Musical life in Barcelona throughout the 18th and 19th centuries can be understood thanks to specific musical sources, such as the librettos and music of oratorios, couplets in honour of the Virgin and operas. Also among the collections of the Library are numerous printed and manuscript theoretical treatises.
Josep Pujol. El Juicio particular a cuatro voces y dibercidad [sic] de instrumentos ... 1770. Manuscript, 18 parts (22 x 32 cm)
El juicio particular is one of the eleven oratorios composed by Josep Pujol (fl. 1734-1798), successor to Francisco Valls as mestre de capela of the Cathedral of Barcelona. The Library of the Orfeó Català holds a libretto published in 1770, as well as performing materials made up of 18 separate parts: violin 1 and 2, oboe 1 and 2, horn 1 and 2, and two accompaniment partbooks, one of which is specifically for use of the double bass. The group requires four soloist singers who, according to the oratorio tradition established in Rome in the early century by Saint Felipe Neri, personify moral entities: Judge Eternal, Angel, Soul, and Demon. The work ends with a four-voice chorus (soprano, alto, tenor and bass), “O día de amargura, o día de dolor”, with organ accompaniment.
The music alternates recitatives and arias, which are expressly indicated in the libretto by an explanatory entry in the text and title. The score of the Angel has a rich ornamentation added to the cadenza, a further demonstration of the vocal virtuosity shown in some arias (Alma, “Los amantes suspiros”). Some texts may have been inspired by Italian arias; for example on page 2, “Sombra, que pálida” recalls the beginning of an aria by Ferdinando Bertoni “Ombra che pallida”.
Another libretto containing the same words was set to music by Francesc Queralt (Les Borges Blanques, 1740 – Barcelona, 1825) bearing the date of 1790 in its dedication. The title, however, indicates a performance planned for 25 January 1801.