Palau de la Música Catalana is the most known concert hall from Barcelona and Spain, which was built between 1905 - 1908 by Lluís Domènech i Montaner using the modernista style as the main design of the building, with the principal reason to serve a choral society which was found in 1891 and it was leading the cultural movement known as The Catalan Rebirth.
The palace was initially financed by society, but there were also some important contributions coming from the wealthy industrials of Barcelona, that made it being built pretty fast and be officially opened in the same year when the construction ended.
Due to its unique architecture which includes plenty of details that can be barely noticed if you are not looking carefully, made Palau de la Música Catalana win the award of the best building realized in 1909.
The palace that opens its gates every year to more than a half of million people who come over to attend different concerts and musical performances varying from symphonic music to jazz, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
The design used for Palau de la Música Catalana is also the style used by Antoni Gaudí and this is why some elements might seem familiar, especially the mosaic, floral and dynamic shapes that give the taste of a rich decoration.
But what makes it different than any other modernista building, is that all the materials and technologies which were used for its creation are some recent ones discovered in the 20th century - iron and red brick, compared to the others used by artists.
Even though the palace is referring to Catalan music, the sculptures from it are not only traditional Spanish ones but also Arabic architecture, which makes it clearly seen that music is home for all nations and it connects people from all over the world, because there is no one who was born without the love for music.
The mosaics, together with the stained glass and the glazed tiles were specially picked to offer a feeling of transparency and openness to every single person who crosses the threshold.
The columns from the balcony of the main facade are graced with a huge variety of mosaics created by Lluís Bru who wanted to reproduce the entire team of the Orfeó Català which is the choral society founded in 1891, each column being dedicated to a member of the group.
Even though it might seem like the columns are alike, there are no common elements or sculptures which are being created for many times to fill the decorations, but actually only unique details.
That's how is not a random thing that right behind the columns, in the room that has the opening to these beauties are located more busts of some of the most known and respected artists: Richard Wagner, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach.
The entrance of Palau de la Música Catalana is from the main street and it gets the guests right behind a ceiling decorated with many glazed roses in the shape of stars.
From this place, you will see some grand marble staircases on the left and on the right which are being embraced by columns not less impressive that have crowned lamps to light your way up to the next floor.
Between the two staircases, there is a little bar in the background where tourists can rest until it's time to visit the palace or just spend some good times while drinking a coffee or eating a slice of cake.
Being part of Palau de la Música Catalana, the bar is not less expensive than the piece of art which we discovered so far, because the stained-glasses panes that are lighting the entire place are made from the same quality the entire palace is dressed with.
And if you thought this is all, keep in mind that the most interesting and fascinating part starts now, when we get into the concert hall where hundreds or maybe thousands of spectacles, are being kept yearly - a room that was called the most wonderful one in the world without any exaggeration by David Mackay in 2006.
The concert hall from Palau de la Música Catalana has a total number of seats for 2.200 persons and it's the only auditorium from Europe that is entirely illuminated by natural light with the help of the stained-glasses panes.
The two sides of the walls are designed with huge stained-glasses panes that are surrounded with magnificent arches which make the natural light be redirected in a way that the whole concert hall will be illuminated during the day.
The main attraction is the glass from the ceiling which has an atypical shape but which is not randomly chosen, as it is an inverted dome painted with shades of blue and gold that transpose the sun and the sky with its angels.
Another interesting aspect of the building is the facade which was created to help the sunlight get inside of a palace but without bringing too much warmth with it during the summer, which also serves as a protection against earthquakes that might ruin the hundreds of stained-glasses panes.
The hall is often considered a theater or church too, due to the massive sculptures that are flanking the stage with unique musical instruments that were used for this kind of music, but Palau de la Música Catalana is exclusively dedicated to the Catalan sounds, the one that prevails the most being choral music.
An important aspect of the concert hall, which not many are equipped with, is the stage that can be extended as much as needed or diminished to bring out more seats for the audience.
That's how in just a matter of a few minutes, the whole place can be adjusted for a large orchestrate or number of persons that are attending to the show.
The most dominating sculpture from the concert hall is the arch that represents folk music on the left and on the right the classical music which are being united with the help of the architecture, which also makes the connection to the figures of 18 young women in the backside of the stage, popularly known as the muses.
Even though the Greek mythology has just 9 muses, there are two groups of muses sculpted by two different artists creating only unique arts with various musical instruments and different skits, blouses, and other elements, one of them being dedicated to Austria and the Spanish Habsburgs dynasty.
The muses from the right are singing at instruments which are specific to the Catalan Music, and those from the left are instruments which belong to other countries.
There are a few more seats at the next stage that has balconies for a better view over the stage, where the sculptures that will catch everyone's attention are the winged horses which are the symbol of high-flying imagination in the Greek mythology, in honour of Pegasus.
Along with the many details from Palau de la Música Catalana you will also discover some medallions which are bordered with laurel green leaves, 5 of them being on the top with the synthesized history of Catalan Music: Brudieu, Flexta, Viola, Terradellas and Clavé, and the rest of the 10 medallions in groups of 5 pieces, on the left and on the right of the stage with names of the great musicians that sang in this place. (J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Palestrina, Carissimi, Mozart, Wagner, Victoria, Gluck and Handel)
To visit Palau de la Música Catalana you need a ticket and a guided tour to present you the entire building, which starts every 30 minutes and you need to wait for the guide in the hall of the palace because if you are late you can't join anymore and the money won't be refunded.
You can buy the tickets Online which you will have to print or show the bar code of the e-ticket on your mobile to the control of access, at the box office from the palace, by phone (902 475 485) or by email ([email protected]).
The length of the tour is of 55 minutes and the first minutes will be spent in a room where you will see some documentaries about the history of Palau de la Música Catalana and then discover the rest of it and get more information from the guide who speaks English, French, Catalan, Italian and Spanish.
The schedule differs from the time of the year:
- Easter and July: 10 AM - 6 PM;
- August: 9 AM - 6 PM;
- The rest of the year: 10 AM - 3.30 PM.
The prices of the tickets:
- Adults: 20€;
- Retirees (65+ years old): 16€;
- Students & Unemployed people: 11€;
- Children (less than 10 years old): FREE;
- Catalonia Residents: 10€;
- Advanced Purchases (buying tickets 21 days in advance): 16€;
- Groups (25 people), Aerobus, Barcelona Bus Turístic, Barcelona Card, City Tours, Ruta del Modernismo, Walking Tours: 20% off the normal value of the ticket.
Palau de la Música Catalana is located on Carrer Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain and to get there you need to either take the metro L1 or L4 until Urquinaona station, or with a bus: 17, 19, 40, 45, V15 and V17.
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