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Aleix Palau | 10 March 2021

The soprano Núria Rial sings music by Robert Gerhard with the OBC

The soprano Núria Rial sings music by Robert Gerhard with the OBC

The soprano Núria Rial, one of the most highly acclaimed singers on the ‎international music scene, returns to L’Auditori de Barcelona to perform the programme for ‎this weekend with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. ‎

Conducted by Francesc Prat, Rial will perform Sis cançons ‎populars catalanes (Six Catalan Folksongs) and Cançoner de ‎Pedrell (Songbook by Pedrell) by Robert Gerhard, a composer the ‎‎50th anniversary of whose death is being commemorated this year. Sis ‎cançons populars catalanes was premiered under the baton of the composer himself, ‎with the Pau Casals Orchestra and vocals by soprano Conxita Badia, in 1931 at the Palau de la ‎Música. In this work, traditional music is just another component in a rich mosaic of sounds ‎that brings it closer to avant-garde interests from a completely personal angle.‎

Cançoner de Pedrell is similarly composed of a number of Catalan folksongs ‎compiled by Felip Pedrell, Gerhard’s teacher, and reworked by the latter from an advanced ‎and heavily Béla Bartók-influenced musical perspective.‎

Felip Pedrell’s influence on the most important Catalan composers of the first half of the ‎‎20th century (Manuel de Falla and Robert Gerhard) is well known. These two ‎composers paid tribute to their teacher while living in exile. Pedrelliana is the ‎last of the Homenajes de Falla (De Falla Tributes) as well as the last movement ‎of Gerhard’s symphony Homenaje a Pedrell (Tribute to Pedrell), composed in ‎Cambridge on the occasion of the centenary of Pedrell’s birth and not fully published until ‎‎1972, although only the third movement, Pedrelliana, is ‎currently in print.‎

The programme concludes with the Variations on a Theme by ‎Chopin, Frederic Mompou’s greatest work, based on ‎Chopin’s Prelude No. 7, Op. 28. The work, originally written for piano, has been ‎arranged for orchestra by Josep Soler.‎

You can watch the concert live on Sunday at 11 am on L’Auditori Digital.

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