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Joan Manén (1883-1971), composer

Manén become known as a concert player at the age of seven. He was a child prodigy and one of the most important virtuosos of the century and of all time. Manén left us with an extensive body of compositions, strongly marked by the grandiloquence of Wagner, He composed operas such as Giovanni di Napoli (1902), Neró i Acté (1928), Heros and Soledad. Orchestral works such as Juventus, a symphonic poem Nova Catalonia, two symphonies and more. He also did numerous transcriptions of works by Bach, Schumann, Chopin, Tartini and, above all, Paganini. There are beautiful pieces such as the sardanes El cavaller enamorat and Camprodon. He showed his versatile side by writing his autobiography Mis Experiencias (1944-57) and a curious but practical tract, El violín (1958).

Belvedere (1949) is a hitherto unpublished work. It is divided into four movements, each one with a descriptive name: En un prado cimero, Garbo, Ante la tumba de nuestra inolvidable Memé and Danza popular que no lo es. The latter, I don't know if purposely, reminds me of the humorous titles that François Couperin gave to some of the movements in his works. We should note the influence of popular music in the quicker movements of Garbo, and Danza popular que no lo es., corresponding to allegro vivo and allegro campestre. The first movement is interesting for the impressionistic character resulting from a slight tonal ambiguity. The third is harmonically rich and contains moments of real happiness.