Friday, September 6, 2013

A New Recording - A Flaming Virtuoso Meets A Master of Virtual Evanescence...

In his  performances of some of the vaunted transcriptions of Vladimir Horowitz, the Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos  is dizzying in his pyrotechnical language - personally, I had never contemplated that there would be  another Horowitz after Horowitz,  in my time -  how wrong I was, and am. Listen for yourself.
What is now essentially as enthralling is the reality  of  a recording of music just as evanescent and translucent as the transcriptions of Horowitz are of steel and concrete. I write of the music of one Federico Mompou of Spain. And yes, Arcadi Volodos is the performer.
The composer Mompou was vaguely known by me; that is, until the violinist Ricardo Odriozola brought for me the reality of the genius of this composer, for which I am eternally grateful. For me, Federico Mompou is the only untrammeled Spanish answer to Debussy and French Impressionism. His wonderful way of inferring musical ideas to the listener, plus his luscious  harmonic vocabulary and the splaying forms of linear design combine to form, for me, a voice of unique design. A voice, in my view, which should be heard far more than it has thus far. After all, how is it that such luminaries as Michelangeli  and Rubinstein have recorded some of  Mompou's works? And there are others who have played and recorded  this composer's music.
The release date of "Volodos Plays Mompou" was, I believe, in May, though world dissemination of this disc  may  still be incomplete at this point in time. For those interested, it is a Sony disc.
A thought, unrelated to be sure, just struck me as I write  this blog.  Recently, I had written about the great Brazilian pianist Guiomar Novaes and her composer/architect husband  Octavio Pinto, both of whom had studied with the great teacher Isidor Phillip in Paris, and I had mentioned that one of my teachers at Eastman had studied with Phillip as well, followed by me  one and a half generations later.
Well, I now  recall  that Mompou had also studied with Phillip, and entered the Conservatoire with another student who turned out to be the great pianist Jose Iturbi, with whom I studied for a brief period when Iturbi was in the States. I was most assuredly in rather fast company!

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