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Orquestra Pau Casals, El Masnou, 1927
Research projects

Ways and means: identifying and locating Orquestra Pau Casals’ musicians

Archives, documentation centers, newspaper libraries, books, websites. We want, above all, possible images related to concerts, and documentation such as family photographs, cards or postcards.

Obviously, the importance of the documentation offered in the exhibitions about the Orquestra Pau Casals is capital. In particular, we find a photograph of the orchestra with Eugène Ysaÿe in the same year 1927, on April 23, the month before the Masnou concert; making an exhaustive review of the musicians that appear, we distinguish many musicians that appear in the image of the Masnou too. The same happens, for example, with the photograph taken in 1929 in which Casals and 33 cellists appear rehearsing Sardana per a 32 violoncels by the maestro from El Vendrell. There are, of course, other photographs of the orchestra, both from 1927 itself and from other years.

The lists of musicians of the Orchestra Pau Casals that appeared in the programmes of two of their concerts (1920 and 1921), located at the Centre de Documentació de l'Orfeó Català (CEDOC), which list the musicians by families of instruments and positions, are useful; in 1930, they are also listed in the Anuario Musical de España, and in the Orchestra Fund in the Biblioteca de Catalunya where we could find lists of musicians from the years 1922 and 1937.

A newspaper library means news, in this case of the musicians and / or musicians' groups, which could include an image. Tracking their concert career can make it easier to discover chamber ensembles with which they worked, and perhaps there is visual documentation in which they can be found (especially if they didn’t stand out as soloists). It is worth saying that the writer of these lines has not done research exhaustively for each of the musicians (yes for some). There are other useful texts: for example, the citation of a fragment of Joaquim Pena's speech in which he had a memory for the musicians who died in previous years, allowing this to suspect his absence, in some cases confirmed later. Or a list of donations for the realization of a monument to Juli Garreta, which allows some promising musings, and also, the reproduction in a newspaper of the list of groups of musicians that would take part in the concert of June 12, 1927 at the Teatre Casal de Vilafranca del Penedès. In all three cases, the texts are part of digitized newspapers that can be consulted in the Arxiu de Revistes Catalanes Antigues (ARCA).

Regarding books such as monographs or illustrated dictionaries: Pepe Reche pointed out, and Sara Guasteví extracted all the information from the 1929 Diccionario de música ilustrado edited by Albert Torrellas, Eduard Nicol and Jaume Pahissa, which offers very illuminating close-ups of some of the musicians. Also a book on the Banda Municipal de Barcelona, by Josep Maria Almacellas, specifies the presence of musicians (with names and surnames) for each year of the band, which has allowed us to extract the list of those who belonged to it in 1927. Fortunately, in the Viquipèdia entry (in Catalan) of the formation there is a high resolution image also from that year, which allows us to find the faces of some of the same musicians in the El Masnou photograph, and therefore, "bet for", if not fully clarify who some of them are (we will comment on this last area again). 

From the websites, precisely Viquipèdia or blogs and monographs, such as Josep Loredo's blog, have a wonderful compilation of information and images of musical groups in Catalonia, or the website on Eduard Toldrà (also monumental, focusing here on his entry for the Orquestra Pau Casals, which includes a photograph of what is possibly the first concert of the formation; at least, we are quite sure that several of the musicians coincide with the order of the lists by family of the 1920 programme), and portals such as Todocolección, which would be the equivalent of talking about private collections. Quick searches of some names of musicians result in photographs or hand programmes, posted on this portal, waiting to be acquired or already sold. Thus we have been able to consult, for example, a photograph of Narcís Carbonell, or a copy of El Masnou's own photograph that includes a partial list of supposedly identified musicians (apparently, the original owner and therefore identifier could have been Domènec Pastor Massana, musician of the Banda Municipal de Barcelona and the Orquestra Municipal, since the name appears at the top of the document). 

