Institut Ramon LLull

Resources & Services


05/12/2018. Cuarteto Casals brings Benet Casablancas’ “Widmung” to Berlin
To commemorate their twentieth anniversary, the Cuarteto Casals has launched an international cycle ...
29/11/2018. Donallop, Biel Fiol and Tugores round off Rocher de Palmer's Balearic music showcase
Three artists from the Balearic Islands bring their Mediterranean beats to Le Rocher de Palmer ...
24/11/2018. Barcelona Modern Project and Placa Base perform at Turbulences Sonores contemporary music festival in Montpellier
The 2018 edition of this biennial showcase of contemporary and avant‑garde music shines a spotligh...

An overview of early music

Nowadays the early music scene in Catalonia shows a quite outstanding power and singularity. In this scene, the viol (viola da gamba) player and musicologist Jordi Savall – the winner of the 2011 Léonie Sonning Prize and director of the projects Hespèrion XXI and La Capella Reial de Catalunya – is a figure from the first division of European early music, alongside legendary names such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gustav Leonhardt, Frans Brüggen, William Christie or J. E. Gardiner. The phenomenon of Savall goes back to a surprising performing tradition based on historical criteria that begun in Catalonia in 1935 with the founding by J. Lamaña of Ars Musicae de Barcelona, subsequently conducted by Enric Gispert and Romà Escalas. This historicist nucleus became the driving force behind and promoter of other projects that followed one another from the late 1970s to the 1990s, such as the groups Diatessaron, Barcelona Consort and/or Turba Musici. It also spurred on some musicians to immerse themselves in early music. Among them we can mention the singers Lambert Climent, Josep Benet and Josep Cabré (the last two, founders of the vocal group La Colombina) or the instrumentalists Sergi Casademunt, Pere Ros, Santi Aubert, Albert Romaní, Mireia Hernàndez, Clara Hernàndez and Jordi Reguant. The presence in the Catalan early music scene of these players, along with the founding in 1977 of the Barcelona Early Music Festival, contributed to the full establishment of early music in Catalonia.

Josep Carner  i Carles Riba (Colecció Riba)
Jordi Savall

It could be said, however, that it was not until the founding of the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (2001) and the creation of the Department of Early Music (directed by Josep Borràs and Emilio Moreno) that the possibility really arose of creating a series of projects that, apart from the phenomenon of Savall, are some of the most successful on the current European music scene.

The group Tasto Solo, winner of the 2006 IYAP-Early Music Competition, has managed to become one of the most important European reference points of repertoires for keyboard instruments of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Led by the organist Guillermo Pérez, this group has become interested in the music of the German Conrad Paumann (c. 1410-1473), but also in the music of the Catalan-Aragonese courts in the reigns of Kings John I (1387-1396) and Martin the Humane (1396-1410), among others, and has gradually become one of the groups habitually featured at the main European early music concerts and festivals.

Founded in 2005 by cornet player Lluís Coll, La Caravaggia has managed to find a place among the groups specializing in the music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Featuring cornets, bassoons and tenoroons, sackbuts and bagpipes with the corresponding repertoire, in 2006 it won the prestigious Concours International de Cuivres Anciens de Toulouse. Among its programmes we should point out In mani dei catalani, a musical look at the connection existing between the Aragonese Crown and the Italian Peninsula during the sixteenth century. With this programme the group won the Belgian IYAP-Historical Wind Instruments Prize in the prestigious Laus Poliphoniae Festival (2007) held in the city of Antwerp.

In 2005, some of the first ESMUC graduates of early music joined other specialists trained in schools in Utrecht, Basel and Brussels to create Vespres d’Arnadí, co-directed by harpsichordist Daniel Espasa and oboist Pere Saragossa. Their notable productions include the recording of the Pièces de Simphonie by Charles Desmazures which, according to musicologists, might have been played in the cities of Barcelona, Figueres and Girona during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). Indeed, the War of the Spanish Succession and the fall of the city of Valencia in 1707 were the theme of one of Vespres d’Arnadí’s most successful productions: La festa de l’arxiduc.

This proliferation of instrumental projects linked to the ESMUC, however, has not impeded the constant emergence of other groups that have very little to do with this training centre. Among them are, for their presence at international festivals, Le Tendre Amour, Xacona and the Reial Companyia Òpera de Cambra directed by Juan Bautista Otero, reviving different operas by the Catalan Domènec Terradellas (1713-1751).

Leading the section of orchestras with historical criteria is the project by Jordi Savall: Le Concert des Nations. Other projects worthy of note are the Orquestra Barroca Catalana and Acadèmia 1750.

Early music vocal groups are represented by chamber music ensembles like Música Reservata de Barcelona and larger groups like (Ex Audi Nos, Cor La Xàntria, Cor Francesc Valls or Studio Aureum, directed by Carles Ponseti).

Some vocal soloists who have essentially focused their performances in the world of early music are deserving of a special mention. For their power and international standing we should mention the soprano Núria Rial, counter tenors Jordi Domènech and Xavier Sabata, and the guitarist Xavier Díaz-Latorre, the figure behind the project Laberintos Ingeniosos.

Domènec Terradellas
Domènec Terradellas

The founding in 1977 of the Barcelona Early Music Festival contributed to the full establishment of early music in Catalonia

Ofèlia Sala
Ofèlia Sala
Jordi Reguant
Jordi Reguant

Sponsors of IRL projects

The Institut Ramon Llull

is a consortium that comprises the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia), Balearic Islands Government and the Barcelona City Council, and its mission is the promotion of Catalan language and culture abroad.

Generalitat de CatalunyaGovern Illes BalearsAjuntament de Barcelona

This website uses its own and third party cookies to offer better browsing. By browsing in it the user agrees to the way we use cookies. Users can prevent cookies from being generated and erase them by using the options on their browser. Blocking cookies may mean that some of this website’s services and options do not work properly.

Cookies are small pieces of data that websites send to browsers and which are stored in users’ devices: computers, mobile telephones, tablets, and so on. Their purpose is to improve the experience of using the website, as these archives make it possible for the website to remember information about the user’s visits, such as preferred options or language. In this way the website personalizes its content and becomes more agile and useful for the user.

By browsing this website users agree to cookies being installed in their equipment that enable us to find out the following information:

Types of cookies

This website uses session, or temporary, cookies and persistent cookies. Session cookies merely keep data while the user is visiting the website. Persistent cookies store the data on the device’s hard drive so that it will be accessible in more than one session.

Depending on the type of data obtained the website can use technical cookies.

These allow users to browse the webpage and use the different options or services it contains. For example, controlling data traffic and communication, identifying the session, entering restricted access areas, requesting enrolment or participation in an event, using security features while browsing and storing content.

Personalization cookies.

These allow users to access the website with some general characteristics that are either already predefined in their hard drive or defined by the user. For example, the language, the type of browser used to access the website, the chosen content design, the geo-location of the device or the regional configuration from where access takes place.

Statistical analysis cookies

These make it possible to monitor and analyse the behaviour of visitors to the website. The information gathered is used to measure a website’s activity and to produce users’ browsing history, making it possible to improve the service.

Third party cookies

Third party cookies that manage and improve the services offered can also be installed. For example, statistics services like Google Analytics.

Managing the cookies in my browser

Users can allow, block or erase the cookies installed in their device by configuring the browsing options.

If the use of cookies in the browser is blocked, some services or functions of the webpage may not be available