A programme dedicated to music appreciation. A programme about the art of listening. The programme of those of us who live music as a real need. Beyond entertainment... 


Good morning, good afternoon, good evening.

Welcome to this programme in which, based on records that have accompanied significant moments in my life, I share with you much more than just music.

Each programme revolves around a reference record. A cover and a record are the excuse to experience together learning and discoveries around the art of listening. And beyond that, why not, the art of living.

1 - Music: The rapids

We were listening to the beginning of the album Oregon, by the group Oregon. In fact, it is an album without a title.

From my point of view, the album has a bizarre cover, doesn't it? I don't know what you think of it, but I think it's really ugly. And, in my opinion, it doesn't reflect at all the extraordinary music it contains.

The back cover of the album will be a reference for everything I'm about to tell you. Have a look at it. I'll talk about it later.

2 - Music: Beacon

Oregon is an American band of contemporary jazz and what has come to be known as world music. It was formed in 1971 by Ralph Towner (classical guitar, twelve-string guitar, piano, synthesizer, trumpet, percussion), Paul McCandless (soprano sax, oboe, English horn), Glen Moore (double bass, violin, piano), and Collin Walcott (percussion, sitar, Indian tabla).

As you can see, all the musicians in the group are multi-instrumentalists and form a rather unusual mix of instruments. Moreover, they are all extraordinary improvisers. The result is a surprising and wonderful combination of sounds, styles and even cultures.

Music: Beside a brook

The album we will discuss was released in 1983, on the German label ECM, when the band had already been working for more than 10 years. Shortly after its recording, Collin Walcot died in a car accident while on tour in East Germany. The band disbanded, but a year later reunited again with musician Trilok Gurtu. With minor line-up changes, the band is still active today, although the historical members of the group are now quite old.

Music: Beside a brook

3 - When I was a teenager, record shops were fascinating spaces, open doors into the world, into reality beyond our limits and into fantasy.

Some shops allowed you to listen to the records before you bought them, but this was not often the case with imported records. So we often bought the records that were not played on the radio just because of what their cover suggested. Sometimes you were right. Sometimes you didn't. But in any case, unboxing one of these records was always an adventure!

Music: Arianna

I bought this Oregon record because of the image on the back cover: a black and white photograph of the band playing on stage. The picture shows this exotic and surprising combination of instruments. The record, moreover, was in the jazz section? What would that sound like? The manager of the shop in Tallers Street in Barcelona, Discos Castelló, told me "These guys are very good". Another customer, who was there like me, was shuffling through the records, and he said "All the ECM records have interesting music".

And I bought the record and took it home.

Music: The Rapids

I discovered a universe of sound. Hours and hours listening and re-listening to the record with my eyes fixed on the photo... You must be aware that there was no youtube to watch. Nor the possibility of going from one music to another on a digital platform that makes suggestions. Nor low-cost airlines to travel.... The world was still immense! And I could see it all through a photograph and listening and re-listening to the same music a thousand times, the same music! Can you imagine the depth with which the ear penetrated each note?

Music: The rapids

And you know what? Let me tell you something beautiful. A few years ago I was able to make a dream come true: to reproduce that scene from the back cover of the Oregon album on stage with my own music.

Music: Summer Night

Indeed, what you hear is a quartet formed by double bass player Jordi Sánchez, percussionist Ernest Martínez, Almudena Jambrina on oboe and English horn and myself on guitar.

Music: Summer night

It won't be usual for me to play my own music in this programme, but let me end today, exceptionally, with a piece I played with this quartet. It is a composition of my own called Oracle.

Music: Oracle

4 - Dear friends. We'll leave it here today.

We'll continue to share music and fragments of life in the next programme.

Until then, a kiss, a hug.


Good morning, good afternoon, good evening.

Welcome to this programme in which, based on records that have accompanied significant moments in my life, I share with you much more than just music.

Each programme revolves around a reference record. A cover and a record are the excuse to experience together learning and discoveries around the art of listening. And beyond that, why not, the art of living.

1 - Music: Squonk

In the summer of 1976, my parents sent me to Ireland to learn English with an Irish family in a small village near Dublin. I took my first plane and went abroad for the first time.

One of the most vivid memories of that trip, an imprint that has stayed with me forever and often comes back to me, are the smells of Ireland. The sea, the ever-damp earth and the pastures. In the city, the smell of the fast food outlets, which at that time were still rare in Spain. And among all those smells, the smell of the houses stands out. I don't know if the cause was the fact, surprising to me, that they were all carpeted (including bathrooms and kitchens). Or maybe it was caused by the building materials or the furniture or the poor ventilation... I don't know. But what is certain is that, even now, when an aroma evokes one of those smells, I am automatically transported.

One day, I was in the house where a friend was staying and I witnessed a scene that impressed me: the main room of the house was a carpeted space (like all the rooms in the house) presided over by two large speakers and a record player. At the back, a huge shelf full of records.

I found it a fascinating place. I didn't listen to music then, but I imagined what it would be like to enjoy such a personal auditorium. And for years I kept that image in my mind until finally, very recently, I was able to recreate something similar in my home.

Now, more than thirty years later, I have a space like that, dedicated exclusively to the listening. And I can assure you that I rarely perceive myself as elevated and ennobled as when I sit down there to listen to music.

Music: Robbery, Assault and battery

We are listening to music from the album Seconds Out today, recorded live in Paris in 1977. It summarises the concert given by the group Genesis at the Palais des Sports in the French capital.

Genesis is an emblematic group of English progressive rock, although from the 1980s onwards they abandoned this style and took a turn towards pop music.

The first "classic" Genesis line-up consisted of Peter Gabriel (who sang in disguise, staging the content of the songs, and occasionally played the flute), Tony Banks (on keyboards), Mike Rutherford (on bass and rhythm guitar), Phil Collins (who played drums and did backing vocals on some songs) and Steve Hackett (on lead guitar).

Music: Dance on a volcano

In 1975, Peter Gabriel leaves the group, which is then reduced to a quartet. Phil Collins continues to play drums, but now also takes on the role of singer. The quartet had a short life, only two years, because in 1977, shortly after the recording of the album we are listening to today, guitarist Steve Hackett left the group. From then on, the other members continued as a trio, with the assistance of various session musicians who in some cases ended up almost forming a stable part of the band.

It is necessary to recognise the courage and authority shown by Phil Collins when he took the place of the charismatic, and apparently irreplaceable, Peter Gabriel at the helm of the group. It should also be said that it was precisely this period that was the most commercially successful, but for many fans, the turn towards pop music from the eighties onwards diminished the interest in their work.

Music: Cinema show

In Seconds Out we hear the quartet shortly before Steve Hacket left them. They play classics of their best progressive rock from the Peter Gabriel era such as Suppers Ready, The lamb lies down on Broadway or The musical Box together with compositions that already point towards the new style they would take in the following years.

Music: Firth of Fifth

2- On the shelf at home in Ireland, the cover of Genesis' Seconds Out not only particularly caught my eye but powerfully fired my imagination.

It is a photograph of a smoke-filled stage. Smoking like a steam engine. And in the midst of the smoke you see the musicians working under a row of white lights pointing downwards. It portrays a scene that conveys the same power as a factory engine in the middle of the industrial revolution.

If I had to choose a single album cover, it is still the most inspiring for me today.

I memorised the name of the band and the name of the record. That image made me imagine extraordinary music. And a few years later, listening to the record, I was able to confirm that it was indeed so.

3 - In 1981 I attended my first big concert. Standing on the circular arena of the Plaza de Toros Monumental in Barcelona full of people with two friends. It was a Genesis concert.

