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

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Opus Arte
WORKS: Combat del somni; Comptines; Becquerianas; Cantar del alma, etc
PERFORMER: Roger Padullés (tenor), Iain Burnside (piano)


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.


Roger Nichols