A key moment in the history of Catalan music can be found in the collection of autograph manuscripts of Pep Ventura, rich in sardana scores. Thanks to campaigns to gather living testimony of popular Catalan music, song books are published and musical publications are created for youths.
Festa de la Música Catalana. Barcelona: Palau de la Música Catalana, [1908?]. 1 photograph: b/n (17,5 x 23,5 cm)
From the start, the Orfeó promoted a corpus of Catalan-inspired choral music, specified in the harmonisation of traditional and popular melodies, in the extension of the literal harmonisations relating to open comments on popular themes, and in the creation of an original genre, the Catalan-inspired choral poem, the paradigm which might include the choral compositions of Antoni Nicolau (1858 – 1933) on the poems of Jacint Verdaguer. To promote this repertoire and favour research of new melodies, the Orfeó held the Festes de la Música Catalana, imitating the Jocs Florals, held in 1904, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1911, 1915, 1917, 1920 and 1922, first at the Teatre Novetats and from 1908 at the Palau de la Música Catalana. The year of this last celebration, on 6 January 1922, the inaugural session of the tasks of the Obra del Cançoner Popular de Catalunya took place, to give way to a proposal that the scientist and patron Rafael Patxot had made to Lluís Millet, in which he suggested that the Orfeó accept management of the Obra del Cançoner Popular de Catalunya, which would have as its goal ”to make a musical corpus of all of our popular songs: those which are already published, the many that are gathered but remain unpublished, and those that are still unknown, wandering alone through the fields of the country”. A consultative board, presided over by Felip Pedrell and made up of representatives of the Archive of Ethnology and Folklore, the Excursionist Centre of Catalonia, the Institute of Catalan Studies, the Orfeó Català and the Rabell and Cibils Foundation, would take care of the global orientation of the mission, about to be started.