“I make music like this because art has reached its limits…my art is a return to the primitive…no, not even a return, it is to begin again“
Federico Mompou (1893-1987) was born into an old Catalan family of church bell makers (and, yes, he loved the motive of sounding bells and used it often in his music). More or less self-taught at the piano, he left Spain to study to become a virtuoso at the conservatoire in Paris at the age of 18. After two years he was convinced his talents lay more in composing, maybe because his natural shyness and introspective nature made it extremely difficult for him to appear in public.
He was very popular in France in the early 20‘s, and seen as a successor of Debussy, although his music was even more influenced by Fauré and Satie.
He left France for Spain before the second world war and had a long period of hardships where he didn‘t publish any music. He later received many awards: Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture, Member of the royal Academy of Art Sant Jordi, National Award for Music and Doctor H. C. by the University of Barcelona.
He met the Catalan pianist Carmen Bravo (1923-2007) when judging a piano competition in Barcelona and was overwhelmed by the passion of her performance. They were married in 1957.
Mompou wrote mainly songs, piano and guitar music, a ballet, some choral works. All very minimalistic, introvert, delicate and stunningly beautiful.