Music: Dance On En Volcano & Los Endos

Towards the end, during the opening bars of Dance On A Volcano & Los Endos, the stage filled with smoke and suddenly, at the top, a row of white lights came on, throwing beams of light onto the floor. I get excited now remembering how in front of us appeared the cover of Seconds Out made real!

Music: Dance On A Volcano & Los Endos

This experience didn't end here.

A few days later, excerpts of a clandestine recording of this concert were played on the Terrassa radio station Ràdio Club 25. And I, who always had the machinery at the ready, was able to record them on a cassette tape that I still have.

For those of you who don't know, back then we had devices called radio-cassettes that allowed us to record on magnetic tape what was played on the radio. But you had to do it "on the spot". You couldn't retrieve a programme that had already been broadcast, because there was no digital support, like podcasts, that allowed you to download files like we do on the internet. That's why we used to have a cassette tape always ready in the device for when we caught an interesting broadcast. In this case, they interviewed the pirate who had recorded the Genesis concert at the Monumental.

It's a very poor quality recording, probably made with a microphone hidden in the audience, but for me it's a document of a time when any small spark could generate a real fire of emotions.

I'll play you a little bit of it, and be aware, this is a real historical document!

Music: sound document

4 - Dear friends. We'll leave it here today.

We'll continue to share music and fragments of life in the next programme.

Until then, a kiss, a hug.


Good morning, good afternoon, good evening.

Welcome to this programme in which, based on records that have accompanied significant moments in my life, I share with you much more than just music.

Each programme revolves around a reference record. A cover and a record are the excuse to experience together learning and discoveries around the art of listening. And beyond that, why not, the art of living.


1 - On the cover of today's disc, the pianist Maurizio Pollini and the conductor Claudio Abbado in front of a music stand. They are apparently analysing the score of the music they are about to perform together: Béla Bartók's Piano Concertos 1 and 2 on a recording by the prestigious German label Deutsche Grammophon.


2 - Béla Bartók (or Bartók Béla... in Hungary the surname comes first, then the first name) is considered the most important Hungarian composer of the 20th century. He was born in 1881 and died in 1945 in the United States where he lived his last years fleeing Nazism.

He was a virtuoso pianist. He was considered one of the best Hungarian pianists, and it is explained that to attend his piano recitals it was necessary to buy a ticket weeks in advance.

He is also known for his research into folk music, for which he is considered one of the founders of ethnomusicology. Ethnomusicology is the branch of musicology devoted to the study of folk music and the music of non-Western cultures. Bartók's expeditions to record and transcribe the music and songs of peasants, mainly from the Transylvanian region, are spectacular.

Bartók, in a way, renounced a brilliant international projection as a pianist and, instead of touring Europe (also conditioned by the outbreak of World War I), he devoted himself to work as a piano teacher in Budapest, a job he held at the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest for thirty years. His stay in Hungary allowed him to collect more folk music. In Budapest he met Zoltán Kodály with whom he shared friendship, mutual respect, and that ethnomusicological interest which resulted in a huge task.

His contribution to teaching is also well known, both for the music he composed to teach piano to children and for his pedagogical philosophy.


Bartók's music ended up being an extraordinary synthesis of very diverse influences.

On the one hand, he makes an original assimilation of certain aspects of cultured European traditions (let's say, for example, Bach, Beethoven or Debussy) which he uses in an innovative way in his works and, on the other, those derived from Hungarian and Balkan folk music. All this, mixed with aspects he shared with contemporaries such as Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schönberg and Richard Strauss, led Bartók to incorporate rhythmic and melodic elements into his work that had hitherto been alien to Western classical music.

And the interesting thing is that he does not do so in a purely ornamental or exotic way, but integrates them into a personal language of his own that represents a true musical renewal.


3 - I heard Béla Bartók's music for the first time on the television in my aunt's flat in Barcelona. We were there on a visit and she had the television on without anyone paying attention.

Suddenly I was drawn to the sound and left the conversation or games with my sister and cousins (I don't remember exactly what we were doing) to listen.

