125th anniversary of El Virolai
The Virolai is a hymn dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat, the first verse of which begins with the lines "Rosa d’abril, Morena de la serra, de Montserrat estel", and which is also known as the "Rosa d’abril".
The words of the Virolai were composed by Mgr Jacint Verdaguer and were published in the programme of an artistic and musical competition held to celebrate the Millennium of Montserrat, in 1880. In the same programme a prize of a gold enamelled flute was to be awarded for the best popular tune adapted to Verdaguer’s text.
On the 25 April of the same year Josep Rodoreda’s melody was declared the winner among over seventy compositions-.
- Mgr Jacint Verdaguer
Born in Folgueroles in 1845, son of modest farmers, he entered the seminary in Vic, in 1855 and in 1865 won his first prizes in the poetry festivals.
Ordained in 1870, he was sent to the rural parish of Vinyoles d’Orís, where he composed a number of poems in a popular tone and others more religious in nature, and where, above all, he worked on his piece "L’Atlàntida". For reasons of health, in 1874 he moved to Barcelona and joined the "Companyia Transatlàntica" as a chaplain, making the journey to America nine times and recovering completely.
The period between 1877 and 1893 was the most productive and brilliant in terms of literary creation. The following years were marked by a series of problems and misunderstandings with his patron, the marquis of Comillas and with the ecclesiastical authorities of Barcelona and Vic.
The years he spent in the sanctuary of la Gleva were for him an ascetic experience that he was to record in the desolate and dramatic verses of the "Flors del Calvari". The author of "Pàtria, Montserrat, Jovenívoles, Al cel, Eucaristia , ...", died in Vallvidrera, in 1902.
- Mestre Josep Rodoreda
Born in Barcelona in 1851. He started studying in the Choir school of "Nostra Senyora del Remei" in Barcelona with Nicolau Manent who taught him music theory, piano, harmony and composition.
From 1875 to 1883 he was teacher of musical theory and piano at the conservatory of the "Liceu". Master conductor of the Euterpe Choir from 1876 to 1886. In 1878 he was appointed a full member of the Royal Academy of Natural Science and Art in Barcelona. In 1886 he was appointed conductor to the recently formed Municipal Band and the Municipal School of Barcelona. In 1896 he moved to San Sebastian to head the Municipal band in that city. Around 1910 he moved to Buenos Aires to direct the music academy that had been founded by Joan Goula and dedicated himself to teaching until his death in 1922.
He was a very prolific composer, and wrote more than four hundred works of various types. His most famous is the Virolai to the Virgin of Montserrat.