1936 Barcelona

Apr 18, 1936 – Apr 25, 1936
Barcelona

Festival info

Start: Apr 18, 1936

End: Apr 25, 1936

Locations: Barcelona

Hosting member(s)

Programme information

CONCERTS
Sunday, 19 April 1936, 11:15 at the Palau de les Belles Arts
La Banda Municipal de Barcelona (windband) conducted by Joan Lamote de Grignon

Josep M. Ruera (Spain [Catalonia], b. 1900; d. 1988): Tres moviments simfònics (Pastorale, Dance, Nuptial) (1936) (world premiere)
Wladimir Vogel (Switzerland, b. 1896 in Russia; d. 1984): Devise for brass sextet (1934) (world premiere)
Ricard Lamote de Grignon (Spain [Catalonia], b. 1899;  d. 1962): Joan de l’Os, Symphonic Legend for soloists, chorus, and wind ens.
[text: Josep Maria de Sagarra]
[with Mercedes Plantada, soprano; Ricardo Fusté, baritone; Conrado Giralt, bass; and the Schola Cantorum de Sant Miquel Arcàngel]
Florent Schmitt (France, b. 1870; d. 1958): Dionysiaques, symphonic poem op. 62 (1913) [11’]

From the diary of Benjamin Britten “Sunday 19 April”
(In Journeying Boy: The Diaries of the Young Benjamin Britten 1928-1938 edited by John Evans; Faber & Faber, 2010, p. 348)
“Go to Palau des Belles Artes for concert of Municiple Wind Band … It is an amazing Band of about 65 – all sorts and shapes of inst. & making the most heavenly sounds. Unfortunately a very dull programme – an academic Devise of Vogel (not up to his other works) a most deadly choral & band work ‘Joan de l’os’ by De Grignon jun. frightfully long & bad Wagner & Massenet, & Schmidt’s Dionysiaques. The conductor De Grignon sen. is a fine musician.”

Although according to Joan M. Thomas in Philharmonia Chopiniana Vol. III No. 3 (1936), pp. 29-30:
“Entre aquesta obra i la de Ruera, la Banda va donar la ‘Devise’ de Wladimir Vogel. Per a nosaltres va ésser la millor de les estrenes d’aquest programa. Escrita amb la limitació consegüent a a l’ús exclussiu dels instruments de metall, l’interés es mantingut sens defallir. No creiem que aixó sigui degut solament a la traça amb que els instruments són tractats sinó que més aviat hem d’atribuir-ho a la bona ‘construcció’ musical de l’obra: idees ben precises i definides, lògica i claredat en les seves transformacions, absència de superfluitats, realització segura, gairebé plàstica.”
(“Between this work and the one of Ruera, the band performed Devise by Wladimir Vogel. For us it was the best of the performances of this program. Written with the limitation of being exclusively for metal instruments, interest is maintained without losing ground. This is not only because of the way the instruments are treated, but also due to the good musical ‘construction’ of the work: well-defined and precise ideas, logic and clarity in their transformations, an absence of superfluities, and an assured, moldable realization.”)

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Sunday, 19 April 1936, 17:30 at the Palau de la Música Catalana
Orquestra Pau Casals conducted by Ernest Ansermet (unless otherwise noted)

Edmund von Borck (Germany, b. 1906 in Breslau [now Poland]; died in battle in Italy in 1944):
Präludium und Fuge for orchestra, op. 10 (1934) [8’]
Robert(o) Gerhard (Spain [Catalonia], b. 1896 CAT; d. 1970 in England): Ariel, ballet music (1934) [24’]
Ernst Krenek (Austria, b. 1900; d. 1991): Three Fragments from the opera Karl V. (1930-34) [20’]
[with Leonor Meyer, soprano] (world premiere)
Alban Berg (Austria, 1885-1935): Violin Concerto (1935) [26’]
[with Louis Krasner, violin; conducted by Hermann Scherchen (replacing Anton Webern)] (world premiere)
Alban Berg: Drei Bruchstücke aus der oper Wozzeck (1914-22 arr 1924) [20’]
[with Leonor Meyer, soprano]

Acc. Britten (ibid., p. 348):
“The first half of the program (Borck, Gerhardt [sic], Krenek) is completely swamped by a show of Berg’s last work Violin Concerto (just shattering – very simple & touching) & the Wozzeck pieces – which always leave me like a wet rag. … There is a Mayoral Banquet which we cut. You can’t be polite after Berg!”