The strong hands of a virtuoso pianist hammered the keys of a piano, grappling with a raging orchestra that sometimes accompanied him and sometimes seemed to go off on its own. Incomprehensible and surprising elements wove an evocative and suggestive musical discourse.

Although at the time I couldn't understand what was happening, sensations I had never experienced before were shaking me inside. My heart was racing. I held my breath without realising it.

My aunt had a record player, and at that time I was going crazy with some songs from her records that she let me listen to. There I discovered the music of The Who, T-Rex, The Beatles, James Brown... and, when no one was looking, I jumped up and down like an incontinent monkey. Well then. What was been played on TV that day excited me to the same degree, even though I couldn't sing the melodies, couldn't follow the rhythm... couldn't even move. That music was - how should I put it - ... it was "painfully" beautiful, stimulating and full.

I sat in front of the television until it was over. The credits read: Béla Bartók - Piano Concerto No 1


Years later, when I had my own record player, this was one of the first records I bought. That's how I came to know Concerto No. 2 (on the B side of the same record) and, later on, Concerto No. 3, The Wonderful Mandarin, the Concerto for Orchestra... Bartók's World entered my room and stayed in my life forever!


4 - Dear friends. We'll leave it here today.

We'll continue to share music brushstrokes and fragments of life in the next programme.

Until then, a kiss, a hug.


Good morning, good afternoon, good evening.

Welcome to this programme in which, based on records that have accompanied significant moments in my life, I share with you much more than just music.

Each programme revolves around a reference record. A cover and a record are the excuse to experience together learning and discoveries around the art of listening. And beyond that, why not, the art of living.

Music: Smoke on the water

1- Deep Purple is an English rock band, considered, along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, one of the pioneering groups of hard rock and heavy metal. Songs with epic choruses, built around powerful guitar riffs (usually with a lot of distortion) and a powerful sound, which also incorporated elements of classical music, blues, rock and, especially live, as in the album we are listening to today, long instrumental developments typical of progressive rock.

Music: Space trucking

The most successful of the band's many line-ups is the one we find on this Made in Japan live recording from the summer of 1972. Ian Gillan's voice, Ritchie Blackmore's guitar, Jon Lord's organ, Roger Glover's electric bass and Ian Paice's drums.

Although they had previously broadcast some of their performances on the radio, they were not very interested in releasing live albums, mainly because they used to improvise a lot in their concerts and the result, always spectacular on stage, could be quite irregular on a strictly musical respect.

Music: Space trucking

2 - By the time they decided to tour Japan for the first time in 1972, Deep Purple had already achieved considerable notoriety in Japan. Audiences sold out the three scheduled concerts almost immediately, prompting the Japanese division of their record label Warner to consider recording the concerts and making a live album to be released only in Japan.

They did not expect the magnificent reception it received when it was released in the UK in December of the same year, and in April 1973 in the US as well. So much so, that it ended up being one of their greatest commercial successes.

Music: Strange kind of woman

3 - I was around 14 years old when my classmate Juan Carlos Farrés was given a record player. For me that was a luxury, but his family had a shoe shop.

He told me about Deep Purple and convinced me to buy Made in Japan even though I had nowhere to listen to it.

Music: Child in Time

For me, the world of music, records, bands, concerts... fascinated me. Although, in reality, it was a world built from little information and very little audiovisual material. A comment, an image... anything helped to grow the myths with a lot of fantasy.

We lived in Sant Boi de Llobregat, near Bacelona, and often visited the Discos Valls shop window. Everything we couldn't find out elsewhere we got directly from the imaginative contemplation of the record covers. Farrés seduced me by inviting me to go to his house, whenever I wanted, to play Made in Japan on his turntable. My curiosity made me think that was a good offer: after all, one day I would have my own device!

