Hyperion Records

Paisajes
composer
1942-1960

Recordings
'Mompou: Piano Music' (CDA66963)
Mompou: Piano Music
'The Stephen Hough Piano Collection' (HOUGH1)
The Stephen Hough Piano Collection
Buy by post £4.50 This album is not yet available for download HOUGH1  Super-budget price sampler  
Details
No 1: La fuente y la campana
Track 28 on CDA66963 [3'25]
Track 2 on HOUGH1 [3'25] Super-budget price sampler
No 2: El Lago
No 3: Carros de Galicia

Paisajes
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The first two pieces of Paisajes (‘Landscapes’) were composed in 1942 and 1947 respectively and they are among the most visionary and distilled of Mompou’s entire output; the third piece was a later addition in 1960. ‘The Fountain and the Bell’ was written when Mompou had just returned to Barcelona after a twenty-year exile and it was inspired by a courtyard in the Gothic Quarter of the city near the cathedral. However, this piece is not concerned with prosaic description as such—there are no water effects and only a solitary, muffled bell. Rather his interest is with the essence of fountains and bells: in philosophical terms, the substance not the accidents. Similarly in ‘The Lake’ (inspired by Barcelona’s Montjuic Park) he is removed from the ‘blueness’, ‘wetness’, ‘stillness’ or ‘storminess’ of the object; rather it is its ‘waterness’ which interests him. A bell is not so much one metal dome, ringing with vibration, but rather every bell ever rung—wedding, funeral, sanctuary, or cow—with all their smiles and tears. Furthermore it is that sense of distance again, of memory; we look past the lake, and it is the breath of the wind which has carried the bell to our ears. Bells are one of the principal ‘presences’ in Mompou’s music (his grandfather had a bell foundry which the composer must have frequented as a young boy); yet they are not so much a call to prayer, as a prayer itself—an abstract orison celebrating a sacredness in the very quiver of the metal.

The third piece in the set, ‘Carts of Galicia’, is contemporary with the first book of Música Callada and is almost atonal in its syncopated chord-clusters accompanying a twisted melody played ‘très lointain’. It is an experimental piece, a prototype for Mompou’s late style, and although his journey in search of a purer language may seem rather strained here (we are far from the unaffected lyricism of the Cancións y Danzas), there remains an integrity and a powerful sense of striving, of refining, which calls to mind a poem of St John of the Cross, whose writings were the inspiration for the Música Callada cycle:

Cuanto más alto se sube,
Tanto menos se entendía,
Que es la tenebrosa nube
Que a la noche esclarecía;
Por eso quien la sabía
Queda siempre no sabiendo
Toda ciencia trascendiendo.
The higher he ascends
The less he understands
Because the cloud is dark
Which lit up the night;
Whoever knows this
Remains always in unknowing
Transcending all knowledge.
Stanzas concerning an ecstasy experienced in high contemplation (Collected Works of St John of the Cross: ICS, Washington D.C. 1979)

from notes by Stephen Hough ę 1997

Track-specific metadata
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Details for HOUGH1 track 2
No 1: La fuente y la campana
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-97-96328
Duration
3'25
Recording date
23 July 1996
Recording venue
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Recording engineer
Hyperion usage
  1. Mompou: Piano Music (CDA66963)
    Disc 1 Track 28
    Release date: August 1997
  2. The Stephen Hough Piano Collection (HOUGH1)
    Disc 1 Track 2
    Release date: May 2005
    Super-budget price sampler
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