Hough plays Mompou

Mompou by Hough

Federico Mompou (pronounced Mom-PO) was born in Barcelona in 1893 but spent much of his adult life in France. Mompou studied piano at the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu before going to Paris to study with Ferdinand Motte-Lacroix in 1911. He also studied at the Paris Conservatory.

Mompou’s music is generally very gentle and always lyrical. He condensed his music to its essence, using seamless counterpoint, and consequently he wrote mostly miniatures, and he collected them into short pieces with titles such as ‘Cancións y Danzas’, ‘Préludes’, ‘Paisajes’ (‘Landscapes’) and the like.

This recording, which won a Gramophone Award in 1998 is essentially a recital of his music by which is meant that Stephen Hough has reordered pieces from the various collections to make a highly pleasing program. In my view, this re-ordering is a very creative arrangement, in that instead of hearing 17 Cancions performed in a row, Mr. Hough created a collection of one short Cancion followed by a longer work, and then followed by a Prelude. Again, I personally would get tired of hearing 9 Mompou Preludes in a row.

The performances by Stephen Hough are delicate and sensitively done. Hough is certainly one of the really great pianists before the public right now, and his appearances are exciting in the concerto format and in the recital format alike.

I especially like to use these pieces as introductory music for the classical music program that I host on our local National Public Radio station. Consistently the public calls in to express pleasure in hearing Mr. Hough’s interpretation of Mompou’s compositions.

Listen now as Stephen Hough plays Catalan composer Federico Mompou’s “Secreto” as an encore after a recital in Quebec City in 2006.

Tags: Federico Mompou, Stephen Hough, pianist

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