30 November 2018

Disappointing program of Folksongs of Catalonia: harmonizations by  Amadeo Vives, Lluis Millet, Antoni Pérez Moya, Josep Cumellas i Ribó, Enric Morera i Viura, Eduard Toldrá, Nadal Puig, Salvador Mas, Pau Casals. Orfeó Catalá, Jordi Casas. Harmonia Mundi Ibèrica HMI 987006 (1992) and reissues. The songs are unsophisticated and the harmonizations not particulary ear-catching. A curiosity: the arrangement for soprano and chorus by Pau (Pablo) Casals of the Christmas Carol  El cant dels ocells (The Song of the Birds), which he made famous through his arrangement for cello and piano, which he played at all his concerts after his exile from Spain (1939), and which subsequently (and consequently) became the unofficial anthem of Catalonia. The arrangement sounds extremely nostalgic – I could have mistaken it for a Russian folksong, had I not known it was Catalan – which is bizarre, considering that it’s a song in which the birds happily welcome the birth of Jesus… A case, I guess, where context engulfed content.

Comments are welcome