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Palau de la Música, Barcelona’s great concert hall

By | 25 February, 2019 | 0 comments

Take a stroll down any of Barcelona’s many beautiful boulevards and avenues and you’re guaranteed to stumble upon a whole host of significant treasures to Catalan modernism. Most are works by Antonio Gaudí but, strange as it may seem, one particular landmark – widely considered as ‘the most modernist building in the world’ – the Palau de la Música Catalana, was in fact not designed by the famous Reus-born maestro of architecture, but rather by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

Palau de la Música

It took just three years to complete the unique Palau de la Música building on Calle Sant Pere més Alt in the Ribera Quarter. The building was created as a concert hall for the Orfeó Català company and was funded by the industrialist and financial elite of Catalonia’s bourgeoisie at the time. Work began in 1905 and the masterpiece was completed in 1908, all thanks to Domènech i Montaner’s designs and the efforts of local artisans who created a living artwork, simply brimming with amazing sculptures.

The building’s interior was designed in the style of a large music box, where the iron framework was covered in glass in the form of a giant skylight to let natural light flow into the centre of the building, creating an amazing spotlight on the main stage. In fact, it is the only European theatre that doesn’t need any artificial lighting during the day.

Such is the architectural significance of the building that, in 1997, it was officially declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The clay-brick façade is presided over by a sculpture of Sant Jordi waving a Catalan flag and is considered the perfect combination of Arab and Spanish architecture. Contemplating its beauty is no simple task, given the building is located between two narrow streets, so visitors often find themselves struggling to get a complete view of the main façade.

Nevertheless, enjoying the interiors is much easier because, in addition to attending one of the many concerts here, it’s possible to explore the theatre and get up close and personal with a variety of hidden treasures as part of a tour – including the Ensayo del Orfeó Català and Lluís Millet Halls, from which you can appreciate the huge external balcony, as well as the Concert Hall and the theatre’s impressive organ. Not to mention the chance to tread the elegant staircase covered in bright marble tiles. Tickets cost €18.

But the significance of this particular artistic venue doesn’t just lie in the architectural beauty of the building. It is even more important as the centre of Barcelona’s cultural and music scene. Besides the many concerts performed by the Orfeó Català company, the musical programme is second to none and features some of the biggest stars and most revered orchestras on the international scene.

The Palau de la Música Catalana is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Barcelona, whether you’re looking to enjoy a concert or simply marvel at this Domènech i Montaner masterpiece of design.

Categories: barcelona

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