Comparison of photographs. Focus on April 1927 with Ysaÿe as an example. The concert repertory

83 musicians appear in El Masnou's photograph. The programme that the Orchestra performed in that concert, on May 29, 1927, had the following compositions: Weber's Der Freischütz overture; Leonora no. 3 and the Fifth Symphony, by Beethoven; Nydia, sardana, by Garreta, and Els murmuris de la selva (from Siegfried's second act) and Wagner's Tanhäuser Overture. Relevant or not, a note and a suspicion: the concert was in the afternoon, at 5 p.m., but the Orquestra Pau Casals had given a concert that same day for the Associació Obrera de Concerts, at the Palau de la Música, at 11 a.m. (and with the participation of Blanca Selva, pianist); so we suspect that the musicians, when the picture was taken, could accumulate some fatigue. Unfortunately, for now we do not have any chronicle about how the day passed (and it seems that there is no local press either); we do not know what was the possible order or plan for that day; we do not know either when the musicians would have eaten, or where; maybe the photograph was taken just after lunch and before the concert, or maybe it was done later in the afternoon.

Orquestra Pau Casals amb Ysaÿe al Palau de la Música
Orquestra Pau Casals with Ysaÿe at Palau de la Música

 

The photograph with Ysaÿe includes 86 musicians (or 87 with Ysaÿe) and corresponds to the concert that the Orquestra Pau Casals offered on April 23 at the Palau de la Música, the second of the Beethoven Festivals commemorating the centenary of the composer’s death. The programme included the Second Symphony, the Violin Concerto and the Fifth Symphony, with Casals as conductor and with Ysaÿe as soloist in the concert (and who also played in the fifth). There is a question of obvious importance: the placement of the musicians. Looking at the photograph, in the foreground, on the left, we have the first violins; on the right, the second violins. In the background (behind the first and second violins, respectively) we have the cellos on the left, and the violas on the right; the harps are found to the right between violas and second violins. 

In between these two string sections, in a column behind the conductor, we have wind instruments: flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons. In the third plane (behind the string and wind groups), from left to right, we find some double basses, horns, trumpets and trombones, and in the background, to the left, the second row of double basses, and to the right the percussion. 

Whether the musicians who played the concert appear strictly in the photograph of El Masnou, it would seem risky to affirm it without reservation. With some lack of evidence to confirm it, the ideal way to answer the question would be with the complete "Qui és Qui", and contrast it with the payrolls of that year, not located at the moment. Or with another photograph of the orchestra in formation at the same El Masnou concert, something that we have not found.

Despite everything, if we insisted on the idea that in the photograph the formation that took part in that concert could strictly appear (imagining that just after the last applause those who filled the stage were marching towards the courtyard of the Casino to take the picture), and knowing that those works were performed in the concert (we do not know if other works were added outside the programme that might require the participation of musicians that were not necessary in other works), checking the instrumentation required for such works would give an idea of groups of instrumentalists supposedly required and, therefore, it would lead to discard the presence of various musicians from the initial list. We will return to this question later, commenting on another source.

Theorizing (and sometimes proving) identifications

Putting on the table the various clear singular identifications, photographs of the orchestra, lists and other specific visual documents such as cartoons or drawings, the #quiésqui is in a more complete phase, despite still having many unknowns. In a theoretical and therefore provisional way, we prefer the order of one or another list (or subtraction parts) as a reference to clarify the template present in El Masnou's photograph: we move between the 1930 Anuario's list and the previous ones when we see that some musicians that we have identified do not appear in this but they do in those.

Llista de participants al monument per a Garreta
List of participants in the monument to Garreta

During 1927 various newspapers published lists of donations to make a monument to the composer Juli Garreta, who had died in 1925. At the end of July and the beginning of August we find this one. Just if we look a bit at all those names that accompany the photograph of El Masnou on the occasion of the #quiésqui, we will immediately realize that practically all of those that appear in this list "de Garreta", if not all, are musicians of the Orchestra Pau Casals. We omit the first two names for the moment (Joan Farrarons was a violinist and the second was a cellist or double bass player). When we arrived at Bonaventura Dini, number 65 (identified by the Twitter user @JosepEudald), things are getting bigger: Dini was the first cello, and according to the 1930 Anuario, Gabriel Rodó the second, Alfred Pasqual the fifth, and Sants Sagrera the sixth. If in the photograph with Ysaÿe we have cellists starting from Dini and Rodó (41), and we know that the sixth is Sagrera, the row behind Dini and Rodó must be the third, fourth, fifth and sixth, which according to the Anuario they would be Josep Umbert (63), Josep Pagès (23), Pasqual (71) and Sagrera (39). We recognize Lluís Millet i Farga at two o'clock (61), ninth; and Manuel Gallego, the tenth (eighth on the Garreta list), is identified with no. 13 in the photograph of El Masnou visible on the Todocolección website.

