The Palace is located in the La Ribera district in Barcelona, very close to Via Laietana. The building was created in between 1905 and 1908 as a home to Choir of Orfeo Catala. A ceremonial opening took place on 9 February 1908. The creator of this project was Catalan architect, Lluís Domenech i Muntaner. The structure is thought to be one of the most important monuments of Catalan Art Noveu. The construction of the Palace was sponsored by textile industrialists whose movements were connected to that area(they also significantly founded the Barcelona's Theatre of Opera and Balette- Gran Teatre del Liceu).
During 1982-1989 years the structure went through a thorough renovation, a conversion and was expanded by direction of Oscara Tusquets and Carles Diaz architects. Nowadays, over half a million of people attend concerts and events which take place in Palace of Catalan Music every year. The repertoire is highly diversified and everybody will definitely be able to find something for themselves, from symphonic music to jazz or popular music of Cançó(a type of Catalan music). In 1971 the Palace was was listed as a national monument, in 1997 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Palace of Catalan Music is a typical example of Catalan modernism, where curving lines outweigh straight ones, and dynamic sculptures full of energy replace static forms. A distinctive feature is the presence of colourful decorations with floral and organic motifs. It is important to underline that the Palace is built in rational style. The architect, Luís Domenech i Muntaner, used the most up-to-date materials and technologies available at the beginning of the last century. Modern society thought that some part of his solutions was impracticable. In spite of that, Domenech i Muntaner wanted to emphasise the typical Catalan spirit in his building. Because of that, he hired local craftsmen and let them create adornments, sculptures and decorative elements thanks to which the Palace became so famous.
The bountiful decorations of the Palace meld traditional styles of Spanish architecture and Arabic one. That is why the architect used the combination of red bricks and iron, mosaics and stained glass which add clarity to the construction. The tiles were chosen and placed in a particular way in order to emphasize the light and open construction. Colourful colonnades reaching the balcony on the first floor adorn the front entrance of the Palace and the façade. Above them are placed busts of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrin, Johann Sebastian Bach as well as Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Wagner situated on the side. A huge mosaic full of an allegory embellishes the top of the façade. It was created by Luis Bru and is representing the members of the Choir but it is not possible to spot it standing in the narrow street in front of the Palace. In the corner there is a sculpture by Miquel Blay which symbolises the Catalan song.
The vestibule's ceiling is covered by glazed ceramic mouldings shaped as stars. Going out, on the left and on the right, there are placed mighty marble stairs, raised between fancy columns. Visitors enter the Palace through the foyer which was built during the renovation of the whole building in 1982-98. It may seem more austere than the rest of the Palace but wide arches in various colours such as emerald, pink or yellow used to create ceramic flowers make us feel that we are still inside the splendid residence. There are small windows with stained glass hidden between massive pillars.
The Concert Hall of Palace of Catalan Music can serve 2200 of spectators. It is the only place in whole Europe where the interior is, during the daytime, illuminated by natural light only. The walls on both sides are mostly covered with stained glass forming marvellous arches designed by Antoni Rigalt. His inverted dome placed in the centre of the Palace, covered with golden elements in different shades and blue ones surrounding them, is of the highest architectural and artistic value but is also symbolic- it is supposed to represent the sun and the sky. The decor of the interior of the Concert Hall is believed to be outstanding in designer's wizardry and imagination but the real purpose of presenting music is not forgotten.
There are two main themes on both sides of the Hall. The right one has its sculpture depicting young women commissioned by a choral society of Barcelona. The figures surround a stained glass sun, while a bust of Amselm Clave, the famous choir director whose input significantly helped to revive folk tunes, overlooks them. Beneath are sculptures of female singers performing a well known Catalan song Les Flors de Maig- The Flowers of May.
On the left side is a representation of the ride of the valkyries from Wagner's opera in which the female choir plays extremely important role. In the chamber there are Doric columns as a homage to classic architecture and a bust of Beethoven as a tribute to his Symphony No. 9- Ode to Joy. This arrangement of themes and symbolic adornments portray folk music on the left and classical music on the right which marry each other at the top of the arch.