Friday, March 17, 2017

Federico Mompou - Volodos plays Mompou


Composer: Federico Mompou
  • (01) Prélude VII (Palmier d'etoiles)
  • (02) Damunt de tu només les flors (transcr. Volodos)
  • (03-07) Scènes d'enfants
  • (08) Hoy la tierra y los cielos me sonríen
  • (09) El lago (Le lac) (No. 2 from Paisajes)
  • (10) ... pour appeler la joie (No. 6 from Charmes)
  • (11) Prélude XII
  • (12) Dialogues 2
  • (13) Dialogues 1
  • (13-24) Musica callada (selections)

Arcadi Volodos, piano
Date: 2013
Label: Sony Classical



Russian ‘Goliath’ Volodos turns to Catalan ‘David’ Mompou

Who would have imagined Arcadi Volodos in Mompou? Celebrated in outsize virtuoso repertoire and for his cool take on the white-hot transcriptions of Cziffra and Horowitz, he now turns to music of an ultimate inwardness and confidentiality. Mompou may be a ‘minor muse’ (Wilfrid Mellers) but he surely illustrates Goethe’s belief that ‘it is when working within limits that mastery reveals itself’.

Certainly you will rarely if ever hear Mompou’s introspection caught and held with greater affection and finesse. Volodos’s records and appearances may be few and far between; but whether in his torrential if superfine virtuosity or in a more rarefied poetry (I am thinking of his disc of Schubert’s G major Sonata – 6/02), his command is phenomenal. How vividly he responds to the first of his 24 items (‘Palmier d’étoiles’), to the composer’s transition from his occasional volatility to more familiar patterns and lyricism; how caressingly he embroiders Mompou’s spare outlines in two of his own transcriptions. He gives a dream performance of ‘Jeunes filles au jardin’ (Scènes d’enfants) and captures all of the move from tranquillity to less peaceful ripples and the cries of wildlife in ‘Le lac’. Finally, in a selection from Música callada, Volodos takes us into a world so veiled in mystery that sound itself becomes a paradoxical intrusion. Once again his playing is of an unfaltering poise and translucency. Sony’s sound is ideal. This is a disc in a million.

-- Bryce MorrisonGramophone

More reviews:
BBC Music Magazine  PERFORMANCE: ***** / RECORDING: *****
MusicWeb International  RECORDING OF THE MONTH


Frederic Mompou (16 April 1893 – 30 June 1987) was a Catalan composer and pianist. He is remembered for his solo piano music and, to a degree, his songs. Mompou studied piano under Pedro Serra at the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu and with Isidor Philipp at the Conservatoire de Paris. 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. He was also influenced by the sounds of Catalan culture.


Arcadi Volodos (born 24 February 1972 in Leningrad) is a Russian pianist. Though he had played the piano from the age of eight, he did not devote himself to serious study of the instrument until 1987. Volodos studied with Galina Eguiazarova in Moscow, Jacques Rouvier in Paris and Dimitri Bashkirov in Madrid. Despite the relative brevity of his formal studies, Volodos, as described by  multiple Grammy Award-winning classical music producer Thomas Frost, "has everything: imagination, colour, passion and a phenomenal technique to carry out his ideas".


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