005_cellos_anuario_1930.jpg
Violoncel·listes

Gabriel Rodó
Gabriel Rodó

Sants Sagrera
Sants Sagrera

We are missing the seventh and eighth; for the position in the Garreta’s list appear "Antoni Elies" and "Wangarner". We have no news (perhaps due to my ignorance) that Antoni Elies was a cellist for the OPC. "Wangarner" seems to have been used as a pseudonym, we bet he is the eighth cellist, alluding to Felix Weingartner, well-known conductor and composer. What we know is that, in the photo d'Ysaÿe, Millet and Gallego appear, something that only left two more cellists there, who clearly seem to us numbers 70 and 25 of the El Masnou, respectively. Without further investigation in this research, we only venture provisionally if they would not be Joan Prat and Francesc Solà, since in the Anuario they are the ones that appear in the seventh and eighth place, but it is doubtful due to the fact that in the Anuario they do not neither Millet nor Gallego appear as ninth and tenth, and on the other hand, in the photograph of the 32 cellists those who we believe to be third, fourth, fifth and sixth appear identically aligned, while we do not see, although they appear, those in El Masnou we call Prat and Solà.

Secció de violoncel·listes al Palau de la Música
Secció de violoncel·listes al Palau de la Música

Still weaker may be another theory: the photograph on the Todocolección website was mistakenly identified as number 65, Bonaventura Dini, and we can read "Clot" on it. There were two notable cellist brothers (in fact, multi-instrumentalists, they would also be trombonists in the Banda Municipal since the 30s) with surnames Clot, Francesc and Esteve, and the second actually appears on the list of cellists who participated in the interpretation of Sardana for 32 violoncels by Casals. Perhaps the seventh or eighth was Esteve Clot.

The name that follows Gallego is Jaume/Santiago Cortadella, double bass player. This sector is more problematic. To begin with, between the names of double bass players, there are names of musicians of whom we have no evidence that they are: they are Cortadella, Conrad Bas, Rafel del Pino, Pere Ribalta, Miquel Prat, Pere Cantarell and Jaume Sató; by "Figueres'' we can understand "Francisco Higueras", it would also be; but on the other hand, we have no news that it was Rafel Debesa (who would be viola) or Artigues, we do not know if it was not extra-musical. On the other hand, the names below could also be Jaume Rodríguez, and "Valls", which may be Pere Valls, first double bass. And Joan Gratacós does not appear. If we contrast with the list in the Anuario, we have: Valls, Gratacós, Bas, del Pino, Sató, Higueras, Cantarell and Miquel Prat. It is clear that Valls and Gratacós are 55 and 32 respectively. And they are minimally clear, contrasting with the photograph of Ysaÿe and that of Beethoven's 9th Symphony concert, which in photography of El Masnou are double basses on 8, 24, 46 and 54; more doubtful, although we venture it, it turns out to affirm that 9 and 44 are also so. Supposedly there are eight in total. We still only see one possible theory to launch: we are certain that those who occupy the top 4 positions the most are Valls, Cortadella, Gratacós and Bas, who would be in the front row. Cortadella's relatives believed they identified him in no. 49, who is actually Antoni Goxens, a bassoonist. If it was the only one that looked familiar, it is possible that Cortadella (which could be the second double bass in Ysaÿe's photograph, next to Valls) is not present in El Masnou's photograph, and number 54, which appears as fourth double bass quite clearly, is indeed. Therefore it could be Conrad Bas.

