Palau de la Música is one of the greatest exponents of Catalan Modernism. Designed by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, in 1997 UNESCO catalogued it as a World Heritage Side.

When you think of Catalan modernism, first name that springs to your mind is Antoni Gaudí and masterpieces such as Colonia Güell, Sagrada Familia or Park Güell. However, there is more in this architect style than trencadís. There are other architects who have also designed many of the most impressive buildings in the Catalan capital. One of them was Lluís Domènech i Montaner (1850-1923), author of Palau de la Música Catalana.

This building was built between 1905 and 1908 as the headquarters of the Catalan Orfeón. The works were paid by the same bourgeois, financial and intellectual families who, sixty years earlier, financed the remodeling of  Liceu (Barcelona Opera theater). Its ornate façade, columns and, especially, the majesty of its concert hall meant that in 1997 UNESCO considered it a World Heritage Site. Here some images to verify that this title falls short.

The facade

The main façade overlooks the carrer Sant Pere and is characterized by the sculptural group that refers to the Catalan folk song. This includes children, the elderly and peasants but also people representing wealthy status. The message is that everyone is invited to enjoy Palau de la Música.

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Palau de la Música’s facade refers to the Catalan folk song.


The balcony

It is composed by columns of red brick and ceramics that combine trencadís technique with other styles. You can also see the busts of different geniuses on Doric constructions, such as Bach, Beethoven or Wagner.

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Palau de la Música’s facade.


Lluís Millet room

It is a resting and gathering room in honor the founder of the Orfeó Catalá, an association representing the main drivers of Catalan choral culture and tradition. One of the most outstanding elements are the windows of the balcony and its columns flooded with mosaics.

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Sala Millet’s columns.
The Concert Hall

If there is a place in Barcelona with high chances of suffering from Stendhal syndrome, that is Palau de la Música’s concert hall. This is crowned by an organ on the stage around which everything revolves. It is guarded by two columns of muses and Wagner’s Valkyries coming from the roof. On one side, the face of Anselm Clavé, Catalan composer and founder of the choral movement in Spain. On the other side, the great Beethoven. The rest of the large room is decorated with elements of nature, such as flowers, peacocks and palm trees. All this illuminated by the light that filters through the skylight, which acts as a great sun of colors.

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The Concert Hall.


One of the most significant events that took place in the Concert Hall is the so-called Fets del Palau (the Palau Events) on May 19, 1960. There was a concert to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Catalan poet Joan Maragall. It was scheduled and approved that the performance would end with El cant de la Senyera, one of his compositions. It was linked to Catalanism, a movement praising Catalan culture forbidden by Franco’s regime.

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The concert hall from above.


A day before the concert, Barcelona’s civil governor, who was ​​aware of the symbolism of this song, prohibited its interpretation. This act of censorship had an answer. The day of the concert Orfeó Catalá didn’t sing El cant de la Senyera but part of the audience did it. They also threw leaflets written by Jordi Pujol (future president of the Generalitat) entitled Us presentem el General Franco (Introducing General Franco)  making a harsh criticism of the regime.

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Audience’s view.