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Aleix Palau | 22 February 2021

The Barcelona Symphony Orchestra takes the music of Manén, Gerhard and Beethoven to Tarragona ‎and Manresa

The programme is made up of a selection of works associated with the Pau Casals Orchestra, ‎the centenary of whose foundation is this year being celebrated. ‎
Alexander Liebreich will be conducting both concerts, accompanied by mezzosoprano Anna ‎Alàs i Jové.‎

The Barcelona Symphony Orchestra takes the music of Manén, Gerhard and Beethoven to Tarragona ‎and Manresa

The Barcelona Symphony Orchestra will be on tour locally this weekend, ‎performing this Saturday at 8.30 pm at the Teatre Tarragona in Tarragona and on ‎Sunday at 6 pm at Manresa's Teatre Kursaal. ‎

Both concerts are part of activities organised to mark the centenary of the Pau ‎Casals Orchestra, sponsored by the Catalan Ministry of Culture ‎aimed at bringing classical music to the whole of Catalonia. ‎

The programme, presented in the style of a tribute, features a selection of works closely ‎associated with the Pau Casals Orchestra; an ensemble that paved the way for the ‎subsequent creation of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. Under the direction of ‎Alexander Liebreich, the concert will open with Divertimento for ‎Orchestra by Joan Manén, many of whose works were originally premiered ‎by the Pau Casals Orchestra. ‎

It will be followed by Sis cançons populars catalanes (Six Catalan ‎Folksongs) by Robert Gerhard, premiered in 1931 at the Palau de la Música, ‎conducted by the composer and accompanied by soprano Conxita Badia. On this occasion, ‎the audience will hear mezzosoprano Anna Alàs i Jové. The concert will ‎conclude with Beethoven's Eighth. Throughout the history of ‎the Pau Casals Orchestra, this composer's works were one of the mainstays of its repertoire: ‎its first concert included the Eighth Symphony, and the last, performed behind ‎closed doors with no audience due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, featured the last ‎movement of the Ninth Symphony, music that should have inaugurated the ‎‎1936 Popular Olympics in Barcelona. ‎

The Pau Casals Orchestra gave its first concert in 1920 and it was disbanded in 1936 due to the ‎Spanish Civil War. Founded and directed by maestro Pau Casals, the orchestra forged a ‎leading international reputation. Conductors and composers including Béla Bartók, Sergei ‎Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky and Manuel de Falla were invited as guests to conduct the ‎orchestra. ‎

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