Nosaltres, els grallers (We the shawm players)

Posted by Toni Cruanyes on February 14, 2011  |  Leave a comment

Tritó has reissued Nosaltres, els grallers on its Amalgama imprint. This monumental work is the result of many years of investigation and research carried out by Blai Fontanals and the Escola de Grallers (Shawm Players’ School) in Sitges, steadily and doggedly gathering information, much of which would now be lost because many of the sources have disappeared in the meantime.

The publication, which was first issued in 1996, is an comprehensive compendium of the world of shawm players, from their origins in the 18th century up to the second half of the 20th century.

The book is organised into three blocks: the first section is devoted to a thorough historical presentation of the instrument, from its origins and background to the present day, paying special attention to the so-called Golden Age of the shawm, the period ranging from the last third of the 19th century to the early 20th century.

The second part focuses on the characteristics of the instrument and the surrounding context: music transcriptions, makers, design, musicians and traditional techniques, composers and first recordings.

Finally, as a focus for all the content, a list and description of all documented shawm-players has been included, ordered by towns and districts.

This edition counts on a prologue by Xavier Orriols and also the collaboration of Xavier Bayer and Joan Cuscó.

“Nosaltres, els grallers” constitutes a major reference work in the world of shawm players and Catalan traditional music in general. It is a primary source for the serious study and the recovery of an important part of Catalan popular culture from the last two centuries, the shawm and its players. Above all, it dignifies the status of this instrument – which is so essentially Catalan – and everything linked to it: the groups of shawm players and their relationship with the traditional festivals in Catalonia.

Link to Nosaltres, els grallers >

Casablancas debuts “Dove of Peace”, homage to Picasso

Posted by Toni Cruanyes on May 19, 2010  |  Leave a comment

Dove of Peace. Homage to Picasso Hill will be premiered on 19 May at the Cornerstone, Hope Everton, Great Hall of Liverpool, by the clarinettist Nicholas Cox and the Ensemble 10/10 under the baton of Clark Rundell.

This work, which is his chamber concerto nº 1 for clarinet and chamber orchestra, is fruit of a commission from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The fact that the date of the premiere coincided with the celebration of a major exhibition devoted to Picasso at the Tate Liverpool prompted the composer to envisage his work as a homage to the much-admired Spanish artist.

With this piece, the author once again explores one of his passions, which has become a constant in his oeuvre, and this is the dialogue with other artistic languages, poetry and literature, and especially painting, whose echo we can recognize in pieces like Alter Klang, Impromptu for orchestra after poems by Paul Klee (2006) or Four Darks in Red, based on the work of Rothko, and recently premiered in New York..

This work is Casablancas’ first incursion into the concertante genre.

Sincrotró-Alba: The premiere of the third symphony by Joan Guinjoan

Posted by Toni Cruanyes on May 5, 2010  |  1 Comment

On Friday 7 May, the expected premiere of Sincrotró-Alba, the third symphony by Joan Guinjoan, will take place. The work, organised into three movements, is fruit of a commission from the Synchrotron Consortium, whose particle accelerator in Cerdanyola del Vallès was inaugurated on 22 March, and who wish to celebrate its activation with an orchestral work inspired in the monumental scientific laboratory called Alba, which means ‘dawn’, a direct allusion to the first light of the morning, which dispels the darkness and unveils the landscape of a new day.

The programme, performed by the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya (OBC) under the baton of Ernest Martínez Izquierdo, will be opened by the work The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives, and will conclude with Rachmaninov’s popular second piano concerto.

Sincrotró-Alba is the most important piece composed by Joan Guinjoan in the last few years.

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