The enigmatic Catalan composer Federico Mompou was born in Barcelona on 16 April 1893. He studied piano at the Conservatori Superior de Musica del Liceu, first performing in public at the age of fifteen, and then in Paris from 1911 with Ferdinand Motte-Lacroix.
Shying away from a career as a pianist, he turned to composition, and the results include Scènes d'enfants (1915-18) and the four books of Música Callada ('The voice of silence') based on the mystic poetry of St John of the Cross. He was 'a man of few words, and a musician of few notes'.
Wilfrid Mellers thought that Mompou's folk-like melodies and unpretentious style indicated a nostalgia for childlike simplicity. His miniaturist output consists of mostly piano music and songs, plus a few choral works and pieces for guitar. Mompou died in Barcelona, aged 94, on 30 June 1987.
A Charming Touch - Mike Wheeler listens to Beethoven, Brahms, Granados and Mompou, played by Ingrid Cusidó
Ensemble. Haunting Effect - Spanish and Catalan music from Maria Camahort and friends, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Spellbinding Artistry - Jonathan Plowright plays Chopin, recommended by Howard Smith. '... positively hair-raising.'
CD Spotlight. A Must-have - Piano music by Federico Mompou, recommended by Natalie Artemas-Polak. 'Haskell Small's contemplative approach admirably suits these pieces ...'
CD Spotlight. A Striking Urgency - Schnittke and Ginastera from the Choir of St Ignatius Loyola, reviewed by Howard Smith. 'Not quite what one might expect.'