On 23 April at the Gran Teatro del Liceu Alain Planès gave the world premiere of Francisco Coll’s Ball de Carn for piano. The 2-minute work was commissioned by Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera to be performed at a concert for the Barceló in La Pedrera Ceramics exhibition, running till 30 June 2024.

Based on the eponymous painting by Miquel Barceló - ‘Dance of the Flesh’ - Coll translates the textures and bold gestures of the painting into an emotionally-resonant and undulating music. The accompanying figures at times evoke a dance band – familiar yet distorted – punctuated with staccato chords and deep bass notes in the left hand. A melody dances alongside, by turns violently expressive as well as enigmatic and seductive.

It is the second work in a series of nine piano pieces Coll is writing as homages to Spanish painters. The first, Madre, premiered in May 2023, and was written for the for the Iturbi International Piano Festival by Diputació de València. The 7-minute piece takes its title from a painting by Joaquín Sorolla; Coll discusses the piece in an interview here.

Coll’s music, though drawing on sources as diverse as the philosophy of Zygmunt Bauman and the poetry of Federico García Lorca, has a special affinity for painting. Coll, an artist himself who grew up surrounded by paintings, has commented that he conceives musical ideas in tandem with visual and gestural ones as he composes.  

His award-winning double concerto for Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Sol Gabetta Les Plaisirs Illuminés is named for a painting by Dalí; Coll alludes to another European surrealist in the Magritte-inspired Ceci n'est pas un Concerto for soprano and ensemble.