Just when it seemed that Jordi Maso had dotted the last "i" and crossed the last "t" on his superb Mompou series, here is this latest and very welcome volume. Maso has now effectively outdone anyone who has ever recorded a "complete" Mompou piano music by delving into the unpublished manuscripts in the composer's home, as well as the Mompou collection of the Biblioteca de Catalunya.
This might sound like "scraping the bottom of the barrel," but this is not a case of diminishing returns. Maso has unearthed some gems, all of them dating from 1911-18, the time of his first published works. Some of these pieces seem to have been discarded from published works such as "Suburbis" "Pesebres" and "Scenes d'enfants." On the other hand, the "5 Impressions" and "Impressions de muntanya" are complete, and hitherto unknown, sets of unpublished pieces.
For those unfamiliar with Mompou, one might describe him as "a Catalonian Satie," but that would be a bit misleading (although Satie was certainly a strong influence). For one thing, Satie's sense of the absurd is not present, although Mompou's music is not without humor. The two composers share a similar delight in non-functional dissonance for the sake of sheer sonic tang and the overtones they excite from the piano, as well as an avoidance of high-flown romantic pianistic rhetoric. Like Satie, Mompou makes for delicious late-night quiet listening, but Mompou is more inward, secretive and poetic. Even his most vigorous pieces (of which there are many) make their points without shouting. Debussy is also an influence--places in "Estanys de paper de plata" ("Tinfoil pools"--traditional parts of homemade Nativity scenes) seem to recall "La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune."
For Mompou lovers, this CD will be cause for rejoicing. Wisely, Maso has chosen to omit fragments and incomplete works. Whether or not there is more to come, only Maso knows, but this CD runs to over 66 minutes--a treasure trove of unknown Mompou, and a must for those who have come to love this dreamer's gently surreal world.