Frederic Mompou (1893 – 1987)
Cançons i Danses, 1 – 4; Música Callada, Cuaderno 4 (nos. 22 – 28)
Mompou is a composer who can’t be fit into any neat category. He created his own, very personal sonic universe, which he gradually developed and refined, ignoring the various schools and techniques which formed the “main stream” of classical music over the period of his long life. I think he can best be compared to the painter Marc Chagall, of whom Picasso once said, “I don’t know where he gets his ideas. An angel must sit on his shoulder.” Mompou himself said, “Music is the written that can’t be expressed. I wish that it should seem to come out of the shadows, so to return to the shadows again.”
Mompou wrote a total of 15 pieces entitled Cançó i Dansa (Catalan spelling, meaning “song and dance”) between the years 1918 and 1962, almost his entire life as a composer. These are based mostly on popular Catalan songs, each coupled with a dance, and set in a deceptively simple, but actually very sophisticated harmonic palette.
Música Callada was another series written over a period of many years, appearing in four volumes (cuadernos) between 1959 and 1967. The title, which means “music without sound,” comes from the Cántico Espiritual of St. John of the Cross. As Mompou wrote, “It is very difficult to translate and explain the true sense of “Musica Callada” in a language other than Spanish. The great mystic poet, St. John of the Cross, sings in one of his beautiful poems: “La musica callada, la soledad sonora” seeking to express the idea of a music which is the voice of silence itself; music keeping its own voice ‘callada’ - that is to say, being silent while solitude itself becomes music.”
Joaquin Turina (1882-1949)
Danzas Gitanes, opus 55
Turina was a friend and younger contemporary of Manuel de Falla, and spent several years in Paris with Falla, studying and partaking of the vibrant musical life there. He was a prolific composer, especially for piano, and was well known in his lifetime as a virtuoso pianist. He is considered, along with de Falla, Albéniz and Granados, one of the major quintessentially Spanish composers.
In this, the first of two sets of “gypsy dances” Turina wrote, he evokes the gypsy culture of Granada: the zambra, a fiesta filled with music and dance; the mutual seduction of two young gypsies; a stylized religious ritual; Generalife, the lovely summer palace on a hill outside Granada, filled with fountains; and Sacro-monte, the area where the gypsies lived.
Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Danzas Españolas, opus 5, nos. 1-6, 10, 12
Granados was an extraordinary virtuoso pianist, and a composer of considerable subtlety, who created many unique expressive effects for the piano. He is often described along with Albéniz as the creator of a truly Spanish piano style, one filled with evocations of the guitar, improvisatory flourishes, and modal harmonies.
Danzas Españolas are perhaps Granados’ most popular works, especially the second (Oriental) and fifth (Playera). Each dance has a very distinctive rhythmic and stylistic character, and most contain a slow and very expressive middle section. They are all matchless in capturing the essence of the Spanish character.
Fred Sturm, pianist
“Like all pianists, I spend much of my time around pianos. Unlike most, I work not only at the piano, but “on” and “in” the piano as well, in my role as a professional piano technician. I am a part of that rather eccentric fraternity which has devoted an incredible amount of talent and creativity over the centuries to the miraculous invention of Bartolemo Cristofori.
“Playing the piano and preparing the piano for performance are very similar endeavors in my experience. Both require extraordinary sensitivity and attention to detail (wherein both god and the devil reside) in the pursuit of magic: that transcendent time when the music and the instrument together come to life.
“For this CD I’ve crossed the Atlantic from my usual focus on music of the Americas, to explore some of its Iberian roots and relatives.”
Also by Fred Sturm: Brazilian Soul: Piano Music of Villa-Lobos; American Rags, Brazilian Tangos, Afrocuban Dances; Piano Music of Ginastera and Villa-Lobos.
Recorded in Keller Hall, University of New Mexico, January – February, 2005.
Recorded, edited and mastered by Manny Rettinger, Ubik Sound, LLC, Albuquerque, NM
Copyright 2005, Fred S. Sturm
Cover design: Paul Akmajian Photos: Terri Reck Program notes: Fred Sturm
Produced with Sturm und Drang, 315 Nara Visa Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM
Cançons i Danses, 1 – 4 [14:27], Frederic Mompou
1) Cançó i Dansa #1 [3:51]
2) Cançó i Dansa #2 [2:41]
3) Cançó i Dansa #3 [3:44]
4) Cançó i Dansa #4 [4:00]
Música Callada, 4me Cahier (nos. 22 – 28) [20:03], Mompou
5) 22 Molto lento e tranquilo [2:03]
6) 23 Calme, avec clarté [2:12]
7) 24 Moderato [2:01]
8) 25 Lento [2:57]
9) 26 Lento [2:58]
10) 27 Lento molto [3:19]
11) 28 Lento [4:08]
Danses Gitanes, opus 55 [11:53], Joaquin Turina
12) Zambra [3:20]
13) Dansa de la seduccion [2:46]
14) Danza ritual [2:24]
15) Generalife [1:35]
16) Sacro-monte [1:35]
Danzas Españolas (DLR 1:2), nos 2, 4, 5, 6, 10, & 12 [31:01], Enrique Granados
17) 2 Oriental [4:19]
18) 4 Villanesca [6:38]
19) 5 Andaluza [4:00]
20) 6 Rondalla aragonesca [5:48]
21) 10 Melancólica [4:54]
22) 12 Bolero [5:00]
Total playing time 77:38
copyright 2005, Fred S. Sturm
Produced by Sturm und Drang, 315 Nara Visa Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM