Haskell Small on KDFC's "State of the Arts"

By Jeffrey Freymann-Weyr

November 6, 2013


Listen to the full interview here.

Pianist Haskell Small is beginning a tour of northern California playing Federico Mompou's Musica Callada, a series of 28 miniatures for piano by the Barcelona-born composer which are rarely performed in concert. They were inspired by the writings of the mystic St. John of the Cross. The concerts, which start tonight in Roseville, continue to the north before a San Francisco appearance at the Swedenborgian Church on Saturday, and one in Santa Cruz Sunday.

Small describes the work as "Not flashy or showy. On the other hand, some people consider it a meditative piece. I would not describe it as New Age-y, meditative in that sense. It is contemplative, and at times, it is almost explosive... It certainly feels to me like a narrative: it goes somewhere, taking us on a journey, if you will, inside looking for who knows what, making some discoveries."  And so he's chosen to bring the music to area churches, as well as the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, and the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Redwood Valley, "The premise in Mompou's own words is 'to seek inwardly, searching for a place in between life and death, where there is no pulse, no air,'" he says. "It's a strange combination of prayerful, I think extraordinarily beautiful music, with a child-like type innocence at times, juxtaposed with an almost knife-edge intensity that just seems to grip you from the beginning to the end."