Secció de contrabaixistes al Palau de la Música
Double bass player at Palau de la Música

Contrabaixos a la 9a de Beethoven
Double bass players at Beethoven's 9th Symphony

Let's go through two more names, Pere Carbonell and Leonard Aroles: having seen all the double basses, we believe that these two (the second sure) are first violins. But for now we put them aside: the next name that comes up is Dino Dini. We know that he is the second violin, and without a doubt the first second violin; he also appears in the Anuario. The photograph of the concert on Eduard Toldrà's website also facilitates identification here, since as we said it is very likely that the musicians that appear are the same ones from the list of the 1920 hand programme. We can also see Santiago Burgués, second violin. But let's go back to Garreta’s list:  D. Dini, Burgués, José Port, Antoni Morató, Fernández, Vicens Campmany, Tomàs Prunell, Ramon Vergés, Vicent Plantada and Francesc Pujol Mateu. Campmany is actually Company, and Francesc Pujol Mateu is actually Joan Pujol Mateu (Francesc of Orfeó Català, let's remember, is Pujol Pons). If we now go to the photo of Ysaÿe, we see the following: the duo D. Dini - Burgués it matches; and in the second row we find the two identifiers with whom Jaume Ayats initiated the identifications, the second violins Cèsar Fernández and Vicenç Company. Assuming that 1 + 1 = 2, in Ysayë's photo the third and fourth violin would be Josep Port, 68, and Antoni Morató, 57. In the row behind we see the also identified (by relatives) Ramon Vergés, the eighth. Therefore, it is very likely that next to him is Tomàs Prunell, 34, who would be seventh. But later Vicenç Plantada arrives, and next to him Joan Pujol (67): Pujol sits in the last row of the second violins (he was identified by relatives), and in the photograph on the Todocolección website, Plantada is identified as number 38: we believe then, that from Vergés (eighth) the Garreta’s list jumps to the row behind, that is violins seconds 13-16. In the Anuario, the list fits from first to seventh (D. Dini to Prunell), but in 1930 it is possible that Plantada would have improved to eighth place. Despite this, we venture that the appearance of Plantada is sufficiently clear that whoever identifies him in the Todocolección photo here would have been right. We also have quite clear who Plantada has on the left. Another second violin that appears in Garreta’s list and in Anuario is Joan Cervera, but at the moment we cannot put a face on it.

Secció de violins al Palau de la Música
Violin players at Palau de la Música

A decisive question is where is the limit between second violins and violas in the photographs in which the orchestra appears in formation, such as Ysaÿe's. Assuming, for example, the presence of Bonaventura Dini and Rodó, first and second cellos, we can venture that in our right hemisphere and in symmetry we would find the first and second violas. We have no news, on the charts, of another first viola that was not Joan Ribas (or Ribes). On the other hand, and despite the fact that it seems somewhat doubtful given the high luminosity of the photograph and the musician's very white hair, we believe we can identify Francesc Musolas (22 in El Masnou) in the photograph that presides over the web space of his collection in the Biblioteca Catalunya (varying the contrast and the light allows us to see that it is not bald as it might seem, and features such as ears or lips are unequivocally identical).

Secció de cordes al Palau de la Música
String section (violins, altos, cellos), at Palau de la Música

Joan Ribas, beyond these notes, can be identified by a photograph of the "Sextet Barcelona" that appeared in the issues of the magazine Catalunya Ràdio of July 15 and October 28, 1933. The Sextet was made up of  Domènec Ponsa and Ramon Vergés, violins; Ribas, viola; Rolled, cello; Joan Gratacós, double bass, and Pere Vallribera, piano. We could doubt with the "string quartet", but no: photographs of Rodó, Ponsa and Vergés are easily located that show that neither of them was bald; therefore, it can only be the one in the second row on the right, although not quite clearly if it is appreciated that it would be number 33 of El Masnou.

