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Manuel Palau Boix

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Manuel Palau Boix

Biography

Manuel Palau Boix (4 January 1893, Alfara del Patriarca, Spain – 18 February 1967, Valencia, Spain) was a Spanish composer and music educator.

Palau started his musical education at the Conservatory of Music in Valencia. He studied composition with Charles Koechlin and Ravel and many of his compositions are influenced by impressionism.

Palau lived some of the sweetest and most bitter moments of art in Spain. He had the good fortune to be a contemporary of a large number of artists (painters, poets, musicians) and scientists who had achieved international significance. However, he also had the misfortune of living through the horrendous events of the military insurrection against the legitimate government of the country and suffered the post-war horrors that severely impeded artistic production. But the Valencian musician composed until the end of his days, motivated by the satisfaction that his own creative activity gave him.

His music is known within the Spanish classical music for being a representative of what it has been called “Mediterranean” style, like other Spanish musicians such as Vicente Asencio or Oscar Esplá. Palau looked into the French musical mirror, where he found some of his more important musical influences. Manuel Palau looked for the Valencian’s colour. At a time in which Andalusian regionalism was dominant, the maestro sought inspiration in his own cultural roots. One of the elements that marked his music in a definite way was to be Valencian folklore. Originally from a small village in the Valencian countryside, he heard the music sung at parties, weddings, etc., and that was to become his constant inspiration. Sometimes he recreated a given popular theme; other times he invented melodies himself in the style of folk music, giving his compositions a peculiarity that differentiates his music from other Spanish music of the time.

He wrote a large number of symphonic, band (wind orchestra), choral and chamber works and was one of the most popular and important composers of his time. Despite his prolific musical production, Manuel Palau is relatively unknown in the music world. He left a very interesting collection of music, including more than hundred lieder, one guitar concerto (Concert of Valencia or Concierto Levantino), two piano concerti, three symphonies, choral music, ballet, the opera Maror.

In 1927 and 1945 he won the Premio Nacional de Música (Spanish National Music Award).

Palau was a teacher in the Conservatory of Valencia and became principal in 1951. Among his students there are international musicians such the conductor Manuel Galduf, the professor Salvador Seguí.

The cities of Valencia, Alfara del Patriarca, Llíria, Alaquàs and Xirivella named streets after him, and there is a Spanish choir called Manuel Palau in his honor.


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