100 years ago, Wind Band Contest 1918
Thrusday 1 August and Friday 2 August
A hundred years ago, the Wind Band Contest of 1918 was held in the bullring on Calle Játiva during the first two days on August. A total of nine bands took part in the Contest: five in Division Two and four in Division One. The Valencia Municipal Wind Band and the choirs and coblas of Figueras appeared as guest ensembles to close both days of the Contest.
The Contest began early in the afternoon on 1 August with the customary procession of the participating bands towards the bullring to the sound of pasadobles and the applause of numerous spectators.
At five o'clock the jury was convened. Its members were Tomás Barrera Saavedra, a composer and Vice President of the SGAE, José Subirá Puig, a music critic from Barcelona, and Aurelio Gutiérrez Pascual, Conductor of the 22nd Gerona Regiment from the Zaragoza garrison. Once the jury had been convened, the parade inside the bullring began.
The five bands taking part in Division Two performed their compulsory piece, "EL DIABLO EN SEVILLA" by the Valencian composer José Melchor Gomis Colomer. Then the four bands in Division One each played their free-choice piece. The first day's competition was brought to a close with a performance by the 70 musicians of the Valencia Municipal Wind Band conducted by Luis Ayllón Portillo and a performance by the choirs and coblas from Figueras conducted by Enrique Sans and Jaime Turias.
Once the jury were seated, the second day of the Contest began at five o'clock with the parade of participating bands around the arena. This was followed by the bands from Division One performing their compulsory piece, "TRIANA" from the Suite Iberia by Isaac Albéniz, transcribed by Miguel Asensi. Then the bands in Division Two each played their free-choice piece. The contest was brought to a close by a performance by the choirs and coblas of Figueras and the Valencia Municipal Wind Band. The two guest groups first performed separately, then came together to form a choir of 137 voices performing the "Himno de Valencia" by José Serrano accompanied by the Valencia Municipal Wind Band. The Contest ended at around nine in the evening. The jury went to the City Hall to deliberate and at midnight the winners were announced in the Pabellón Municipal de la Feria, located in the Paseo de la Alameda.
The prizes awarded in Division One were as follows: First Prize and 3,000 pesetas were awarded to the 51 musicians of the "Primitiva" de Líria and their conductor, Emilio Seguí Ripoll, who performed the "Pallas" overture by Gabriel Parès. The First Accessit Prize and 2,000 pesetas went to the 61 musicians of the Band of the Centro Instructivo "Unión Musical" de Líria and their conductor, Eduardo Felip Suárez, who performed the "Oberon" overture by Carl María Von Weber. The Second Accessit Prize and 1,000 pesetas was won by the 51 musicians of the "Filarmónica Vallense" de La Vall d'Uixó and their conductor, Joaquín Rambla Castelló, who performed the Overture to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg by Richard Wagner. The Third Accessit Prize and 500 pesetas went to the 56 musicians of the "Centro Artístico Musical" de Moncada and their conductor, Joaquín Pérez Rodríguez, who performed Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C sharp minor by Franz Liszt.
The prizes in Division Two were as follows: First Prize and 2,000 pesetas were awarded to the 40 musicians of "La Lealtad" de Villamarchante and their conductor, Alberto Martín Manzano, who performed the "Cleopatra" overture by Luigi Mancinelli. The First Accessit Prize and 1,000 pesetas went to the 40 musicians of the "Victoria" de Alcudia de Carlet and their conductor, José García Pastor, who performed the "Sigurd" overture by Ernest Reyer. The Second Accessit Prize and 500 pesetas were won by the 40 musicians of the "Corporación Musical" de Pobla de Vallbona and their conductor, Dionisio Pitarch Gomis, who performed the "Cleopatra" overture by Luigi Mancinelli. The Third Accessit Prize and 250 pesetas went to the 38 musicians of "La Nueva" de Aldaya and their conductor, Rafael Soler, who performed "La Fiesta" overture by Franz Von Suppé. The 40 musicians of the "Unión Musical" de Bétera and their conductor José Fuentes Martínez did not win a prize. They performed "El Lago de las Hadas" overture by Daniel François Esprit Auber.
The first-day pasadoble prize and 150 pesetas went to the "Filarmónica Vallense" de La Vall d'Uixó, which played the "Crepúsculo Primaveral" by Miguel Gimeno Puchalt, and the second-day prize and 150 pesetas went to the "Victoria" Wind Band of Alcudia de Carlet, which performed the pasodoble "Pobre España" by José García Pastor, who conducted the band.
Audience ticket fees for this edition of the Contest were higher than they are today. Prices ranged from 1 peseta for a "general admission" seat in the sun, to 12 pesetas for a private box which included six tickets for each performance. A "general admission" ticket in the shade cost 1.5 pesetas; a seat towards the front of the second and first highest tiers of seating and in rows behind the ringside seats cost 2.5 pesetas; and seats in front of the boxes in the second tier of seating, ringside barrier seats and aisle seats cost 3 pesetas.
Alfredo Ruíz / Daniel Belloví