Sextet Barcelona
Sextet Barcelona

Joan Ribes
Joan Ribes

Francesc Musolas
Francesc Musolas

Retrieving the Garreta list, we see how Ribas and Musolas are the first of a succession of violists: followed by Alexandre Riera, Joan Mullor, Ramon Colomer, Josep Antonés, Enric Ainaud, Casià Casademont and Joan Ripoll. In the Anuario Musolas does not appear, nor Mullor, since he had died, and other names appear, such as Claudi Agell (who we are almost entirely sure that he does not appear in the photo of El Masnou), Rafel Debesa (who we have already said that appeared among double basses in Garreta's list) and Ignasi Gironella. It seems then that the 1930 Anuario shows changes that had not taken place in 1927. If we can suppose that Enric Ainaud could be number 79, comparing it, for example, with the photograph in the Diccionario ilustrado by Pahissa et al., We see that in Ysaÿe's photo we find him in the third row of violists, to the far right; And if we count, he is the seventh, as it appears in the Garreta list. Also in Ysaÿe and Garreta the eighth is Cassià Casademont (48, we have it identified). If we assume that they are in the position of 2, 4 and 4, although we could be wrong, it seems possible that in this case (violists 1-9) everything could fit: Ribas (33), Musolas (22), Alexandre Riera ( 6), Joan Mullor (64), Ramon Colomer (27), Josep Antonés (7), E. Ainaud (79), Casademont (48), Joan Ripoll (45). We do not know who the tenth viola could be; below the Garreta list the is an inscription: "Juliverd de La La Costa" [sic], perhaps Josep Juliverd, but he is not in El Masnou's picture. It could also be possible -even though we are not affirming it- that no. 53 is the tenth viola in Ysaÿe's photo, and that it turns out to be Debesa. But it is pure speculation. To leave the violas behind, we also add that in other photographs of the OPC in formation (the one of the Ninth Symphony with the Orfeó Gracienc, or the one of the 1920 concert in which the members appear in the play programme) we believe we recognize the viola that We assume it is Josep Antonés, thanks to the fact that in all of them he poses in which he raises his head quite a bit and opens his mouth a little.

Secció de violes al Palau de la Música
Violas section at Palau de la Música

 

After Joan Ripoll, wind players began to appear. First two bassoons, which have already been identified: Antoni Goxens (49) and Àngel Manén (bassoon or contrabassoon, 11). Then appears Lluís Oliva (clarinetist, or bass clarinet, depending on where you look at it), who in the Todocolección website photo indicates number 37 (and number 37 seems to be recognized by Nori's daughter). Then there are two horns (Ramon Bonell and Jeroni Méndez, identified, 50 and 17 respectively), and a trombonist (Francesc Mulet, identified, possibly second trombone). Later, various musicians come, some of them first violins, others who also sign with a pseudonym, and several who only put initials. Before going to the first violins, we went through the wind musicians.

In addition to those already mentioned, among the first wind players that have been identified are Jaume Poca (flutist, 62), Narcís Carbonell (flutist/piccolo, 74, mentioned at the beginning of this text), Josep Nori (clarinetist, 56) or Cassià Carles (oboist, 35). Thanks to Pepe Reche's research in his thesis and to various articles, we can assume that the four horn players were Bonell (50), Jeroni Méndez (17), Rafel Lleyda and Ramon Nolla; all four appear as OPC horn players in the Anuario. The last two, contrasting the photograph of Ysaÿe and that of El Masnou, it seems likely that they could be numbers 40 and 28, respectively. As for the trombonists, on the paper with the identifications of the Todocolección website, Gavín and Vidal points to numbers 18 and 19, which would agree with the Anuario if it is a first and third trombone respectively, speaking of Valentí Gavín and Pau Vidal. It may seems that the person who identifies them could be Domènec Pastor due to the fact that many of the musicians he names were also members of the Banda Municipal, and in fact, in the same row he identifies two other musicians, trumpet players: Josep Sanjuán, that it would be the 20th, and Miguel Bellera, that it would be the 21st. We would still add more: we suspect that we can trust ourselves with the winds, while with the strings we have more doubts. Curiously, Sanjuán and Bellera appear as first and third trumpet in the 1930 Anuario; Llorenç Domingo appears as the second, and we are quite clear that the second trumpeter in Ysaÿe's photo is number 15, but we do not know for sure that it is Domingo.

