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4.4 out of 5 stars14
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 15 June 2013
Volodos is a discrete master piano player. He is in the league of humble terrific pianists, and I place in together with Elisabeth Leonskaja and Paul Lewis in this shy personality, away from the flashes and marketing other pianists are accostumed to. I had the chance to see these players perform in the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid. Volodos has a scarce output, however it is remarkable. After his album devoted to Liszt, the Russian virtuoso goes after a Spanish composer who is less known, Federico Mompou (1893-1987). Mompou developed a music less dramatic and "Spanish" than Falla or Albéniz. Mompou went after short pieces and his deepest achievement in these eloquent short piano songs was "Musica Callada", a collection which key parts are included in this recording by Volodos. This music is subtle and rich in meanings, open to trascendental states of mind. I mean, this is not virtuoso or pyrotechnics matter. Indeed, this is music akin to meditation, evocation and self-awareness. I do not want to make feel this music is difficult or strange or even arrogant. It is simply a music to enjoy intellectually or in a spiritual mood. Difficult to be put in words how much rewarding a collection like "Musica Callada", inspired by the poetry of mistic Saint Juan de la Cruz, can be. It turns on your memory and your thirst for eternity. Mompou makes a philosophical proposal and Volodos, instead of going through easy standards or pieces to show his talent and virtuoso skills, goes after this less-known and curious stuff. Alicia de Larrocha and even Arthur Rubinstein played Mompou's stuff and there are collections by Spanish pianists. However I guess this introduction to Mompou is the one to go after. It has the trascendency it deserves and Mompou, who even studied piano in Spain in the Reina Sofia School, is a great exponent of this delicate stuff. The album demands more than just one play. It is one to play many times to be totally catched. Nevertheless, a first play and a reading to the notes put you in the mood. Great stuff and brave decision to risk on this project. Volodos challenges conventions and advertising pressures. Great move! He even arranges for piano a couple of vocal pieces by Mompou in the album.
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on 21 December 2013
Wonderful recording,which I heard reviewed on Radio 3.
Volodos is one of the greatest of today's pianists ,in my opinion,and this disc does not disappoint.
Mompou is a favourite composer-I already have Stephen Hough's Hyperion recording-and this makes for the perfect addition to my collection.
Volodos plays with commendable subtlety and restraint and the haunting,evanescent quality of Mompou's music is given its just deserts.
Highly recommended.
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on 27 May 2015
Beautiful piano playing, amazing insight, subtlety and musicality. One of those discs that should be an every piano music lover's collection, very highly recommended.
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Mompou is a hidden secret. Though not as important as Satie, he deserves to be listened attentively and Volodos has the intelligence of showing us his talent.
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on 5 September 2015
What a disc. Great sound, wonderful music but poor packaging. Extracting the CD an experience ! Not to be missed & for Volodos fans, essential.
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on 4 August 2013
I don't need to add to the praise and awards heaped on this CD. Volodos's introduction probably mirrors the experience of others, myself included - at first a relatively cool reaction then a slow burn as the music imposes itself. However, I find the notes offered by Adolf Pla somewhat pretentious, and lacking in context and biographical detail. But perhaps this is deliberate, as it would raise questions...In 1941 Mompou moved from his Paris home to his native Barcelona, to escape the Nazi occupation of France, but to a Spain under a fascist dictator, Franco! He had led a coup against the democratically elected Republican government, resulting in a bloody three-year civil war, ending in 1939. Mompou arrived just after thousands (including Pablo Casals) had fled Catalonia to escape imprisonment or execution by Franco's victorious forces. In the following years thousands of Republican Catalans who had remained were rounded up and sent to forced-labour camps or executed, their older children sent to Church orphanages for 're-education',the youngest kidnapped and given to childless couples who supported the regime, with the connivance of the Catholic Church - a scandal that reverberates across Spain today...Mompou was a deeply religious man and a supporter of Franco, and he must have been aware of what was happening in and around Barcelona. He composed his Musica Callada against this background. What does he mean when he says, "I don't think up music, I simply transmit it, and keep my conscience at peace"? Was he trying to escape the real world into some kind of ethereal purity? But the music will, and ought to rise above biographical considerations, though they remain a nagging presence (as with Wagner's anti-Semitism.) Contrary to Pla's gushing claim that Mompou should be understood as a 'composer of the future' I think he is an interesting backwater, and more interesting to play that to listen to at length. This is not a CD for the car stereo, it needs a good hi-fi system to fully appreciate the finesse, and extraordinary wide dynamics, of Volodos's playing and the recording.
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on 3 October 2013
This disc received a very positive review in Gramophone magazine so I was intrigued. My first listening, I thought it might be a little too simple, a little too much like second hand Erik Satie. But on repeated listening, I've come to understand the music on its own terms. It gets under your skin. Volodos knows what he's doing. The only serious problem is that SONY hasn't made it available in the US and apparently, has no plans to do so.
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on 25 July 2013
Volodos never ceases to surprise me. Not because of his relative youth and flawless technique, which today can be equalled by pianists of most nations. He surprises me because of the intelligence behind his interpretations - an intelligence that leaves behind (with the exception of another Russian, Sokolov) all living pianists.
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on 11 August 2014
Volodos is an all time great pianist and hear he is revealing aspects of Mompou probably unknown to many. Worth getting to hear music which will almost certainly grow on you.
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on 16 February 2015
I am so glad that I have discovered this amazing music.
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