The development of compositional style in the piano music of Federico Mompou
Hammill, Jennifer Lee, 1957-
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Federico Mompou's published piano works cover a span of nearly 70 years, from 1911 to 1979. This study seeks to trace the development of Mompou's skills as a composer throughout his long career. It concludes that the composer did not always employ the same idiom--as has often been held--but rather passed through at least three stylistic stages, each demonstrating a deepened artistic control.A detailed analysis of several early works in Chapter 1 reveals a rapidly evolving set of compositional devices. A highly characteristic idiom emerges: the total reharmonization of repeated untransposed melodies. Attention to motivic detail increases steadily. Mompou learns to vary and develop phrases and as a consequence to construct ever larger internal sections.Chapter 2 considers the works of Mompou's Parisian years (1921-41). They are characterized by larger size and formal scope, by a more bravura pianistic idiom, and in general, by a more open and extrovertive emotional tone. Perhaps in response to his milieu, Mompou now opens himself increasingly to the European musical tradition, composing traditional forms such as preludes, etudes, and themes and variations. These works nevertheless exhibit Mompou's continuing preoccupation with and refinement of motivic manipulation and reharmonization.During the composer's later years in Barcelona, intellectual and spiritual concerns come to dominate his style. Pianistic textures are simplified, compositional length is reduced, and the harmonic idiom grows more difficult. Every procedure distills and concentrates. An increasing preoccupation with formal concerns leads to use of the Golden Mean in proportioning some of his last works.A conventional view holds that Mompou's music did not change over the course of his life, that his gift is charm, one issuing from a childlike simplicity that he retained from beginning to end. This study seeks to show the opposite: that Mompou found ever new technical means to take him through various explorations to a serious and deeply private end.
- Music