Acc. Thomas (ibid., p. 30):
“La segona part del programa estava dedicada a tres fragments de “Carles V”, d’Ernst Krenek … No negarem que hi ha alguns moments de grandiosa expressió dramàtica (que l’excellent sopran Leonora Mayer va posar de relleu d’una faissó perfecta) però el conjunt ens semblà espès, obscur, poc adient al nostre gust.
“Indubtablement la tercera part resultà la millor de tot el concert. ‘In memoriam’ del … Alban Berg, la S.I.M.C. havia disposat l’execució de tres fragments de l’òpera ‘Wozzeck’ i l’estrena d’una obra pòstuma: el Concert per a violí i orquestra, encàrrec del violinista americà Louis Krasner. Aquesta obra és difícil d’assimilar amb una sola audició. Acompanyada pels instruments de vent i la percussió, la part del solista (que la tocà molt bé de memòria) resulta d’una dificultat extraordinària sota molts d’aspectes. Amb molt de gust voldríem sentir-la una altra vegada puix que.iralgrat que no poguérem capir-la d’una manera satisfactòria, no ens passà per alt l’emoció profunda i sincera que conté. Compost a ‘a la memòria d’un àngel’, sota la dolorosa impressió de la mort d’una noia molt estimada pel músic, la seva estrena venia a ésser el ‘Rèquiem’ del propi autor traspassat quatre mesos després d’haver acabat la seva música.”
(“The second part of the program was dedicated to three fragments of Carlos V, by Ernst Krenek … We will not deny that there are some moments of great dramatic expression (which the excellent soprano Leonora Mayer performed perfectly), but the set seemed thick, obscure, inappropriate to our liking.
“Undoubtedly the third part was the best of all the concert. In memory of Alban Berg, the ISCM arranged for the performance of three fragments of the opera Wozzeck and the premiere of a posthumous work: the Concerto for violin and orchestra, commissioned by the American violinist Louis Krasner. This work is difficult to assimilate with a single listening. Accompanied by wind instruments and percussion, the part of the soloist (who played it very well in memory) results from a extraordinary difficulty under many aspects. Hopefully we would like to hear it again because, despite the fact that we could not capture it satisfactorily, we did not overlook the deep and sincere emotion that it contains. Composed ‘in the memory of an angel,’ under the painful impression of the death of a girl much loved by the musician, its premiere came to be the ‘Requiem’ of the author himself just four months after he finished this music.”)

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Monday, 20 April 1936, 22:00 at the Palau de la Música Catalana
Ludwig Zenk (Austria, b. 1900; d. 1949): Piano Sonata, op. 1 (1933) [20’] [Robert Georg, piano]
Robert Blum (Switzerland, b. 1900; d. 1994): 4 Psalms for soprano and chamber orchestra {1.1.1.1/0.1.1.0/str} [Ps. 127,12,131,8]
[with Alice Frey, soprano] (1932) [17’]
Mark Brunswick (U.S.A., b. 1902; d. 1971): Two Movements for String Quartet, op. 1 (1925-26) [25’] [Galimir Quartet]
Václav Kaprál (Czechoslovakia, b. 1889; d. 1947): Uspávanky (Wiegenlieder) for voice and ensemble (1932-33) [10’]
[with Jurmila Vavrdová, soprano]
Jacques Ibert (France, b. 1890; d. 1962): Concertino da Camera for alto saxophone and chamber orchestra {11} (1935) [13’]
[Sigurd Raschèr, saxophone with ensemble conducted by Ibert]

