The written extract above is from "The Pianist", a novel by Manuel Vazquez Montalban. It is true that the sonority and clarity - and poetry - of Chopin's music was of central importance to Federico Mompou; indeed, Mompou wrote his own set of variations on one of his namesake's melodies. With every session of playing Musica Callada, I'm furthering my understanding that poetry, sonority and rubato are cornerstones of the language of both of these composers.
Wilhelm von Lenz, who studied with both Liszt and Chopin, believed rubato formed the very heart of Chopin’s playing: “He would say, ‘A piece lasts for, say, five minutes, only in that it occupies this time for its overall performance; internal details are another matter. And there you have rubato.’”
“Rubato” may be written in only nine of Chopin’s manuscripts - only nine! -but is essential to nearly all of them.
“Look at these trees,” Franz Liszt said, “the wind plays in the leaves, stirs up life among them, the tree remains the same, that is Chopinesque rubato.”
With Mompou, where does the borrowing of time begin and end? The composer... [please take over, Mr Antonio Iglesias - ]
This evening, in my work on Mompou's music I've been particularly relishing the chords in Book 2: there are many different characters to be found here. In no 12, the harmonies bring the music of Olivier Messiaen to my mind:
And in no.16, Bill Evans makes an appearance -
I'll hand back to Mr Iglesias for the final words tonight -
Signing off -