HEADING FOR THE HILLS
BREAKING THE SPELL
TO VISIT THE FORMER HOME AND NOW SITE HONOURING THE LIFE AND WORKS OF PAU CASALS IS TO FEEL THE PRESENCE OF THIS TRULY GREAT CATALAN IT JUST NEEDS YOU TO BE IN THE MOMENT, IMMERSED IN ASTONISHING HARMONIES, THE FRUITS OF IMMENSE CREATIVITY
We held our breath, more than 200 of us in that transcendent moment at the Auditori Josep Carreras in Vila Seca. The final chord floated and then sweetly dissipated into the air and into our souls - encapsulating the intense sensitivity, intimacy, harmony and magic of chamber music at its finest. Bravo the Gerhard String Quartet. And take a bow, audience, for leaving that final moment to wash over us unbroken.
Full disclosure... We have a past in classical concert management and promotion. Maggie was personal assistant to William Lyne at the Wigmore Hall in London. I share this because what follows may ruffle feathers.
First, though, our appreciation of both the Auditori Josep Carreras at Vila Seca and the Auditori Pau Casals up the coast at San Salvador. How we wish more people appreciated them. To sense the hope and life springing from the music school children within the Auditori Josep Carreras is a joy in itself. To visit the former home and now site honouring the life and works of Pau Casals across the road from the Auditori at San Salvador is to feel the presence of this truly great Catalan.
And as for the Gerhard String Quartet, we have heard them grow into one of Europe’s finest chamber ensembles.
Music is core to well being, all genres. If you have never delved the emotional depths and beauty of live chamber works, then try. Orchestral masterpieces too. They are not elitist. It is for everyone if you but sow that first seed. Trust me. Which is why place and audience are so important: it just needs you to be in the moment, immersed in astonishing harmonies, the fruits of immense creativity.
We journey to Barcelona quite regularly for a concert fix, preferably at the Auditori where audiences tend to be very much in the moment, cherish artistry, not wanting the final note to end. But the last visit was a disappointment for another reason. Glorious to be in the company of Yo-Yo Ma for a cello and piano recital transferred from the stunning (and sometimes infuriating) Palau de la Musica. But much that is delicate and beautiful that Ma brings was lost in such a vast space because it was drowned to a great degree by a piano on full stick, namely lid gaping wide. The balance was wrong, the celebrated acoustics of that orchestral space for 2340 people no help. Why not two or more concerts in one of the smaller halls? Time, money, demand, of course. Were you there? Your thoughts?
So to the Palau, or rather not if there is a choice: can someone please house manage upfront, namely come on stage beforehand to introduce, look people in the eye, smile and reiterate the need to switch off from the outside world? Can tickets also boldly state no devices during the performance? The Palau experience is increasingly awash with phones held high by people oblivious of others, to the breaking of spells .