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Silent Music - Mompou's Musica Callada / Jenny Lin

Release Date: 04/26/2011
Label: Steinway & Sons Catalog #: 30004
Composer:  Federico Mompou Performer:  Jenny Lin Number of Discs: 1
Recorded in: Stereo Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins.
Liner Notes

Catalan composer Federico Mompou was a direct heir to the legacy of French impressionism and one of the greatest Spanish composers of the 20th century. Música Callada is his rarely recorded late masterwork. Jenny Lin is one of the most sought-after players of the music of our time. Her live performances often feature Mompou's music and the many requests for a complete recording of his music have inspired this release.

R E V I E W S:

Música Callada (Music of Silence) is a very special work, one of the most beautiful and elusive in the entire piano repertoire. It is extremely difficult to perform. On the one hand, there's the temptation to stretch each piece out hypnotically, if monotonously,
Read more while quicker speeds preserve the music's melodic essence at the expense of much of its atmosphere and harmonic richness. For although much of the music is indeed quiet, and none of it moves quickly, it is all meaningful.

Mompou himself found the perfect balance between incident and repose, and of all the pianists since, Jenny Lin arguably comes closest to doing the same, only in much better sound. It's not so much that her tempos match Mompou's own (she's actually not copying him--it would hardly be possible in a work containing 28 individual pieces), but rather that her phrasing and sense of timing let the music breathe and sing with its own special poetry. To take just one example, consider the sadness that Lin finds in the fourth piece, "Afflitto e penoso", by allowing the piece's harmonic color time to speak simply and eloquently.

Another secret of her success is the splendid equilibrium between left and right hands. The treble gleams, bell-like, while the sonorous bass lines carry the music right through the many pauses, aided in no small degree by discretely timed use of the pedals. "Secreto", from the early Impresiones intimas, makes the perfect encore and rounds out the program in a most satisfying way. If Música Callada represents Mompou's masterpiece, then this beautifully engineered disc must be its finest modern recording. It deserves a home in every serious piano music collection.

Artistic Quality: 10; Sound Quality: 10
Ė- David Hurwitz,

"Jenny Lin, an eloquent pianist whose tastes more typically lead her to new music of a wilder stripe, gives a magnificently serene, probing account of these works. She draws you so fully into Mompouís world that even his most subtle coloristic gradations seem clearly drawn."

-- Allan Kozinn, New York Times

"Mompouís music has drawn the attention of prominent soloists like Rubinstein, Michelangeli, De Larrocha and Stephen Hough, and in 1974 the composer recorded his own works for posterity. Now add to their number Jenny Lin, a resourceful performer blessed with superb technique and indefatigable curiosity. Her recording of Música Callada, newly issued on the Steinway & Sons label, is an essential document, one in which every matter of tempo, dynamics and articulation sounds inevitable. Itís also a truly fine piano recording, capturing each nuance of a fine instrument."

-- Steve Smith, TimeOut New York

"Pianist Jenny Lin has taken on quite a challenge on this recording. Música Callada is not an easy work to negotiate and the line between communicating its unique, almost hypnotic beauties and inducing narcolepsy is fine indeed. Lin is magnificent. There are no wasted gestures in her playing, and that may be one of the highest accolades a pianist can earn in this repertoire. Lin leaves the music alone and it works brilliantly. Her phrasing is impeccable, her touch is perfectly calibrated and her tone is generous and lush. It also helps that the engineers have lovingly captured every nuance of Lin playing a Steinway Model D, making this is one of the most realistic sounding piano records Iíve heard in a long time. Música Callada is not easy to grasp on first hearing, but Linís performance makes a very strong case for it being considered one of the 20th centuryís greatest solo piano cycles."

-- Craig Zeichner,

"How does Linís Música Callada stack up against the competition? Sheís tied with the composerís, and a clear alternative to him and the versions Iíve heard because, in an entirely appropriate way, she plays it with a Romantic, Chopinesque level of expressiveness (Mompou adored Chopin, so that makes sense). Thereís a level of intensity here, of great investment in achieving the full emotional impact of each individual piece, thatís downright startling... when she dwells on a piece, interpretive rewards are reaped. Mompouís expressive markings are followed pretty closely, though not inhibitively so... The Romanticism of Linís playing doesnít include the composerís left-hand-first tic, by the way. It does include a songful projection of melodies, wide dynamic range, deep characterization of each piece, and a wonderful sense of flow with plenty of tastefully applied rubato and agogics, yet no violations of structure, no distensions. Nor does this approach diminish the vividly modernist aspects of this unusual music; in fact, it heightens it, with its outbursts set off powerfully and its brooding passion granted Expressionistic starkness. Sonically, this is superb, as one would hope for from the house label of the most famous piano company. All in all, when I want to hear Música Callada, this will be the one Iíll put on most often."

-- Steve Holtje, CultureCatch

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