Mompou: Combat del somni; Comptines; Becquerianas; Cantar del alma, etc

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Mompou
LABELS: Opus Arte
WORKS: Combat del somni; Comptines; Becquerianas; Cantar del alma, etc
PERFORMER: Roger Padullés (tenor), Iain Burnside (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD9021 D

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Mompou’s piano pieces have long been treasured by those who value delicate craftsmanship allied to an individual voice. But does his style encompass enough variety to make a whole disc of his music viable, even if the Becquerianas of 1971, written in his early eighties, do introduce a higher level of dissonance? If it were left to Iain Burnside alone, the answer might well be ‘yes’. He brings out all the colours of Mompou’s chromatic ornamentation, overlaying a firmly tonal or modal base, and is particularly adept, as in the Canço de la fira, at eludicating Mompou’s intricate part-writing.

Roger Padullés sings for the most part sweetly and his words are excellently clear (his spoken French in Le nuage has a distinctly Spanish twang, but maybe Mompou would have regarded that as authentic). His soft singing is seductive and only now and then, at climaxes, does the voice become over-grainy. What I chiefly miss, though, is a variety of tone-colour to match his accompanist’s. This, together with a lack of memorable melodies, means that, while I shall take this disc off the shelf from time to time, it will probably be to listen to extracts only.

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Roger Nichols