Catalan Composers in Barcelona
In an intense weekend we shot 5 videos, dedicated to some composers born in the capital of Catalunya. Two videos dedicated to Miguel Llobet with Jim Parbury, one to Gaspar Cassadò with Maria Coll Torra, another with Jonathan Parkin and Jim Parbury with music by Frederic Mompou, and a bonus one, dedicated to living composer Juan Erena. Each one of them brings us into a special venue linked to the history and life of the composer.
Església de l’Esperança is a small beautiful church in Barcelona, located on the very street where guitarist and composer Miguel Llobet (Barcelona, 1878/1938) was born. We bring you at the crossroad from which guitar became the wonderful instrument we know today.
“Miquel Llobet i Solès. (Barcelona 1878-1938) Guitarrista i compositor. En aquesta casa va néixer el virtuós músic català, precurson de l’escola moderna de guitarra clàssica.” So reads a plaque in a calle of Barcelona, the same one where the Església de l’Esperança stands, the set of our videos dedicated to the composer. Llobet’s writing explored the timbres and colors of the instrument, through the combination of pizzicato, the use of harmonics and right hand technique, providing a new range of sounds that enhance the technical and artistic possibilities of the instrument. The transcription of Llobet’s Catalan popular songs for guitar marks a very important stage in the development of the classical guitar in the 20th century. The Catalan musical tradition is permeated by a series of historical facts and legends handed down orally, which in the guitar transcriptions are told in a mostly melancholy and very intimate atmosphere, in a perfectly concerted spectrum of voices and colours. Guitarist Jim Parbury performs Lo Fill del Rei and La Presó de Lleida (Lleida’s prison) from Llobet’s “Canciones populares Catalanas”.
Jim Parbury: https://www.jimparbury.com/
Thanks to Andreu at Església de l’Esperança for the kindness and the warm welcoming. Recorded by Javier Salvador: javiersalvador.com
Guitar by Saeid Aboutalebian: shivanaartcenter.com
Lo Fill del Rei
Lo Fill del Rei, is originally a XV Century song, cadenced and melancholic, sung by sailors on ancient trade routes.
La Presó de Lleida
La Presò de Lleida is one of the most popular Catalan songs and refers to a legend about the prison of Leida. Here, prisoners used to sing to wash away melancholy, or to enchant listeners and be absolved. In most versions, the protagonist is the baron’s daughter who, enchanted by these songs, begs her father to spare a prisoner from hanging, asking to be killed with him.
A journey in the music of Gaspar Cassadó at Biblioteca de Catalunya (Barcelona) with cellist Maria Coll. Maria Coll Torra (Manresa, Barcelona) is rapidly forging a reputation as a performer in the world of classical music. A prize winner in international competitions, she most recently opened the 2022/2023 season of the Orquesta Filarmónica del Desierto by performing the A. Dvořák Cello Concerto in B minor under the baton of conductor Nathanael Espinoza in Saltillo, Mexico. Maria is very active both as a soloist and ensemble member, and has appeared on many stages internationally around the globe. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague (The Netherlands) and since then she take master classes with Gary Hoffman, Martti Rousi amongs others.
Together we filmed the last movement of Cassadó’s Cello Suite at Biblioteca de Catalunya, where we found a variety of documents about the composer. The Cassadó Fund is kept inside the Library. It preserves documents on Joaquim Cassadó (1867-1926), and his son, Gaspar Cassadó (1897-1966).
Joaquim Cassadó was chapel master, choir director and teacher, who also composed works outside those imposed on him by his professional activity. The fund includes about 230 works and fragments, including religious music, vocal and instrumental chamber music, symphonic music, for solo instrument, dance music and theater music. Joaquim had four sons, Augustin, a violinist, and Gaspar, who became a cellist of great renown. By Gaspar Cassadó in the Collection there are two symphonic works, manuscripts, concert programs and personal correspondence, some of which you can see in this video. Gaspar Cassadò (1897-1966), cellist and composer born in Barcelona. A pupil of Pablo Casals, in addition to his concert career, he studied composition with, among others, Manuel de Falla and Maurice Ravel. Personal documents of Cassadò and some of his compositions are kept at the Biblioteca de Catalunya in Barcelona, while other documents, together with those of his wife, the pianist Chieko Hara, are kept at Tamagawa University in Tokyo.
