Mompou: Piano Works / Marina Staneva

Regular price $22.99
Added to Cart! View cart or continue shopping.
Following her acclaimed début recital, Marina Staneva returns with a programme of works by the Spanish-Catalan composer Federico Mompou. The programme opens with Paisajes (Landscapes),...

Following her acclaimed début recital, Marina Staneva returns with a programme of works by the Spanish-Catalan composer Federico Mompou. The programme opens with Paisajes (Landscapes), written in 1942, 1947, and 1960. The first two pieces are dedicated to the Catalan pianist Carmen Bravo, whom Mompou met after his return from Paris to Barcelona in 1942, and subsequently married. Mompou’s Variations on a Theme of Chopin were started in 1938, but completed in 1957 upon a commission from the Royal Ballet in London for a successor to The House of Birds (a 1955 ballet which used piano pieces by Mompou orchestrated by John Lanchbery). The Chopin ballet was never produced, but the piano variations remain. The twelve Cançons i danses (Songs and Dances) were composed between 1921 and 1962, and the form for each is broadly similar: a slow ‘cançó’ (song) followed by a more animated ‘dansa’ (dance), but the pattern sometimes varies, and these pieces are anything but formulaic. Mompou intended to provide ‘a contrast between lyricism and rhythm, to avoid one collection of songs and another of dances’.


The Bulgarian pianist Marina Staneva is taking quite a large risk, but certainly not an unwelcome one, by choosing the music of Federico Mompou for her second Chandos solo recording. The programme is well selected: the poetic Paisajes, showing the most Debussyan side of Mompou’s music, are followed by the Variations sur un thème de Chopin, which manages to transform that composer’s brief A major Prelude into 12 imaginative miniatures. Finally the Cançons i danses, written between 1921 and 1962 (Mompou, born in 1893, died as recently as 1987), bring a chance to delve into a wealth of subtly evoked atmospheres and nuanced states of mind.

Mompou has a small but strong cult following among piano fanatics; others who have championed him include such luminaries as Stephen Hough and Arcadi Volodos. Staneva, trained in Sofia and more recently in London, nevertheless holds her own with considerable flair.

She draws a deep, cushioned sound from the piano and seemingly does not see any need to sacrifice thoughtfulness for plain brilliance. She brings out the dance elements that almost always lurk in the background of the Catalonian composer’s writing, whether originating in folk music or jazz, and performs with a sincerity, spaciousness, affection for the music and quiet confidence that make me eager to hear what she will do next. All of this, additionally, makes her a strong advocate for a composer who can sometimes divide his audience with that timeless yet elusive style.

-- BBC Music Magazine (Jessica Duchen)

During the pandemic Marina Staneva was introduced to, and fell in love with, the Variations sur un thème de Chopin and has chosen to record it alongside two other collections; the twelve songs and dances and the three landscapes.

The Variations sur un thème de Chopin...are an extended tribute with jazz influences that Staneva notes in the booklet and delicious harmonies; the first variation with its additional sevenths, ninths and other inner passing notes is very much in the style of his waltz arrangement. Like Godowsky in his arrangements of the études he honours Chopin’s affection for the mazurka and waltz – variations five and nine – and even offers a simple hymn-like version of the central melody of the fantaisie-impromptu as a foil to the intense Evocation, variation ten, which also alludes to his own Cançons i danses no.6.

[In the] Cançons i danses...Staneva captures Mompou’s widely contrasting moods with ease, from the fragility of the third with its Catalan Christmas carol to the vigour of the sixth’s creole dance. If Stephen Hough is a little more rhythmically flexible in the small selection he recorded, there is nonetheless plenty of charm in Staneva’s playing – number seven a case in point with its dance played as a duet between a shy and slightly halting young man and his winsome partner.

I was taken with Staneva’s playing in her début CD Slavic Roots, with piano music by Pancho Vladigerov on Chandos and equally so here. Her tone is rich and even and if her playing is occasionally a just a little forthright she clearly enjoys the subtleties of Mompou’s writing and his sudden harmonic twist and turns; his multi-layered and often quite delicate textures are balanced beautifully.

-- MusicWeb International

Sample the Variations sur une thème de Chopin, whose 12 variations have an unusual structure: the music takes on chromatic accretions and then, in the later ones, resolves to a new tonal clarity independent of the original material (from the Chopin Prelude in A major, Op. 28, No. 7). Staneva holds this dynamic confidently in hand. She is equally effective in the 13 Cançons i Danses pieces in which a tuneful passage is paired with a dance in consistently inventive ways. Staneva catches the faint jazz influences in some of these pieces, and she lets the fundamental simplicity of Mompou's music speak for itself. The album is beautifully and idiomatically recorded at Potton Hall in Suffolk, and it serves notice of a major emerging talent.

-- AllMusic

Product Description:

  • Release Date: October 20, 2023

  • UPC: 0095115227626

  • Catalog Number: CHAN 20276

  • Label: Chandos

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: 20th Century

  • Composer: Federico Mompou

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Forma Antiqva

  • Performer: Marina Staneva


  1. Paisajes (Landscapes)

    Composer: Federico Mompou

    Performer: Marina Staneva (Piano)

  2. Variations sur un thème de Chopin

    Composer: Federico Mompou

    Performer: Marina Staneva (Piano)

  3. Cançons i danses

    Composer: Federico Mompou

    Performer: Marina Staneva (Piano)