there until months after Mompou’s wife’s death in 2007. And then they were almost not found! Representatives of the Biblioteca de Catalynya went to the then unoccupied Mompou residence to collect all of Mompou’s papers (which had been prearranged between the two parties), but did not see the boxes left on top of the wardrobe. Fortunately, they were found months later.


    @Eddy - It is totally appropriate what you say about the melodies in these pieces not being particularly memorable. In his early years, Mompou was constantly searching for his sound and expression. He once said, “During the early period, I was almost obsessed with the harmonics and not really with the melodic line. I thought that in any case the melodic line would come from the harmonics.”

    And I do know what you mean about hearing Christmas music. There is a piece coming up in the next set that to me sounds like “Silver Bells”. :lol:


    @Chris - Thank you. These pieces are only one or two pages, sometimes three, but the notes are spread out nicely and so it’s easy to read. Plus, I am totally ignoring stuff I should be practicing and instead have been playing out of these books.

    As far as recognizing the second of the Dues Impressions – as I said in my first post, this is the melody used in “Jeunes filles au jardin", which is a fairly popular piece.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Yes, it's great to do record some easy stuff in between larger projects.

    Oh yes you did. I think I must have played that set at some stage.
     
  9. rainer

    rainer New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    LOCATION:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    These are very nice, Monica. I knew that despite your other commitments you wouldn't be able to resist making a start on these new pieces.
    And it's all my fault for having drawn them to your attention. So stop it right now and get on with your competition prep!

    I think your fears that your pedalling might be too much are unfounded. The way you do it works very well.

    Where there aren't many instructions re dynamics and tempo, one needs to be driven by instinct, which clearly is going to be very subjective. It's interesting, even though I'm not generally a fast-tempo person, that my instinct for tempo differs so much from yours as far as Barri de platja is concerned. Going from the free taster page on the publisher's website (I haven't yet decided whether to buy these pieces, so haven't seen the 2nd page), I would take the introduction and middle section at more or less the same tempo (and you do this too), but because (as you point out) the middle section was adapted to one of the Sardana motifs of Cançó i Dansa 3, it surprised me to find you playing it much more slowly than there. I guess you wanted to savour the bells in the introduction so much that you ended up dwelling on them, at the expense of suppressing the hustle and bustle of the beach quarter. :)
     
  10. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Carbondale, IL
    Last Name:
    Tucker
    First Name:
    Riley
    LOCATION:
    Carbondale, IL
    Hi Monica,

    I had a listen to all of your new Mompou recordings. I enjoyed listening to them! The way you play the reflections of muntanya pieces, to my ears sustenuto and legato (and as you say quite a lot of pedal) really captures the long decay of a bell ringing so I think you have accomplished that style in your interpretation :)

    The Dues Impressions do sound more mature, the first sounds a little like Strauss's "Traumerei" and the second like Debussy's "Reverie." Again, I think you use the pedal well in these pieces to space out the phrases making them sound distant and otherworldly.

    Glad you are enjoying the journey into new Mompou music!

    Look forward to the next pieces,

    Riley
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,716
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    Thanks, Riley. You know, I thought of you when I was working on these. They were written when Mompou was a budding young composer - just like you! :)


    Thanks, Rainer. And yes, it is your fault! :) Seriously, I'm grateful to you for directing my attention to these books. I am so much enjoying them (but I am getting myself into a little trouble as far as time goes).

    Regarding the “Barri de platja”, the opening is marked Pesant which I translated to mean slow and ponderous. There is no other tempo marking at the start of the middle section and so I just continued with the same tempo throughout the whole piece. Also, this middle section comes off a bunch of slow half-notes and the middle section is mostly eighth notes so I think there is a perception of it being a faster tempo. We have to keep in mind that these were Mompou’s 'experiments' and if he used bits and pieces in other pieces, he could have chosen to use different tempi for the ‘new’ pieces. Well, that’s just my two cents worth. Maybe it sounds like lame reasoning, but I think it makes sense, and it works for me! :lol: I do appreciate your opinion and when I play the piece again I will think about the issue.
     
