The first concert of the Pau Casals Orchestra was given in Barcelona In October 1920. That ensemble became the core of the current OBC and, until its dissolution due to the Civil War in 1936, was an internationally renowned orchestra under the direction of Maestro Casals. Conductors and composers such as Béla Bartók, Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky and Manuel de Falla were invited to conduct the orchestra.
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This programme presents, as a tribute, a collection of works linked to the Pau Casals Orchestra. A significant part of Joan Manén’s work was premiered by this ensemble, although the Divertimento is of a later nature after the orchestra was disbanded. Robert Gerhard’s Sis cançons populars catalanes (Six Catalan Popular Songs) premiered under the author’s baton accompanied by soprano Conxita Badia, in 1931, at the Palau de la Música. Beethoven’s music was one of the pillars of the orchestra’s repertoire throughout its existence. Its first concert included Symphony no. 8, and the last, behind closed doors and without an audience due to the outbreak of the Civil War, the last movement of his Ninth Symphony, music that should have been used to inaugurate the 1936 Barcelona People’s Olympics.