Acc. Thomas (ibid., p. 34):
“[D]irem que cal també concedir la prioritat a la darrera obra del programa … ‘Concertino da Camera’ per a saxofón alt i petita orquestra, de Jacques Ibert: música d’una encantadora lleugeresa, d’una volguda superficialitat, francesa per tots els costats, que dissipa amb un raig de sol del port de Marsella—aquell port que agombola ensems veles mediterrànies i vaixells cosmopolites de totes les colònies—la pesantor de les boires nòrdiques. Dirigit per l’autor, el Concertino va ésser agradosament rebut per l’auditori que tributà una gran ovació al magnífic saxofonista Sigurd M. Rascher.”
“[W]e must also make note of the last work of the program … Concertino da Camera for saxophone alto and small orchestra, by Jacques Ibert: music of a charming lightness and an unwanted superficiality, French on all sides, but which dissipates with a sunbeam from the port of Marseilles – that port that binds Mediterranean sails and cosmopolitan ships of all colonies – the weightiness of the Nordic fogs. Directed by the composer, the Concertino was gratefully received by the audience who paid a great ovation to the magnificent saxophonist Sigurd M. Rascher.”

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Tuesday, 21 April 1936, 18:00 at the Casal del Metge
Walter Piston (U.S.A., b. 1894; d. 1976): Sonata for Flute and Piano (1930) [15’] [Esteban Gratacós, flute; Winifred Hooke, piano]
Egon Wellesz (Austria, b. 1885; d. 1974, England):
Five Sonnets of Elizabeth Barrett Browning for soprano and string quartet, op. 52 (1934) [21’]
[Leonore Meyer, soprano + New Hungarian Quartet]
Benjamin Britten (England, b. 1913; d. 1976): Suite for Violin and Piano, op. 6 (1934-35) [16’] (composed when Britten was 22 yrs old)
[Antonio Brosa, violin; Britten, piano]
André Souris (Belgium, b. 1899; d. 1970, France): Quelques Airs de Ciarisse Juranville for voice, piano, and string quartet (1927-28) [6’]
[Marie Lancelot, contralto; Alexandre Vilalta, piano; New Hungarian Quartet]
Manuel Blancafort (Spain [Catalonia], b. 1897; d. 1987):
Les Ombres perennes, 3 pieces for piano (1934 [sic]) (= Sonatina antiga (1929) [18’]) [Pere Vallribera]
Béla Bartók (Hungary, b. 1881; d. 1945, U.S.A.): String Quartet No. 5 (1934) [31’] [New Hungarian Quartet]

Acc. Britten (ibid.):
“Rehearse in the morning (after much waiting about) in the Casal del Metges with Toni, where we are playing this afternoon. It goes very well – tho we have sufficient slips to avoid over-confidence.”

Acc. Thomas (ibid., p. 35):
“’Les ombres perennes’ del català Manuel Blancafort revelaven el temperament exquisit i elegant d’aquest artista a travers de la Interpretació plena de bon gust, de sensibilitat i d’inteligent correcció, del jove pianista Vallribera; mentres que un altre excellent artista català, el violinista Anton Brossa, amb l’autor al piano, ens feia conèixer una Suite del joveníssim compositor anglès Benjamín Britten d’intencions iròniques, n o absenta de finura i de musicalitat en alguns dels seus números. [L]’excellent flautista Gratacòs i la pianista Winifred Hook e feren tots els esforços per a salvar la [sonate] (de Walter Pistón) malgrat que ‘aquesta obra s’obstinava a no deixar-se salvar.’ …
“Segurament cap dels auditors dubtaria en concedir el primer lloc precisament a l’obra que tancava la darrera part del darrer concert: el Cinquè Quartet de corda de Bela Bartok. En sentir aquesta música, magníficament interpretada pel “No u Quartet Hongarès”, un hom no pot menys de reconèixer que l’escòla, els procediments, les formes, poc importen quan un artista veritable vol fer sincerement veritable música.”
(“Les Ombres perennes by the Catalonian Manuel Blancafort revealed the exquisite and elegant temperament of this artist through the full-fledged interpretation of good taste, sensitivity and intelligence, by the young pianist Vallribera; while another excellent Catalan artist, the violinist Antonio Brossa, with its composer on the piano, made us know of a Suite of ironic intentions by the young Englishman Benjamin Britten, which had no lack of finesse and musicality in some of its numbers. … [T]he excellent flute player Gratacòs and the pianist Winifred Hook made every effort to save the [sonata] (by Walter Piston) although “this work strived not to be saved’ …
“But surely no one in the audience would doubt giving first place to the work that closed the last part of the concert: the Fifth String Quartet of Béla Bartók. When hearing this music, magnificently interpreted by the New Hungarian Quartet, one cannot but recognize that pedigree, procedures, and forms, do not matter when a true artist wants to honestly make music.”)

