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At-A-Glance

Length: c. 3 minutes

Orchestration: solo piano

About this Piece

The Catalan pianist Federico Mompou studied at both the conservatory in his hometown of Barcelona and at the Conservatoire de Paris, but his constant stage fright and shyness led him to a career in composition, rather than performance. The majority of his works are miniatures – songs and character pieces. The Impresiones íntimas, a suite of nine piano character pieces, was his first major work, begun in 1911, when he was still a teenager, and completed in 1914; it was published in 1920 and revised in 1959. “Secreto,” the eighth piece from the set, is a pensive “song without words,” clean and clear in texture, with a haunting melody over simple modal accompaniment (though it is written in C-sharp major, with seven sharps in the key signature).

— John Henken