Those who love the music of Federico Mompou (1893-1987) will be delighted with this CD because it contains music never before recorded (and indeed never published) and represents an unexpected addition to Jordi Masó's excellent series of recordings of Mompou's music, which I had thought was complete with the previous four CDs.
The major work here is the piano version of Mompou's half-hour ballet suite, 'Don Perlimplin' based on Garcia Lorca's play 'The Love of Don Perlimplin and Belisa in the Garden'. It was written in 1956 and because Mompou had had trouble finishing the orchestration before the première, he asked his friend Xavier Montsalvatge to help out and the latter composer wound up writing two original dances and some linking music as well as helping with the orchestration. The story of the ballet concerns the love by the nobleman Don Perlimplin for the beauteous but already married Belisa. The music is in fourteen sections played without pause. There are some Spanish elements, of course, but most of the music is quintessential Mompou; that is to say that it is both concise and contemplative, with some reminiscences to the music of Satie or Poulenc, both of whom the composer revered.
A fifteen-minute suite, 'Ballet', from 1949, was written for inclusion in a 'bibliophile book' featuring illustrations by his brother Josep Mompou. It consists of twelve sections, all but one of them hardly more than a minute long. The Prelude clocks in, though, at five minutes. It was the original version of what later became his 'Prelude No. 6 for Left Hand', although this version is two-handed. The shorter pieces are in various dance forms -- mazurka, pavane, forlane, waltz -- and a 'blues'.
'Gloss on "Au clair de la lune"' (1946) and 'Fantasia on "Au clair de la lune"' are two brief (and delightful) versions of the French folksong. The tune is heard through subtle impressionistic harmonies in both pieces. 'Romança' is a miniature written as a present for Mompou's wife-to-be. 'Moderato espressivo' is the original version of No. 18 in Mompou's masterpiece, 'Musica callada' ('Silent Music').
The rest of the pieces on the disc are Mompou's only three chamber works. 'Altitud' (1928) is for violin and piano and may have been a sketch for a string quartet that Mompou never finished. 'El pont' (1976) was originally intended to be for solo piano but was revised for cello and piano. '3 Comptines for piano four hands' was originally for voice and piano written in 1928; in 1978 Mompou rescored it just before a New York appearance at a festival of Catalan music because the singer did not make it to New York in time. Thus the four-hand première was played by Mompou and Alicia de Larrocha.
All the works here are easily identifiable as being by Mompou. There is such a combination of concision and economy of means coupled with subtle references to the music of his beloved Catalonia. The performances here, as in the earlier Masó discs, are definitive.