Treasures of The Library of Orfeó Català

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Prologue

CATHERINE MASSIP, commissioner
Director of the Music Department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France

The Palau de la Música Catalana preserves within the collections of the library (Library of the Orfeó Català) a set of musical publications and manuscripts that hold exceptional significance for Catalan as well as European music history. The fifty bibliographic treasures chosen for this virtual exhibit illustrate the milestones needed to understand the development of music in the West from the Early Middle Ages to the 20th century.

With the aid of new technology, documents that until now have been reserved for researchers are displayed here to satisfy the curiosity of a broader audience. Musicians can find, in this exhibit, little known musical works; it is without a doubt an invitation to discover new repertoires. Likewise, music enthusiasts will be able to enjoy an excellent journey to understanding an essential aspect of Catalan culture: its musical heritage. And Internet users will be able to view a unique collection of important testimonies to the rich musical record of the peninsula.

While the manuscripts of Albéniz or Granados bring us closer to the creative genius of the composer, the earliest documents are testimony to the patient task of compilation that has allowed us to transmit to our time the works of a past that is always applicable.

Thanks to the documents chosen for their rarity, beauty, or for the curiosity that they arose, an exhibit is presented that is unique in richness and diversity, which invites us to cross the borders of well-trodden regions and become absorbed in the infinite kingdom of music.