Damunt de tu nomes les flors, is a piece composed by the pianist Frederic Mompou in 1942, on his return to Catalonia after the Spanish civil war. The music, intimate and evocative, accompanies the text, written by the Catalan poet Josep Janes. In the coming video, we offer you the transcription of this piece for classical guitar duo masterfully written by Jonathan Parkin. The rich, warm sound of the guitar perfectly conveys the character of the piece and the style of the composer. Frederic Mompou (1893-1987) was born in Barcelona, into a family that ran a bell foundry. He was a pianist and composer, known for his impressionist music, made up of short sentences, an intimate and delicate character and an evocative timbral research.
Filmed at Fundació Frederic Mompou – Barcelona. The Foundation was established by Carme Bravo, Frederic Mompou’s widow and heir to his entire estate, Joventuts Musicals de Barcelona and Joan Millà Francolí, in Barcelona on June 12, 2006. Carme Bravo’s desire was always for her husband’s work to be preserved, publicized and promoted, especially among young people, for whom Mompou felt special esteem. This desire was transferred to the Mompou Foundation and incorporated into its by-laws. Special thanks to Berta for the warm welcoming.
The author of this music is Juan Erena Mármol, guitar teacher, composer and arranger. As a composer, he has worked for the theatre company “Laví e bel” in the musical show Cabaret Caracol, winner of the Palma Del Río Prize in 2001, which was a great success with the public and critics, or the company Break a Leg Producciones in their play “Backstage”, directed by José Luis Saiz; or as a musical advisor and coach for the actor Alfonso Begara in the film “Camarón” by Jaime Chavarri (2005). He also collaborates in the soundtrack of the film “Entre Nosotros” by Dario Stegmayer (2006) He has composed a great number of works for guitar, distributed in publishing houses such as Bergmann Edition, Mundoplectro, Pilesmusic and Jesús Serrano Huitron.
“This music was born from the pain of losing a loved one. The emptiness, the irreplaceable absence and the uncontrolled crying gives free rein to the expressive lines of the guitar, and in doing so avoids any affectations and champions simplicity in favor of musical clarity. Jonathan is one of the current guitarists who best relates the pain, the beauty and the deep fingerprint of interpretive feeling when it becomes necessary. ‘I remember you’ also explores the expressive possibilities of this great musician to whom I dedicate this work. A work that in the hands of Parkin rises to true art.” -Juan Erena Mármol
Hailing from Teesside in North East England, Jonathan Ross Parkin has established himself as a sensitive and versatile musician of the highest quality. Jonathan’s musical journey began at 11 when, after an uninspiring saxophone lesson he tagged along to a friends guitar class. From then on, a love for music was born and Jonathan spent his teenage years playing in rock bands in the pubs and clubs of North East England. He has been a prize winner and finalist at some of the most prestigious international guitar competitions including Certamen Llobet, London International Guitar Competition, Concurso International Raimundo and the Ivor Mariants Award. Currently based in Valencia, Jonathan is a professor at both the Escuela Superior de Música Alto Rendimiento (ESMAR) and at the Conservatorio Professional Ignacio Monzonís. He combines his teaching activity with solo and chamber recitals throughout Europe with his role as Guitar Coordinator at the Institute of Musical Development (IDM) for festivals such as Semana Tárrega and Festival Fortea.
Jonathan Parkin Website
Score available at: https://bergmann-edition.com/collecti…
Jonathan Parkin https://www.jonathanrossparkin.com/
Juan Erena https://juanerenamusic.blogspot.com/
Jonathan plays a Daniele Chiesa 2017 guitar www.danielechiesaguitars.com
Audio: JSM records www.jsmrecords.com