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Meanwhile, at five, he had begun to study the violin with Vicente Negrevernis. In his father succeeded in convincing Clemente Ibarguren -formed in Paris- to give violin lessons to his son. A press excerpt shows his success: "Indeed, it does not cease to be surprising in its own years, to see the ease and the ingenuity with which he manages the bow, the tuning and clarity of the sound and the perfection of his articulation, conditions are well directed, over time they will make the artist-child, what the French call a virtuoso " Mercantil 7-VII, Teatro Pizarro.
The first intents were an absolute failure, but after a while and in an intuitive way, he began to be aware of his talent as a composer. Looking at the history of music, it is difficult to find in the world of composition such an extraordinary case of self-learning.
It must be remembered that his father, the only teacher of his son, was an amateur musician with few musical studies that only played the piano very discreetly. Several teachers offered to give classes of harmony and composition but the father used to say: "He will only learn it from the much music he reads. The instinct when possessed is the best teacher.
He himself tells us that his father gave him many symphonic works and operas so he read them in the piano. In spite of the difficulty they were having, the child came out pretty shamelessly. He then spent time in Germany, where he acquired an admiration for Wagner and Richard Strauss , which can be observed in his orchestral writing. He composed prolifically in many genres, but later destroyed, disowned or radically revised everything he had composed before His music is tonal in idiom and predominantly lyrical, and there are often thematic connections between movements.
His writings include many articles in Spanish and French periodicals and a treatise on the violin. In he became a member of the Spanish Academy of Arts; among many other awards and honours, there has been a plan to name a new concert hall in Barcelona after him. His strong and demanding character and his indolent attitude towards the Franco regime made him, at the same time, loved and hated by the society of the moment; The impositions of the dictatorship prompted him to replace Catalan for a lifetime by the Spanish and to timidly approach the Franco regime in order to maintain his artistic activity throughout the country.
In this way, the child prodigy could show off in front of the audience also on the side of composer. Among other works he wrote a small piece titled "Romancita", probably his first work and one of the first to be published. It is for this reason, as we will see later, that the re-elaboration of his works was a constant tonic throughout the first two decades of the 20th century.
His fascination with Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Wagner and later Richard Strauss made him take pleasure in the great forms and from the beginning of the twentieth century he began to tackle works with a Germanic language of poematic and descriptive style very close to what parallel Richard Strauss was cultivating. It is precisely in a concert realized in Cologne on January 4, that Strauss himself accompanied him to the piano in several of his works.
Just after the premiere he declared himself in the Catalan Musical Magazine: "I do not think that in the first performance the audience can follow me in everything I want to express in the score, but I trust that in successive auditions I will allow I get to him, especially his feeling, from which I think that the technique should not be but a transmission vehicle and, the more refined and perfect, the more powerful it will reach the feeling of the audience.
In these first symphonic works we find a clear example of the style and the characteristics that will define the whole of his orchestral work. These are works that combine a highly skilled orchestration and a highly elaborate thematic elaboration, as a result of an assimilation of the Germanic repertoire, with the intuition and spontaneity of an extroverted musician and in many moments of eminently Mediterranean inspiration.
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