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Harold C. Schonberg
American Record Guide, February 2001

"All of a sudden it's Mompou Month. Federico Mompou (1893-1937) was the most significant composer of Spanish piano music after Albeniz and Granados, Alicia de Larrocha has been his most noted champion, though others have been taking up his cause. We have in the Naxos disc a cross-section of Mompou's music. Jordi Maso, a skillful Spaniard, plays a collection that includes Mompou's Chopin Variations, Three Variations, Souvenirs de l'Exposition, Paisajes, Pessebres and Impressions Intimas. It is all graceful, attractive music, salon-like, expertly written.

Who was it who said that in the heart of every French opera composer lies a slumbering Massenet? One might also say that in the heart of every Spanish composer of piano music slumber those two twins, Albeniz and Granados. Mompou tries, but was not in that class; he lacked the bigness to envision a latter-day Iberia and Goyescas. But that does not mean that Mompou does not occupy a legitimate space among the lesser Spanish composers. His Chopin Variations, based on the little A-major Prelude, is a beautifully crafted piece. The other pieces make the expected references to Spanish melody and rhythm. Mompou was a fine pianist and he knew all the tricks. So there is a skillful combination of virtuosity and agreeable melody. Maso, hitherto unknown to me, is a strong pianist completely at home in this idiom. A survey of Spanish piano music from him would be a most worthy challenge. Here's hoping."





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