Now available from Pandora Arts

Joaquim Homs: Robert Gerhard & His Music

English edition by Meirion Bowen

(Anglo-Catalan Society, ISBN 0-9507137-9-1)

Born in Valls, Catalonia, Robert Gerhard (1896-1970) established himself in Barcelona the 1930s as a composer and figurehead for new artistic ideas. Exiled to the UK, with the outbreak of the Civil War, he re-built his career afresh and was soon widely esteemed as composer of great stature. Since the death of Franco, his music has also found its way back into the musical scene in Spain: the most notable instance of this was the co-production of his opera, The Duenna, by English and Spanish companies in 1992.

Joaquim Homs (b. 1906) the author of the first book to be written about Robert Gerhard's life and music, was his only regular composition student: he studied with him between 1930 and 1936 and retained contact with him later when Gerhard was living in the UK. His book offers a unique perspective on Gerhard's career and personality, is especially good on his context in Catalan culture, and provides an essential background to his music.

Meirion Bowen's new edition in English updates Homs' text in many respects and adds three important Appendices: an English version of the extended and revealing letter Gerhard wrote to Schoenberg in 1923, asking if he could study with him; a selection from Gerhard's Notes and Sketches, first published posthumously in Catalan in 1992 and here translated into English; and reminiscences and tributes by two of Gerhard's American composer-pupils, Jan Bach and Roger Reynolds. This book complements Bowen's recently published edition of Gerhard's writings on music (Ashgate, 2000).

Joaquim Homs & Gerhard in 1967.


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