Music: Lazy

With the newly purchased record under my arm, I went into the back room, where they had installed a three-light psychedelic to set the mood. A psychedelic was a small bar of lights that reacted to sound stimuli by turning on when music (or any noise) was played with greater or lesser intensity. It was a fabulous invention: it could turn any space into a real discotheque!

There they had the brand new gadget: the jewel they had just acquired. (A delicate jewel: it had to be treated with caution: the needle was very fragile. It could break or easily scratch the record... The arm - the lever that held the stylus - weighed so little that it was difficult to handle it without shaking).

Made in Japan was a double LP. LP stands for "long play": big records that were around 40 minutes long. Well, there were two of them, with selected tracks from Deep Purple's three performances in Japan, covering almost the length of an entire concert.

My companion placed disc 1 on the "plate" (the record player ), turned off the lights and the first sounds emerged from the silence, slightly exciting the psychedelic.

I had them in front of me: the organ timidly hinting at some melodies, the drums coming in like an energetic train locomotive, the audience welcoming the musicians with enthusiasm, a few words, a scream, bass, guitar and the explosive start of Highway Star.

Music: Highway Star

I started jumping and moving compulsively without control, I couldn't do anything else!

The gloom created by the psychedelic provided me with the minimal sense of intimacy I needed to overcome the shame I had at the time.

My friend Juan Carlos thought I had gone mad. I didn't know myself. I didn't know myself... or rather I had just met me!

Music: Smoke on the water (ending)

4 - Dear friends. We'll leave it here today.

We'll continue to share music and fragments of life in the next programme.

Until then, a kiss, a hug.


Good morning, good afternoon, good evening.

Welcome to this programme in which, based on records that have accompanied significant moments in my life, I share with you much more than just music.

Each programme revolves around a reference record. A cover and a record are the excuse to experience together learning and discoveries around the art of listening. And beyond that, why not, the art of living.


1 - Today, another Deutsche Grammophon cover: Stravinsky's Rite of Spring conducted by Herbert von Karajan. In this case, the photograph of an immense blue sky, occupying almost all the space, turning reddish at the bottom, where the sun rises or sets (it's not clear to me whether it's a sunrise or a sunset) in a very well achieved backlight.

Despite the characteristic yellow rectangle framing the title that identifies this label's records, this cover is reminiscent of the austere covers, also characteristic of ECM records.

It is surprising how the graphics that surround a work of art can even end up being part of it. In front of this image, without listening to anything, we already have the impression of being in front of a non-classical music album, although taking the term "classical" as a generic reference, we can include it in this package.

In this sense, I think this is an exquisite cover, which turns the album itself into a work of art.


2 - The Russian composer Igor Stravinsky is best known for three works from the early period of his artistic career. The ballets The Firebird (from 1910), Petruixka (from 1911) and The Rite of Spring, the one we hear today (from 1913). This period in Stravinsky's life is known as the 'Russian period'. Subsequently, Stravinsky became a naturalised French citizen and later an American citizen. He died in New York in 1971, where he had been living since 1940, fleeing the Second World War.

Stravinsky was a cosmopolitan character. After this "Russian period" I have mentioned, he composed very different music in a variety of styles and genres: from opera to jazz, passing through various stages, including a fifteen-year period devoted to dodecaphonic music. He was also renowned as a pianist, conductor and writer. He is considered one of the most innovative and influential composers of 20th century music.


The premiere of The Rite of Spring in Paris in 1913 was a scandalous event that led to fights and riots. It's hard for me to imagine: how can music (without words) provoke clashes like those that took place during and after its first performance? It seems insane to me. But at the same time, it fascinates me to imagine the passion with which the protagonists of those events must have experienced the music. I don't see myself punching (or even booing) anyone to claim a music, do I?, but I feel related with that passion. And I often miss it around me.

The Ballets Russes staged this first performance. Both the score and the choreography provoked a real shock in the audience, surely accustomed to the conventions of classical ballet. The work does not really leave one indifferent (I would say that the sensitive contemplation of any great work cannot leave one indifferent), but what happened was extraordinary.