Llista de músics de vent a l'Anuario de 1930
List of wind playersin Anuario, 1930

Secció de músics de vent de l'OPC
Wind players from OPC

Before we go to the percussionists, let's go to the first violins. The concertmaster, identified at the beginning of everything (like Pau Casals, Vicenç Company or Cèsar Fernández) is Enric Casals. Who we see as a companion of the first violin in Ysaÿe (and we find him in various photographs) is Ferdinand Guerin, who in El Masnou is no. 59. Right next to him, both in El Masnou and Ysayë, is the musician number 60, who is most likely Agustí Torelló (they identify him in the photo on the Todocolección website, we know he was about 60 years old, in the Anuario of 1930 also appears as third violin first, and in Garreta we believe that his initials appear, "AT". It is possible that the fourth in Ysaÿe is Josep Maria Escolà (it is the fourth name in the Anuario), but we do not think he is in El Masnou; on the other hand, also in the Anuario, the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth violins are Domènec Forns, Joaquim Mestres, Joan Altimira and Rafael Vidal. We identify Forns, both in the photograph on the Toldrà website and from the Diccionario ilustrado by Pahissa et al., com number 36 in El Masnou. Mestres, less clearly, is quite similar to number 66. Altimira is also recognized in Ysaÿe, and very vaguely in the photo on the Toldrà website, he was already identified in part by family members, with the number 10; also in the photo on the Todocolecció website, along with no. 78, under whom "Vidal" points, perhaps giving weight to being Rafael Vidal. Also there, at no. 76 "Font" is written down, we see it in Ysaÿe and it therefore seemed like one of the first violins in the third row (although there was a Josep Font and Joan Font, and we understand that Josep was a violist, in addition Joan Font appears in the Anuario; We do not know if Josep could have changed his instrument, or if this would be Joan). In Ysaÿe, next to Font appears the no. 75, followed perhaps by Joan Torrens i Maymir (identified by relatives as number 16, although as a cellist, and in El Masnou we already have 10 cellists, so we think that perhaps he was also a violinist for the OPC). We do not have a name for the player to the left of him, nor for the violinists in the background (although as we have already said we would bet that one of them is Lleonard Aroles). In any case, we believe that it is clear that they are numbers 58, 3, 26 and 2.

Violins primers de l'OPC al Palau de la Música
Violin player from OPC at Palau de la Música

As for the percussionists, it seems clear that there is Eliseu Martí at the timbales (identified in El Masnou by relatives as number 14, and slightly recognizable in Ysaÿe's photograph); to the hype, the silhouette of the person in Ysaÿe's photograph seems to correspond to number 69. Between the two possible percussionists, Dalmau Nogués and Andreu Olivé, the doubt is confirmed based on the dates of birth and death of the two: Nogués, born in 1877, was 49 years old in El Masnou, and Olivé died in 1938 a He was 78 years old, that is, he was 67 in El Masnou. We therefore bet that the bass drum is Andreu Olivé (no. 69).

Percussionistes de l'OPC
Percussionists from OPC

And what about the other possible percussionists?

In the weekly Acció published in Vilafranca del Penedès on June 4, 1927 (therefore 6 days after the concert in El Masnou), there were commentaries on the concert that would take place the following June 12 in this town. Not only was the repertoire of the programme that the Orquestra Pau Casals would perform, but they also reproduced a fragment of the printed programme notes providing information on the instrumental families that made up the orchestra, with a total of 87 teachers.

Acció, Vilafranca, juny de 1927
Acció, Vilafranca, june 1927

 

This allows us to raise some questions (we do not know if in the El Masnou concert programme, if it exists, something similar could have been identified).

The first: in El Masnou there could be a tuba, and there could be neither tenora nor English horn, nor harpist, nor any other percussionist apart from timpani and bass drum. We were already wondering at first if the repertoire could determine the formation that appeared in El Masnou, and since the repertoire does not differ too much (Symphony No. 6 instead of No. 5 by Beethoven, a piece for Mozart's string orchestra, instead of Weber's Der Freischütz overture, the rest identical) we believe that it would not be unreasonable to suggest that, except for the possible reduction in the number of some instrumental groups, the rest could remain the same. It is not clear, for example, that there were three oboes (unless the corn anglais played oboe), three bassoons and three clarinets, when in 1927 photographs we usually see only two of each.

Second: in El Masnou all the musicians who played in the concert might not appear. If we think of musicians seen so far that we are shocked not to find, especially the flutist who appears in various photographs from 1927 on stage (and perhaps also in the drawing that is preserved), Josep Vila. Since Esteve Gratacós does not appear in El Masnou either, or simply one of the two was not there (in the photo or at the concert), or there is someone else that we have not been able to recognize at the moment.

