100 years ago, Wind Band Contest 1917
Tuesday 31 July and Wednesday 1 August
A hundred years ago, the Wind Band Contest of 1917 was held in the bullring on Calle Játiva and straddled July and August, taking place on 31 July and 1 August. A total of eight bands took part in the contest: three in Division Two and five in Division One. The Valencia Municipal Wind Band appeared as a guest band to close both days of the Contest.
As was customary, the Contest began at three o'clock in the afternoon with the participating bands marching through the streets of the city, converging on the bullring from various departure points as they played pasadobles and were followed by a large audience.
At half past four the jury was convened. Its members were Tomás Barrera Saavedra, a composer and Vice President of the SGAE, Juan Bautista Benlloch Mesrte, Music Major of the 44th San Marcial Regiment from the Burgos garrison, and Juan Cortés Cortés, a teacher at the Valencia Conservatory of Music.
After the parade through the streets of Valencia, the contest began in the bullring at half past four, with a great audience turnout despite it having rained that morning.
The three bands in Division Two performed their compulsory piece, "RAPSODIE SUR DES AIRS DU PAYS D'OC" by Paul Lacombe. Then the five bands in Division One each played their free choice piece. At seven thirty the first day of the contest was brought to a close with a performance by the 70 musicians of the Valencia Municipal Band conducted by Luis Ayllón Portillo.
The second day of the Contest began at half past four with the official parade of participating bands around the arena. This was followed by the bands in Division One performing their compulsory piece, "OBERTURA ROMA" by Jules Massenet. Then the bands in Division Two each played their free-choice piece. The contest was brought to a close by the Valencia Municipal Band conducted by Luis Ayllón Portillo. When the Band came to perform "La Vara de Alcalde" the baton was passed to the work's composer and jury member for this edition of the contest, Tomás Barrera Saavedra. The event ended at seven thirty. The jury went to the Pabellón Municipal to deliberate and the winners were announced at eleven thirty that night after a fierce rain storm.
The first-day pasadoble prize and 150 pesetas went to the Band of La Unión Musical de Sueca, which played the "Esglèsia, Arròs y Dolçaina" pasadoble by José Serrano Simeón, and the second-day prize went to the Lira Burrianense Band of Burriana, which played the pasadoble "Ridaura".
The prizes awarded in Division One were as follows: First Prize and 3,000 pesetas were awarded to the 53 musicians of the Band of the Centro Instructivo Unión Musical de Líria and their conductor, Eduardo Felip Suárez, who performed "King Lear Op. 4" by Héctor Berlioz. The First Accessit Prize and 2,000 pesetas went to the 45 musicians of the "Primitiva" Band of Líria and their conductor Emilio Seguí Ripoll, who performed the "Maila" overture by Albert Charles Roussel. The Second Accessit Prize and 1,000 pesetas was won by the 52 musicians of the Wind Band of the Centro Vallense de la Vall d'Uixó and their conductor, Joaquín Rambla Castelló, who performed the "Tannhäuser" overture by Richard Wagner. The Third Accessit Prize and 500 pesetas went to the 52 musicians of the Sociedad Instructiva Musical de Manises and their conductor, Enrique García Gozalvo, who performed "Der Freischütz Op. 77" by Carl María Von Weber. The bands which did not win a prize in Division One were: the Sociedad Musical "La Unión" de Sueca, with 50 musicians, who played "Norwegian Artists' Carnival, Op. 14" by Johan Severin Svendsen and were conducted by Vicente Navarro Meseguer.
The prizes in Division Two were as follows: First Prize and 2,000 pesetas were awarded to the 39 musicians of the "Corporación Musical" Band of Pobla de Vallbona and their conductor, Dionisio Pitarch Gomis, who performed the "Suite" overture by Ernest Guiraud. The First Accessit Prize and 1,000 pesetas went to the 40 musicians of the Tavernes de la Valldigna Municipal Band and their conductor, Fernando Tormo Ibáñez, who performed the "Silvana" overture by Carl María Von Weber. The Second Accessit Prize and 500 pesetas were won by the 40 musicians of "La Lira Burrianense" of Burriana and their conductor Juan Bonet Abellá, who performed the "Capricho Español" overture by Camilo Pérez Monllor.
Audience ticket fees for this edition of the contest were higher than they are today. Prices ranged from 60 cents for a "general admission" seat in the sun, to 14 pesetas for a private box which included six tickets for each performance. A "general admission" seat in the shade cost 1 peseta; a seat towards the front of the second and first highest tiers of seating and in rows behind the ringside seats cost 1.5 pesetas each; and ringside barrier seats and aisle seats cost 2 pesetas.
Alfredo Ruíz / Daniel Belloví