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Aleix Palau | 30 July 2020

The Barcelona Symphony Band thank all those fighting against the pandemic and its audience with the premiere of a work composed during lockdown

The piece, which is having its world premiere, was composed and conducted by José R. Pascual-Vilaplana, resident conductor of the Band, who has just renewed his contract at the helm of the band for the next three seasons.

The Barcelona Symphony Band thank all those fighting against the pandemic and its audience with the premiere of a work composed during lockdown

The Barcelona Symphony Band is going on holiday after presenting a video with the recording of the work Gràcies!(Thank You!), a divertimento for band composed by the Band’s head conductor, José R. Pascual-Vilaplana. The work, a world premiere, is dedicated “to those who work to feed our hope in the midst of the pandemic”.

The video was recorded between Hall 3, Tete Montoliu at L’Auditori de Barcelona and in the homes of the musicians. It was only a few weeks ago, that the Symphony Band returned to L’Auditori to resume its rehearsal calendar. These rehearsals culminated in a series of closed-door concerts that have been recorded by Catalunya Música and can be heard during the month of September.

The video begins with the Band’s musicians playing at home and recording themselves with their mobile phones. The action then moves to L’Auditori de Barcelona, with the performers going through the prevention controls for the pandemic: having their temperature taken, using hand gel and social distancing. Once inside the building, they head to Hall 3, Tete Montoliu, where the group performs the work, conducted by Pascual-Vilaplana and ends with a big “Gràcies” in unison!

The launch of this video coincides with the renewal for three more seasons by José R. Pascual-Vilaplana as head conductor of the Barcelona Symphony Band, where he will remain at the helm until the 2022-23 season.

With regard to the work Gràcies!, the maestro Pascual-Vilaplana has sent us the following words:

“As head conductor of the Barcelona Symphony Band and on behalf of my colleagues in the organisation, with this score we would like to show our gratitude for the extraordinary work being done by all those who in the midst of the terrible COVID-19 pandemic are risking their own lives so that others can have at least the minimum level of dignity that human beings deserve.

The music of this divertimento combines melodic cells from four universal Catalan melodies such as El rossinyol, El cant dels ocells, Els segadors and La santa espina by the great Enric Morera.

All these elements flow together to the rhythm of a sardana, harmonically and structurally modified in order to act as a window facing towards optimism. As Joan Maragall said: “The sardana is the most beautiful of all the dances that are formed and unformed...”.

We all end up being emigrants in this globalised world that can change suddenly and that offers us new perspectives that we find unexpected. Music can serve as baggage for our journey and can become the balm of sadness and the sap of hope.”

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