  12. rainer

    rainer New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    LOCATION:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Well, literally it just means heavy. I took it to refer more to character than tempo, but I guess the latter can make sense too, and of course they would tend to go hand in hand to some extent.
    Yes, you're quite right.
    Not lame, no, and it does make sense. It's really quite exciting having to guess how it "should" go. I now see that wikipedia suggests that a pesante tempo should be in the range 60 to 100 (but is that a modern view or did it already prevail in 1912?), and indeed you seem to be playing this at about 60 (for quarter notes). When you can next spare a moment (which I know may not be for a while), just try it at 100. Of course, having accustomed yourself to 60, 100 will at first feel ridiculously fast, but sleep on it and don't resist any "attempts" by the tempo to convince you.

    I feel somewhat vindicated in my criticism to find that apparently Jordi Masó takes it at the faster tempo too. Honest, I only just discovered this, and I feel thrilled that my intuition appears to agree with his on this occasion. I don't have his recording to listen to, but the timing in the catalogue is 55 seconds against your 90, which is almost exactly the duration ratio you would expect for a 100/60 tempo ratio. :wink: But we have to remember that professionals have to guess too, and there isn't necessarily always a good reason to prefer their intuition to one's own. So I recommend that you not look at his timings or get hold of his recordings until after you've first used your own intuition for interpreting these pieces.
     
  13. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,149
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    LOCATION:
    U.S.A.
    Hi Monica,

    I listened to all of these pieces posted. These miniatures have a very fresh sound to them--bright and colorful. Even when Mompou composed in minor mode, there is still a vibrancy present, which comes through in your playing. I like Mompou's harmonies and sometimes unpredictable progressions too. Nothing in this music is overstated--it's very youthful, evocative and descriptive. This is my first hearing, of course, but I believe you've captured the mood and spirit of these character pieces very well. Your playing sounds confident, despite the lack of markings by the composer, so I believe you've made these pieces your own. This is one of the joys of performing and recording unknown, obscure and very neglected piano literature. You become one of the earlier exponents of the music and play a part in shaping the performance practices. Where Mompou is a favorite of yours, I'm sure this "new music" will bring you pleasure for a long time!

    David
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,716
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    Hi David, and thank you! Fresh sounds, unpredictable progressions, youthful evocative harmonies....Yes, that is Mompou! And it sounds like a good recipe, does it not? I'm going to make it for dinner tonight. :D
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,716
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    Rainer - if you have a moment, can you please send me a link to that catalogue? Part of me does not want to see those numbers, and part of me does....
     
  16. rainer

    rainer New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    LOCATION:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    OK, I've sent you this off-group.
     
  17. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Carbondale, IL
    Last Name:
    Tucker
    First Name:
    Riley
    LOCATION:
    Carbondale, IL
    Thanks Monica :D I'm flattered! :) Though I think there are many difference between me and Mompou and I only wish I wrote music like his when I was 17.. :oops: :roll: :)
     
  18. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    3,026
    Likes Received:
    3
    Occupation:
    High-school-teacher with subjects music and german
    Location:
    Germany
    Last Name:
    Pfaul
    First Name:
    Andreas
    LOCATION:
    Germany
    Hi Monica,
    that was very interesting, since I didn´t know these pieces.

    Good, clear and also expressive playing like we are used by you!

    Seems that Mompou likes to play with minor and major shortly one after the other in one piece. In the second piece in the middle-part I could hear some bell-like and choral-like passages, I think. These all are nice and deep character pieces, also the "Two impressions".

    Thank you for sharing!
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,716
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    Thank you, Andreas. Yes, Mompou has very interesting harmonies; I really love his music. And you are right in hearing bell-like tones - he tried to incorporate the sounds of bells in a lot of his music.
     

Share This Page