Luke Jones Dina Parakhina and Mathew McLachlan one of three pianist children of the amazing Murray McLachlan clan!
I think there can be little doubt amongst those present in Steinway Hall that here was the infallible authority of a John Lill or a Peter Donohoe
combined to the poetry of a Barry Douglas that had won them all the coveted Gold Medal in Moscow.
Not quite the sumptuous romantic sounds of a Van Cliburn………….but his performance of Mompou revealed colours and atmospheres of the most sensitive of stylists.
It was ‘The Landscapes’ by Mompou that opened Luke’s very original programme.
Full of intoxicating colours and hazy sounds realised with a seemingly infallible touch – the wrist held noticeably low and the fingers pointing at the keys as a pointilesse painter might have pointed his brush at a canvas.
It is hardly surprising that the French critic Emile Vuillermoz proclaimed Mompou “the only disciple and successor” to Claude Debussy. Mompou himself often performed his own compositions, but only at private soirees, never in public.
Mompou had heard Fauré perform in Barcelona when he was nine years old, and his music and performing style had made a powerful and lasting impression on him. He had a letter of introduction to Fauré from Enrique Granados, but it never reached its intended recipient.
He entered the Conservatoire (with another Spaniard, José Iturbi), but studied with Isidor Philipp ,head of the piano department. His extreme shyness, introspection and self-effacement meant that he could not pursue a solo career, but chose to devote himself to composition instead.
British pianist Martin Jones has recorded the complete piano works of Mompou for Nimbus, including those unpublished in Mompou’s lifetime, many of which were discovered when his apartment was cleared out in 2008.
Just last week Giancarlo Simonacci played for Roma 3 University the 28 pages of piano music of Mompou together with 28 pictures by Mirò.
I remember Guido Agosti looking aghast when Jack Krichaf dared bring a piece by Mompou to his masterclass in Siena!
How times have changed when here was a strapping young welsh man conjuring magic colours out of the air with the delicacy and icedrop precision of a Michelangeli.
The three pieces make up this suite written between 1942 and 1960 ( Mompou died in 1987 aged 94.)
In 1957, aged 64, he married the pianist Carmen Bravo (1923– 2007) She was 30 years his junior. It was the first marriage for both of them and they had no children.After her death in 2007 about 80 unpublished and hitherto unknown works were discovered in Mompou’s files at his home.
A fascinatimg discovery of almost unknown miniatures that when played with the intelligence, style and kaleidoscope of colours as tonight one can well understand the advocacy of an artist of the stature of Alicia de Larrocha programming his music long before Volodos or Trifonov.
It was fascinating to hear another rarely played piece immediately after with the Sonata n.9 op 30 by Medtner.
Here Luke’s absolute control and extraordinary sense of line was a very persuasive advocate for a Sonata that even Leslie Howard
in his interval speech had to admit that it must be at least 20 years since he had heard this work.