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F. Mompou – El Pont de Montjuïc

Federic Mompou (Catalan composer and pianist, 1893-1987). El Pont de Montjuïc. Piano: Marcel Worms.

Mompou is best known as a miniaturist, writing short, relatively improvisatory music, often described as “delicate” or “intimate”. His principal influences were French impressionism, Erik Satie and Gabriel Fauré, resulting in a style in which musical development is minimized and expression is concentrated into very small forms. He was fond of ostinato figures, bell imitations (his mother’s family owned the Dencausse bell foundry and his grandfather was a bell maker), and a kind of incantatory, meditative sound, the most complete expression of which can be found in his masterpiece Musica Callada (or the Voice of Silence) based on the mystical poetry of Saint John of the Cross. He was also influenced by the sounds and smells of the maritime quarter of Barcelona, the cry of seagulls, the sound of children playing and popular Catalan culture. He often dispensed with bar lines and key signatures. His music is rooted in the chord G♭-C-E♭-A♭-D, which he named Barri de platja (the Beach Quarter).