“Music that has become quiet…”

Every so often the random chaos of the internet gives way to reveal a treasure of transcendent beauty. I was researching a digital recording application called a convolution reverb. This process simulates the acoustics of a particular space from samples of the actual physical space. An impulse response snapshot is taken from a concert hall, living room, auditorium, cave, closet etc. in order to simulate the acoustics. Once that is done, you can place a digitally recorded sound in a chosen environment. So, a prerecorded voice can sound as if it were recorded in any space imaginable. The system can even sample electronic reverb gear. I was researching Altiverb convolution reverb and was just amazed at the realism of the spaces. I was especially taken with the Teldex Recording studio and decided to do some research. I searched for current recordings made there and compared those to the application. Then I discovered a recording of the piano music of Frederic Mompou on the album, Volodos Plays Mompou. This is concise, introspective, mysterious music in the unexplored shadows of Impressionism. Mompou elegantly balances diatonic and dissonant harmony in the most subtle of ways.

At times his often improvisatory music has no key or time signature but it sounds perfectly natural. His family manufactured bells and he utilized the harmonic structure of those sounds he heard to develop “metallic” chords and ostinato figures. Musica Callada, “Music that has become quiet,” is just amazing. Mompou’s music is rare, delicate and absolutely transcendent.