In spite of the huge success in South America, Conxita decides to return to Catalonia in 1946, not in the least because she fears that her daughters will loose contact with their roots. She leaves behind a mourning public and critics who have praised and admired her during her stay.

When she has to say farewell to her teacher and regular accompanist on the piano Manuel de Falla, she passes through some difficult moments. His parting words are Goodbye, Conxita. Till we meet again. And if not, till eternity. Two days after Conxita’s sailing he dies.

 

In November 1947 in an altered Barcelona she finally sings in the Palau de la Música the song cycle La rosa als llavis (The rose on the lips) by Eduard Toldrà based on a poem of Joan Salvat-Papasseit, a work that had never been performed due to the outbreak of the Spanish civil war: the composer had not wanted to have it premiered without Conxita to whom the work is dedicated. The long and arduous applause shows that the Catalan public had not forgotten her.

caricatura-toldra
Caricature of Eduard Toldrà

The poem La rosa als llavis has been considered one of the finest erotic poems in the Catalan language, though its meaning clearly extends beyond the level of mere physical stimulation. On a personal level it is evocative of the pleasure, beauty and excitement of life, but there is also this general symbolic aspect of representing the continuation of the life-cycle.

This meaning was clearly understood by the Catalan public in the Palau de la Música and interpreted according to the circumstances. That is why the concert contributed to the revival of national (read: Catalan) feelings as well as the Catalan language after the repression of the Civil War.

For the score and the English translation of the poem, click here.

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