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Wednesday, 22 April 1936, 22:00 at the Palau de la Música Catalana
Madrid Philharmonic conducted by Ernest Ansermet, Bartolomé Pérez Casas, and Pedro Sanjuán

Carl Ruggles (U.S.A., b. 1876; d. 1971): Sun-Treader for orchestra (1931) [15’]
Albert Roussel (France, b. 1869; d. 1937): Symphony No. 4 in A, op. 54 (1934) [23’]
Frank Martin (Switzerland, b. 1890; d. 1974): Piano Concerto No. 1 (1933-34) [21’] [Walter Frey, piano]
Rodolfo Halffter (Spain, b. 1900; d. 1987, Mexico): Don Lindo de Almería, Divertimento coreografico op. 7 (1935) [22’]
Marcel Mihalovici (France, b. 1898 in Romania; d. 1985): Concerto quasi una Fantasia for violin and orchestra, op. 33 (1930)
[with Stefan Frankel, violin]
Roman Palester (Poland, b. 1907; d. 1989): Taniec z Osmolody [Dance from Osmoloda] (1932-33) [12’]

Acc. Thomas (ibid., p. 31):
“La Quarta Simfonia d’Albert Roussel fou, sens dubte, l’obra millor d’aquest concert. … La facilitat, la llibertat ben ordenada dintre del concepte tonal i formal, la construcció equilibrada, compatible amb la gràcia i la ductilitat de moviments, són característiques d’aquesta Simfonia que va dirigir impecablement Ansermet. Ni el concert per a piano i orquestra del suís Frank Martin, ni molt menys el “Sun-Treader” de l’americà Cari Ruggles ens varen convencer.”
(“The Fourth Symphony of Albert Roussel was undoubtedly the best work of this concert. … The easiness, the well-ordered freedom within the tonal and formal concept, the balanced construction, compatible with the grace and the ductility of movements, are characteristic of this Symphony that immaculately directed Ansermet. Neither the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by the Swiss Frank Martin, or Sun-Treader by the American Cari Ruggles was convincing.”)

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Thursday, 23 April 1936, 22:00 at the Palau de la Música Catalana
Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid conducted by Enrique Fernández Arbós

Lennox Berkeley (United Kingdom, b. 1903; d. 1989): Overture (1934) [7’]
Karl Alfred Deutsch (France, b. 1903 in Austria-Hungary [now Ukraine]; date of death unknown): Symphony
Karol Szymanowski (Poland, b. 1882; d. 1937): Violin Concerto No. 2 (1932-33) [21’] [with Stefan Frankel, violin]
Federico Elizalde (Spain, b. 1907 in Philippines; d. 1979): Sinfonia concertante (1936) [world premiere]
[with Leopoldo Querol, piano; conducted by Elizalde]
Lars-Erik Larsson (Sweden, b. 1908; d. 1986): Concert Overture No. 2, op 13 (1934) [7’]

