all pictures from postcards ( you can't take photos )

PALAU de la MUSICA CATALANA. .. It may feel otherwise at times, but Gaudí was not the only Modernist architect working in Barcelona in the beginning of the 1900's. This "shocking" truth was whispered at the beginning of the tour of the Palau de la Música Catalana. Built between 1905 and 1908, for a mere 6000 Euros, this concert hall was designed by architect Lluis Domènech i Montaner. The wealthy patrons of the Orfeó Català, a musical society, as well as the general population of Barcelona funded the project. It's a statement of Catalonian pride as well as their love for music. And, one hundred years after construction, far from being just another historic building, the Palau beats to the pulse of the city's life with more than 350 concerts a year which entertain over 400,000 guests.

Of course, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Words fail me on how to describe this place adequately. So, I'm just going to quote See Barcelona magazine, Spring 2008. "Sheet iron was used precociously in this building, and the lavish decoration makes it feel like a piece of jewelry. The auditorium has an inverted cupola made of stained glass (¡Dios mio!) that will take your breath away, as will the mosaics that can be seen both inside and outside." Flowers dominate the view in every direction. They are in the mosaics inside and outside the concert hall. They adore the stained glass windows, as well as the walls and ceiling of the auditorium. The message was in response to the industrial age of the time, trying to call people back to nature. It's a message that still needs to be heard.


a drop of gold sun

I decided to pamper myself with a concert at the Palau de la Música Catalana. It didn't matter who was performing. I wanted the experience in this concert hall. As it turned out, Jose Carreras (one of the Three Tenors!) was scheduled for the performance. And, tickets were sold out. However, a German woman in line said she had an extra ticket on reserve. I didn't bat an eye when she said the price. I just batted my credit card at an ATM machine and the ticket was in my hand.

As it turned out, the German ladies who bought the tickets online were serial . . . er, well, serious . . . fans. They'd followed Jose Carreras for fifteen years. The woman that talked to me the most had been to over seventy performances! She brought homemade cookies for him and was sure he would write to her because he'd done it in the past. And, being the serial fans that they were, they were online early to get their tickets as soon as they were available. I couldn't believe my eyes when the usher directed me to a front row, center seat! It was incredible! I could watch the hand movements of the cellist who close enough to touch, see the conductor work up a sweat, and, of course, cling on every word as the world famous tenor delivered his Christmas concert -- with at least six encore carols. I really only wanted to listen to a concert in that beautiful concert hall, but I got so much more than I ever could have imagined!


Copyright 2009 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.