index‎ > ‎Life‎ > ‎


EDUARD TOLDRÀ, conductor 

Radio Barcelona emitía desde el Palau de la Música los conciertos de la Orquesta Municipal dirigida por Eduard Toldrà


extracted from Manuel Capdevila's book "Eduard Toldrà, músic", Barcelona : Editorial Aedos, 1964

Letter written by Olivier Messiaen adressed to Eduard Toldrà in March 4, 1949, after the premiere in Barcelona on February 25th of his orchestral piece the "Trois Tâlas" .

March 4: Letter of gratitude written by Olivier Messiaen adressed to Eduard Toldrà after the premiere in Barcelona on February 25th of his orchestral piece the "Trois Tâlas" .

Olivier Messiaen
13 Villa du Danube
Paris (19º)

March 4, 1949

Dear grand maestro and great friend,

Thanks once again for the premiere of my "Trois Tâlas" in Barcelona on February 25th. It was for me an unforgettable evening! The orchestra (1st. violin, 1st. Cellist, 1st. Horn, wood-block, vibraphone and all the other musicians where magnificent without exception). The entire orchestra was wonderful! I must thank all in general and everybody in particular. But what should I say about you? The way you managed to bring simplicity for the service of music -the attention you paid to point out exactly every note, every value, every rhythmic figure, every timbre- your wonderful insight and penetration of the feelings, the secret dynamic of the composer, in short, of everything that is behind the notes. If this magnificent performance owes much to the soloists, the excellent Ginette Martinot, and the incomparable Yvonne Loriod, who plays my music as if she had written it, and mainly due to the security of your direction -your precision and technique with the baton, the expression of your left hand, alive and vibrant mask... You conducted my music with "love" and that's exactly what these Tâlas needed, they are a chant of love. Thank you wholeheartedly. I will never forget the day of our meeting, it will remain in my memory as an important date, as the remembrance of a great artistic treasure.

I will send to Carlos Suriñach, when he is in Paris, some of my published scores so he can send them to you. I very much hope that we will be able to work together again in the future.

Receive my sincere regards and all my appreciation!

Olivier Messiaen

20th Century AC - 21th Century AC
The symphonic tradition began before the Civil War with the Pau Casals Orchestra. The Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya [Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Catalonia] or OBC replaced it in the nineteen forties and it currently plays host to one of the most important musical institutions in the country: L’Auditori [The Auditorium].

The Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya was founded in 1944 under the direction of the maestro Eduard Toldrà, first under the name Orquestra Municipal de Barcelona [Municipal Orchestra of Barcelona] and then that of Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona [City of Barcelona Orchestra]. The Palau de la Música [Palace of Music] was its headquarters for 55 years until it was transferred to l’Auditori in 1999.

Rafael Ferrer succeeded Toldrà in 1962 and he was the musical director until 1967. Since then, the OBC has had as its maestros Antoni Ros Marbà, Salvador Mas, Franz-Paul Decker, Luis Antonio García Navarro and Lawrence Foster, who became director in 2002. It was during the latter directorship that the orchestra underwent one of the most significant changes in its history, the change in headquarters, with the opening of L’Auditori in 1999. The move was quite a challenge. On the one hand, it was necessary to stabilize and increase the audience, part of which decided to remain faithful to the Palau de la Mùsica. On the other, the OBC would become the host of a new venue. The efforts proved worthwhile. At present, the OBC has more than 10,000 subscribers, a figure which puts it among the leading positions in the ranking of European orchestras.

When Foster left in 2002, Ernest Martínez Izquierdo became the musical director of the OBC. There was a new change of leadership in 2006, when Eiji Oue was appointed as the new director. In 2010 the OBC placed its confidence in the young Pablo González.

Throughout its 60 years of history, the orchestra has programmed numerous new productions and has made diverse recordings with the main record labels. Its work has also received different awards. It has won the Latin Grammy for the Best Classical Music Album on three occasions: in 2000, with the CD ‘La Dolores’, in 2004 with the CD ‘Carmen Symphony’ and in 2006 with the CD ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. Highly-renowned conductors and soloists have worked with the orchestra and, moreover, the OBC has had continuous artistic activity abroad, with tours of different countries in Europe, Asia and the United States.

The orchestra is committed to the promotion of classical and contemporary music of all cultures and trends, giving special priority to the diffusion of Catalan composers. Moreover, the orchestra has created regular cycles in Lleida, Tarragona and Girona. At the same time, it actively participates in several activities organized by L’Auditori’s Education Service.

Another well-established orchestra in our country is the Municipal Band of Barcelona. It was founded as a wind and percussion orchestra in 1886 and is the heir of an age-old tradition of musical groups which, since the Middle Ages, has covered the solemn acts of the City Hall. Between 1915 and 1939, the Municipal Band enjoyed one of its most glorious epochs under the musical direction of Joan Lamote de Grignon, who consolidated the group and made it better known among the citizenship.

Since then, the Municipal Band has had a long history and will soon celebrate its 125th anniversary. It has been based in different places in the city and has been conducted by different batons. In its current phase, it is the resident group in L’Auditori, where it puts on a regular season of concerts. Since 2008, Salvador Brotons has been the permanent conductor and, under his direction, the band has expanded its repertoire with performances of newly-created works and has consolidated its classical collection. It has also become better known as a result of different concerts in Catalonia and Spain.

With more than 100 annual performances, it concentrates part of its activity on L’Auditori but also plays in different districts of the city, puts on auditions for schoolchildren, performs concerts in the Grec Festival and takes part in official municipal acts. Its concert activity includes new productions, thematic programmes and collaboration with soloists and conductors, which keep up to date the musical formation with the most tradition of the city.

A key to the consolidation of all these musical groups has been L’Auditori, which opened its doors on 22 March 1999. The objective of creating this public facility was to bring music and its values closer to the citizenship as a whole. At the time of the opening, L’Auditori consisted of Pau Casals Hall 1 and Tete Montoliu Hall 3. Later, in 2004, it was enlarged with the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) [Higher School of Music of Catalonia], which further enriched the place by providing new concepts such as education, research and musical reflection. Oriol Martorell Hall 2 was opened in 2006 and, finally, the Music Museum was incorporated into the building in 2007, thereby allowing a redefinition of the objective of L’Auditori and consolidation of the plurality of the music on offer. L’Auditori is currently building Hall 4 for small format concerts and rehearsals.

The programming has also increased. The first period focussed on adapting the OBC to the new venue and setting up L’Auditori Educa, which has become an international point of reference in terms of the quality on offer and the high number of participants. Since the first phase, its growth and enlargement towards all the musical genres and formats has been possible thanks to the availability of three fully-functional halls but above all to the creation of new programmes (modern, chamber, choir, jazz, ancient, world music, etc.) which have definitively completed the offer of L’Auditori.

The future of L’Auditori is influenced by its will to continue increasing its audiences, to make a commitment towards innovation, to continue very closely linked to Catalan reality and to work on expanding borders, something facilitated by its membership of the European Concert Hall Organization (ECHO). The plurality of its music and the diversity of its audiences show that it is an accessible and modern place which offers quality programming. It is, in fact, the musical setting with the highest audiences in the whole of Catalonia.