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Palau de la Música Catalana
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Palau de la Música Catalana (Catalan Music Palace) is an historic music venue in the Ribera neighborhood in central Barcelona. The century-old building was declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO the 4th December 1997, as a masterpiece of Art Nouveau or Modern Art Style in architecture (locally known as Modernisme ), at the same time as the Hospital de Sant Pau.
HistoryThe building was constructed between 1905 and 1908 following the design by Lluís Domènech i Montaner , one of the leading architects of Catalan Modern Art, as a home for the music institution Orfeó Català and financed by popular subscription. Further expansion and restoration was done in the beginning of the 21st century (on a side note, this modern construction project derived in a corruption scandal between construction companies, local politicians, and building managers, still to be clarified by justice).
ArchitectureThis architectural jewel of Catalan Art Nouveau integrates perfectly all decorative arts and crafts into architecture. With a structure in iron and red brick, the magnificent artwork is a combination of stone sculptures, floral decorative mosaics; colorful stained glass windows, and ironwork combined in beautiful details.
Concert AuditoriumThe most spectacular space is the Concert Auditorium: the main music site has hundreds of seats under a metal structure skylight covered in colorful glass bringing natural light, with an organ over the stage and the figures of muses and infinite decorative sculptures (including Beethoven) and mosaics, with motifs representing flowers, fruits, jewels, music instruments, etc. This visually attractive space is a music box with perfect acoustics that has hosted symphonic and choral music for more than a century, a setting almost unique in Europe. Other music spaces are the Petit Palau (Small Palace), a modern auditorium, and the Sala d'Assaig de l'Orfeó Català (Orfeó Català Rehearsal Room), for smaller events.
Sala Lluís MilletThe building also comprises the Sala Lluís Millet (Lluís Millet Hall), with great stained glass windows and a balcony with distinctive double colonnade decorated with mosaics (can be seen from the exterior over the main entrance); and the Foyer of the Palau, used sometimes for small performances. In the same area there is located the restaurant and the cafeteria, interesting options to try for local food, and the Palau shop, offering decorative objects, jewelry, and a variety of accessories inspired by the building’s architecture. The adjacent outdoor terrace is a good place to take a short break while admiring the exterior facades.
The Palau de la Música Catalana is the headquarter of the Choir "Ofeó Català", a local myth of lyric music usually singing Catalan traditional and classical music that has performed all around the world and has a huge discography. This amateur choir was founded in 1891 by Lluís Millet and Amadeo Vives and funded by Catalan bourgeois and industrial music lovers.
Visiting the building to enjoy the music?There are several options to visit the Palau de la Música Catalana, from a quick discovery to a deep exploration. Visitors can get a free glance of the beautiful building by just checking the exterior facades and the entrance lobby (Foyer), but a general tour is highly recommended to discover all the spaces described previously. The individual rate for the hour-long guided tour is €18 ($21), with some discounts; tickets can be purchased online or on site, different language options.
But probably the best option to discover the wonders of this architectural jewel is by enjoying a concert in the main auditorium; the concert program usually has plenty of music options – from classic to modern styles, even rock and jazz.
Consider checking the website and booking in advance, both for tours and concerts. http://www.palaumusica.cat/en.
How to AccessThe Palau de la Música Catalana is centrally located in Barcelona, just near the main street Via Laietana, in the Ribera district, and it is easy to include the visit in any city-center walking tour. The closest access by subway is from Urquinaona Subway Stop in L1 and L4, with also plenty of buses available.
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Author: JOANBCN. Last updated: Mar 01, 2015