My favorite things Barcelona and Catalan

1. Cellist: Pao Casals; see my comments under Puerto Rico.

2. Artist: Joan Miró, who remains underrated.  Oddly many people do not see him as better than the guy who puts the squiggles on their design bags.  Almost everything he did — across media — was phenomenal in terms of composition and textures.  I am fond of Antoni Tapies, although his work does not reproduce well on-line.  Aristide Maillol, who was French Catalan, did paintings and sketches.  Dali is now so vilified by some intelligent people that he can rightly be considered underrated.

3. Novelist: Albert Sanchez Piñol's Cold Skin is a favorite of mine.  Quim Monzó is a fun writer, as is Carlos Ruis Zafón.

4. Architect: I have mixed feelings about Gaudi; it feels to me like he is trying too hard.  How about Lluís Domènech i Montaner?  Try this one too.

5. Composer: Isaac Albeniz, especially as played by Alicia de Larrocha.  There is also Federico Mompou.  I grew up playing the guitar music of Fernando Sor, though it is less fun to listen to.

6. Economist: Xavier Sala-i-Martin; his home page is full of interesting links.

7. Bandleader: Xavier Cugat.  Wong Kar-Wai likes him but mostly he is forgotten.  Here is a good video and you can hear his unusual Spanish accent as well.

8. Medieval theologian and memory expert: Ramon Llull.  I am a big fan of Llull, a cosmopolitan polymath and early advocate of animal welfare.  I wrote a part of my next book about him, although I ended up cutting it out of the final draft because it didn't quite fit.

9. Movie, set in: I've never seen Barcelona (is it good?), so I have to go with Vicky Cristina Barcelona.  There's probably a better movie set in Barcelona, but offhand I don't know it.

10. Chess openingDuh.

They have a bunch of opera singers too.

The bottom line: This is an impressive showing, yet what ties it all together remains elusive in my mind.  Perhaps that is what makes the region so interesting.


Comments for this post are closed