Scholarly writing and how to get it done. / And a workshop for my own ideas, scholarly and poetic
I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet. The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...
What Mompou I've heard seems pleasant enough, but doesn't seem to do much that Ravel doesn't (or say the Janacek of "On an Overgrown Path"). Am I missing something? Or is your engagement with M more about his songs?
I guess I wouldn't make exaggerated claims for him, since we all should have minor figures that we engage with without apology. My main engagement with him is playing his music on the piano. He is one of those neglected and possibly "minor" figures that I happen to admire. I don't know Ravel enough to know if you are right, but Mompou is in the Satie / Debussy / Ravel / Falla realm. That is his musical world. But does Ravel aspire to silence like Mompou does, that interior audition? For me the "Música callada" is deceptively simple and deep. I've heard recordings where the pianist is only playing it only as sweet and pleasant music, without really plumbing those depths of pianistic sound. I can hear those exact moments when the player jumps over something without fully understanding it. Though I cannot play it better, not being a professional player or even a great amateur, I think the way I'm hearing it in my own mind is better than what the pianist has come up with.
Interesting. I wouldn't say Ravel aspires to silence -- I'm always aware of his music as constructed, fabricated, lacking that mystical touch. Sometimes extremely showy (Tzigane!). Maybe the single best piece I know is the Trio, not a fair comparison with this Mompou because of a difference in scale.
I got the Salabert piano collection from the library and have been playing through it, mostly from Musica callada. Lots for me to learn in harmony and piano sonority.
Let me know what ones you like. I play I-IV, X and XXII from the Música callada.
Having tinkered around a bit, I think there's no one piece that stands out for me. Even in the pieces I most enjoy for harmony, sonority, texture, form, I keep wishing there were more going on in melody and rhythm. (These are not fully orthogonal, separable characteristics, of course.) Definitely lots of scope for subtleties of touch, though! I've been looking into Saariaho recently, motivated by a chamber opera project I'm working on slowly but ever more seriously. I was surprised to find she did an adaptation of two of the Pound-Fenollosa Noh translations, as a pair of one-act operas. But when I started watching (the Dutch National Opera DVD), I realized her approach is miles away from what I'm interested in -- a relief in that there's no competition. On the plus side: endlessly pretty and subtle use of the orchestra (rivaling Takemitsu), fantastic singing (I knew Jaroussky, but Davone Tines is just as good). On the minus, or at least irrelevant to my interest -- the heavy expressive emphasis laid on every utterance. These are rather plain texts which can be read through quickly -- making each line a tense despairing wail misses what I take to be the point.
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