Saturday, 21 April 2018

Barcelona: Palau de la Musica Catalana

The facade of the Palau de la Musica Catalana

We somehow missed looking inside the Palau de la Musica Catalana on our previous visit to Barcelona in 1992, but we were determined not to make that mistake again. The outside is fantastic, but as the Palau is in a rather narrow street it is very hard to photograph. The only way of seeing the inside is by guided tour, so that's what we booked.

The Palau was the work of of the great Moderinista (Catalan art nouveau) archiect Lluís Domènech i Montaner and it was built between 1905 and 1908. More recently it was restored and remodelled in the 1980s and again in 2006-08. We started our tour in the lobby and were immediately taken by the riot of colour, especially the glasswork and the ceiling.

We climbed the stairs to the first floor and on the the balcony which can just be made out on the photo of the facade. There are a dozen columns in two rows all with different, but all exquisite, ceramic designs. I managed this picture by loitering at the back of the tour group and quickly snapping it as the guide was trying to lock the door. No doubt this happens on every tour.

Now we headed into the astonishingly ornate and beautiful Concert Hall. This is a photo of a photo hanging in the lobby. There is a massive organ behind the stage (which, we learned, can now we operated wirelessly) and the massive sculptures to the right and left represent traditional Catalan music on the left (the building's original purpose) and classical music (embodied by Beethoven) on the right.

This is the right hand side illustrating the beautiful stained glass and the fan shaped structures which are above the lights.

Perhaps the most remarkable feature is the glass skylight. This is a view from more or less below, obviously bit quite from the direct centre.

And here is a view from the top of the rear seating area.

Almost everywhere you look there is beautiful stained glass. Here at the back of the concert hall ...

... and here on the stairs.

Emerging into the daylight, I struggled to get some images of the exterior. This the base of the column on the right hand side as you look at the building. The ceramic patterns are very similar to those on the balcony.

This is the upper part of that same corner, with all sorts of extravagant and striking details.

Rating: 5 stars. An absolute masterpiece. A riot of colour, but also a tour de force of craftsmanship.

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