Federico Mompou, classical music composer

Federico Mompou

Biography

Frederic (Federico) Mompou i Dencausse (16 April 1893 – 30 June 1987) was a Spanish Catalan composer and pianist. He is best known for his solo piano music and his songs.

Mompou was born in Barcelona to the lawyer Frederic Mompou and his wife Josefina Dencausse. His brother Josep Mompou (1888–1968) became a painter. Mompou studied piano at the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu before going to Paris to study with Ferdinand Motte-Lacroix in 1911. He also studied with Isidor Philipp, head of the piano department at the Paris Conservatory. Being rather shy, he abandoned a solo career and chose to pursue composition instead. In 1914 he returned to Barcelona, fleeing the war.

His Scènes d'enfants (1915–18) inspired the French critic Émile Vuillermoz to proclaim Mompou the successor to Claude Debussy.

He returned to Paris in 1921, and remained there until 1941 when he once again departed for his native Catalonia, fleeing the German occupation of Paris.

In 1956 appeared Don Perlimpin (also seen as Don Perlimpinada), a ballet written in collaboration between Mompou and Xavier Montsalvatge. Most of the work was by Mompou, but Montsalvatge helped with the orchestration and linking passages, and added two numbers of his own.

In 1957, aged 64, he married the pianist Carmen Bravo (c.1923 – 29 April 2007). She was 30 years his junior; it was the first marriage for both of them, and they had no children.

In 1974 Mompou recorded his piano works for the Spanish label Ensayo. These invaluable recordings have been issued on four CDs by both Ensayo and Brilliant Classics. Mompou's music has also been recorded by notable pianists such as Alicia de Larrocha, Stephen Hough, and others. Both Arthur Rubinstein and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli made recordings of selections from the Cançons i danses. The great Spanish soprano Victoria de los Ángeles recorded Mompou's haunting song cycle El combat del somni, and a video from 1971 survives of her singing one of these songs in her living room with the composer as her accompanist.

During his career Mompou received numerous awards, including: Chevalier des arts et lettres (France), Premio Nacional de Música (Spain), Doctor honoris causa, Universitat de Barcelona (1979); and Medalla d'Or de la Generalitat de Catalunya (1980).

An initial supporter of Franco's regime, in Barcelona he became a member of the Royal Academy of San Jorge, but otherwise lived quietly there until his death at the age of 94, from respiratory failure. He is buried at the Montjuïc Cemetery in Barcelona.

After the death of his widow in 2007, about 80 unpublished and hitherto unknown works were discovered in Mompou's files at his home, and also in the files of the National Library of Catalonia. Some of them were given performances in Barcelona in 2008 by Jordi Maso and Mac McClure. Many others were given their premiere performances in 2009 by Marcel Worms.

Composer Title Date Action
Federico Mompou Canción y Danza, No. 7 in A Major 05/02/2009 Play Add to playlist
Federico Mompou Variations sur un thème de Chopin 12/21/2011 Play Add to playlist
Federico Mompou Variations sur un thème de Chopin 04/18/2012 Play Add to playlist
Federico Mompou Pajaro triste, from Impresiones Intimas 07/08/2013 Play Add to playlist
Federico Mompou La barca, from Impresiones Intimas 07/08/2013 Play Add to playlist
Federico Mompou Cuna, from Impresiones Intimas 07/08/2013 Play Add to playlist