Acc. Thomas (ibid., pp. 32-33):
“La veritable ‘obra’ d’aquest programa va ésser l’esmentat Concert per a violí, de Szymanowski, interpretat bellament per Stefan Frenkel. Szymanowski, com Falla, com Bartok i altres grans músics del nostre temps, no necessita abjurar els principis de la seva fe “nacionalista”, en la més pura significació del mot, per a assolir, categoria d’universalitat i d’art plenament europeu i ensems personalíssim.”
(“The true ‘work’ of this program was the Violin Concerto by Szymanowski, beautifully interpreted by Stefan Frenkel. Szymanowski, like Falla, Bartók and other great musicians of our time, does not need to abjure the principles of his ‘nationalist’ faith, the pure significance of the word, to achieve a kind of universality that is both fully European and very personal.”)

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Saturday, 25 April 1936 – Midnight (Concert of music from the Spanish Section)
Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid
conducted by Pérez Casas
Óscar Esplá (Spain, b. 1886; d. 1976): La Nochebuena del Diablo, cantata (1923) [30’] [with Concepció Badia, soprano]
Ernesto Halffter (Spain, b. 1905; d. 1989): Sonatina, Ballet in one act (1928) [40’]
Manuel de Falla (Spain, b 1876; d. 1946): Three Dances from El Sombrero de tres Picos (1917-19) [14’]

conducted by Enrique Fernández Arbós
Salvador Bacarisse (Spain, b. 1898; d. 1963): Balada for piano and orchestra, op. 20 (1935) [with Leopoldo Querol, piano]
Joaquín Turina (Spain, b. 1882; d. 1949): “Por el rio Guadalquivir” (2nd movement of Sinfonia sevillana, op. 23) (1920) [7’] [$]
Isaac Albéniz (Spain, 1860-1909):
“Triana” from the suite Iberia (1906), orchestrated by Fernández Arbós (Spain, b. 1863; d. 1939) (orchestrated 1928) [4’]
Pedro Sanjuán (Cuba, b. 1887; d. 1976, U.S.A.): “Iniciación” from Liturgia Negra (completed 1934?) [4’]
Juli Garreta (Spain [Catalonia], 1875-1925): Sardana (A En Pau Casals) (1913) [7’]
Enrique Granados (Spain, 1867-1916): Fragments from Goyescas (1915)
Felipe Pedrell (Spain [Catalonia], 1841-1922): El Comte Arnau for voices, chorus and orchestra (1904) selections?

Acc. Thomas (ibid., p. 41):
“Un altre inconvenient per a sentir amb gust aquest concert era l’hora a que va començar i l’enorme durada del programa. … Més de quatre hores en una sala de concerts ja és quelcom excessíu.”
(“Another inconvenience to experiencing this concert with pleasure was the time at which it began and the enormous duration of the program. … More than four hours in a concert hall is already excessive.”)

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The Festival was held in conjunction with the Third Congress of the International Society of Musicology. The compositions performed during the festival were selected in Barcelona from 28 December 1935 to 1 January 1936 by a jury consisting of Ernest Ansermet, Joan Lamote de Grignon, Anton Webern, and Boleslaw Woytowicz. Knudäge Riisager was supposed to participate as well but could not attend.

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Sources:
John Evans, editor, Journeying Boy: The Diaries of the Young Benjamin Britten 1928-1938 (Faber & Faber, 2010), p. 348
Anton Haefeli, Die Internationale Gesellschaft für Neue Musik (IGNM), Ihre Geschichte von 1922 bis zur Gegenwart (Atlantis Musikbuch-Verlag, 1982), pp. 493-94. [in German]
Nicolas Slonimsky, Music Since 1900, Sixth Edition edited by Laura Kuhn (Schirmer Reference, 2001), pp. 307-08.
Joan M. Thomas, Report “XIV Festival de la S.I.M.C., al III Congres de la S.I.M. (Barcelona)” in Philharmonia Chopiniana Vol. III No. 3 (1 Jun – 15 July 1936), pp. 25-35, 40-43 [in Catalan]

Locations