It turns out that the complexity of the music and the violent dance steps began to provoke whistles of disapproval from one section of the audience, which were echoed by favourable shouts from another. The story goes that the situation reached a point where the dancers could not hear the music and the choreographer, Vatslav Nijinski, was shouting instructions to them backstage. Noisy arguments between those in favour and those opposed to the work added to the tension. It seems that Serguei Diaghilev, the businessman who ran the Ballets Russes (the founder of the Ballets Russes), started turning the lights on and off in the hall, supposedly to try to calm things down. Can you imagine the chaotic situation? The dancers trying to follow the music, the choreographer shouting, the audience on the verge of coming to blows, the lights going on and off? It's madness! And the switching on and off of the lights... I don't know if it was intended to calm the mood or to excite the audience even more (it seems that afterwards the businessman was satisfied with the importance that the events gave to the premiere). The fact is that these discussions were followed by shouting and fights in the corridors, which finally led to a riot. So much so that the police had to take action, although they could not prevent the chaos from continuing for the rest of the performance. Stravinsky is said to have been so affected by the scandal that he left the theatre in tears.

The incident over, the Ballets Russes completed the six scheduled performances (evidently in an atmosphere of controversy), but without having to suffer further interruptions. The same dancers performed the work in London that year, and this remained an anecdote. The work (with several choreographies, because the original choreography was lost) is now a repertory piece for ballet companies all over the world.

3 - I don't remember how this record came to me. I imagine I must have bought it because at some point I associated the figure of Stravinsky with that of Bartok, of whom I have already spoken to you in another programme. What I do remember are the hours I spent lying in bed in my darkened room, listening to it from top to bottom, getting up only to turn it over. You will remember that vinyl records had two sides and you had to turn them so that the needle on the record player would read the corresponding side.


As a teenager I could spend long periods of time doing seemingly nothing without getting bored. My mind provided me, in the form of dreams, with enough material to enjoy myself to the fullest: I imagined worlds, ordered ideas, planned lives...

The Rite of Spring, exuberant and luminous, an inexhaustible source of images that manifest themselves in each new listening, was ideal nourishment in this state. For me it became addictive.

I ended up learning the work by heart. I could grasp it in its entirety and at the same time anticipate every passage and every minute detail during the listening.


Quite a few years later, shortly after its opening, they programmed The Rite of Spring at the Auditori de Barcelona. I love the Auditori de Barcelona. Its austere architecture, a balanced symbiosis of wood and concrete, transmits to me sobriety, warmth and strength. A perfect setting at the service of musical performance and listening.

The price of the tickets was excessive for me at that time and I ended up buying, for myself and my companion, Inés, two tickets on one side of the stage, almost behind the musicians.

The experience was overwhelming.


I suppose I was used to a "frontal" listening of the orchestra, with the strings in the foreground, the usual arrangement of the instruments. I imagine that this is the plan offered by a common recording and so I had memorised the work. But from where we were I could barely hear what I already knew, and suddenly the brass and percussion came to the fore, revealing a hidden world yet to be discovered.


The textures, colours and rhythm of the work are spectacular. The role of brass and percussion is particularly relevant. At that unexpected rediscovery of the work, my heart was beating fiercely. I must have rarely felt it beating with such intensity, violating the limits of my chest. I remember the moment when I suddenly took a dramatic, hurried breath after having been unconsciously holding my breath for I don't know how long. My eyes, moist. All muscles of my body, contracted.

Static in the armchair, I was immersed in a mixture of sublime pleasure and savage pain: an inevitable collapse in the face of the intangible, inexpressible in words... indescribable.

No less than that is what I have been looking for in artistic contemplation ever since.


4 - Dear friends. We'll leave it here today.

We'll continue to share music and fragments of life in the next programme.

Until then, a kiss, a hug.


To be continued . . .