As the penultimate question, we have briefly cited sources and documents related to the Banda Municipal. As we said, we have extracted from the Almacellas monograph the list of musicians who were part of the Band in 1927; The 1930 Anuario also includes a list of the formation, as well as a photograph, the information of which belongs to 1929 (we also have that of 1927, in the Viquipèdia). We also said that it helps us because many of the musicians in turn played in the band and in the Orquestra Pau Casals (we are talking about wind and double bass players); these musicians do not always play the same instrument in the OPC as in the Band (and we only talk about winds, percussion or double bass).

Banda Municipal de Barcelona, 1927, via Wikimedia Commons
Banda Municipal de Barcelona, 1927, via Wikimedia Commons

In identifying which musicians have these photographs of the band helped us with information not found elsewhere before? Above all, they allow us to fully confirm that Sanjuán and Bellera (trumpeters in the OPC), Pau Vidal (trombonist in the OPC), Lluís Oliva Roca (clarinet or bass clarinet in the OPC); who is to his left we believe may be Josep González, who in the same 1927 would become solo clarinet at the OPC. Disturbingly, we do not know how to recognize Valentí Gavín. Rafael González, one of the two possible tubas of the OPC, should also appear as trombonist, but it is not clear to us that none of the band's trombonists resembles anyone in the photo of El Masnou.

Músics que tocaven tant amb la Banda Municipal com amb l'OPC
Musicians who played with both the Municipal Band and the OPC

 

The same previous enigma with the Rafael González tuba leads us to another meditation: in some moments we looked, but without conviction, that perhaps it was not no. 53 (we had also said that he could look like the tenth violist in Ysaÿe's photograph, and that perhaps such a violist was Debesa, but this is not clear either). But if the tuba in El Masnou appears and it was not González, and assuming that there was not someone else that we do not have in the initial list of "Qui és qui" (Who’s who?), the only tuba that could be there would be Ramon Milà. Milà we know that he died (because he is one of those mentioned by Joaquim Pena in the 1930 speech), but for now we do not know his second surname and we have three Ramon Milà who died between 1927 and 1929 (63, 45 and 54 anys). Whoever it is, he could appear in El Masnou. The only ones that may be this age, but of whom we still don't have clues, are numbers 1 and 73. 73 has had various proposals for identification, but for now we do not know who it is. He could be Josep Ros, the second oboist, from whom we do not have any visual news, although it is difficult to confirm it from the images of the supposed second oboe of the orchestra. A final question arises: is it possible that this supposed second oboist and possible name for number 73 was a cor anglais, maybe Giordano Giordani, the other possible English horn apart from Vicenç Montoliu? We know that he died in 1927, but unfortunately we have not obtained the death certificate, which would confirm day and month and at least ensure whether or not this is a possibility.

We also have a small enigma with the number 12: in the photographs of the OPC we see a musician in the line of clarinet players wearing dark glasses. In El Masnou there also seems to be one, but looking at them carefully (and given the low quality of the image) we don’t think  that they are the same person: the one in the photos of the OPC seems to be older and have less hair. In this sense, we would think that perhaps it is Enric Galcerán, who appears in the Anuario and was then 47-48 years old. As for the number 12, we insist, we do not see them clearly, among other reasons because in less than a month he had grown a big mustache. We also theorize about the possibility of being Vicenç Montoliu Melià (Tete Montoliu's father), cor anglais, but we have a photograph published in 1935, in Jazz magazine (eight years after El Masnou, so we don't know the date of the photograph) that does not help much to clarify it.

Vicent Montoliu
Vicenç Montoliu

 

Misteri músic núm. 53
Mysteries player number 53

Misteri músic núm. 12
Mysteries player number 12

Misteri músic núm. 73
Mysteries player number 73

And we have a last case of "mission impossible", if we think of number 43. According to who identifies them in Todocolección, it could be Josep Trotta, something that does not fit with having identified all the cellists. At the bottom of everything in Ysaÿe's photograph, there is a figure that might remind us of him, but it is insufficient to draw any conclusions

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Mysteries player number 43

With all this exposed, and refraining from commenting on other inquiries made, the following result remains from the #quiésqui of the Orchestra Pau Casals.

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