Music School Trips to Discover Catalonia’s Musical Heritage
Barcelona is well known for its architecture and iconic buildings, however the musical heritage of this beautiful city can sometimes be overlooked. Architects have paid homage to the music in the design and use of some of Barcelona’s most beautiful buildings.
La Palau de l’Musica
Any students visiting the city on music school trips should pay a visit to this wonderful building. It is in the modernist style, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Nestling between the buildings on Carrer Sant Pere Mes Alt, it barely has room to impress, yet it does. It’s a wonderful example of modernist architecture with its organic shapes, stained glass and brightly coloured mosaics, but is one of the most difficult buildings to photograph as the surrounding buildings appear to enfold it. Built in 1908 for the Orfeó Català choral society, it has been seen as a symbol of Catalan nationalism and music from that time.
The interiors are spectacular and include Domènech’s vision of a ‘box of light’, with his huge stained glass skylight in the concert hall. Concerts are regularly held here – including performances from many popular artists as well as classical. To the left of the Proscenium is a bust of Josep Anselm Clavé, one of the founders of the Orfeó Català. He played an important part in the world of Catalan literature and music and below his image words from his ‘Les flors de Maig’ are engraved:
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Under a willow a girl sits braiding joyfully
Her rich golden hair, ay, yes!
Her mirror is a fresh crystalline spring
Her ornaments are violets of the forest
Another weaving a nuanced garland
Rocks her body as the grace of a treasure
It is only possible to visit the auditorium as part of a guided tour or by attending a concert, so itineraries of music school trips should be planned accordingly.
The Gran Teatre del Liceu
The Ramblas is the main artery of the city that runs from the Placa de Catalunya to the sea, and, at some time, students on music school trips are sure to find themselves walking down it. It is mostly known for its teeming street life and street artists, but one of the cultural centres of Barcelona, the Gran Teatre del Liceu (the opera house), is also situated here. The beautiful modernist building has twice been destroyed by fire and rebuilt. Opera was a serious business in 19th century Barcelona, and fans of the Liceu and those of the Teatre Principal had a real rivalry that continued for many decades.
Sitting above the city is Antoni Gaudi’s Park Guell. Gaudi was commissioned by Eusabi Guell to create a park for Barcelona’s gentry and he obliged with a flamboyant park full of fantastical stone figures. In 1900, at the time work was beginning on the park, the Brothers Grimm opera Hansel and Gretel was being performed at the Gran Teatre del Liceu. It is said that some of the symbolism in Park Guell was inspired by the story as there are parallels between the two houses in Hansel and Gretel – one good and one evil – and the houses at the entrance to the park – one with a poisonous mushroom rising from its roof and the other with a spire crowned with a cross.
Barcelona’s musical heritage is contained within some of the most iconic buildings in this city and students on music school trips will find plenty to interest them.