Gerhard Illi

Concierto para una Catedral Inacabada

(Concert for an unfinished Cathedral )

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The building

The first thing that captivates the traveller’s attention when approaching Castaño del Robledo is a very strange building. At a first glance it appears to be a ruined cathedral, which is strange in a village with no more than 200 habitants. To make the mystery still bigger, it is the new church. The work begun 1788 and was abandoned, unfinished, 1794 because lack of founds, surely a product of the projects megalomania (Castaño had 870 habitants by then!). After its abandonment it was used as a cementery until 1952. From 1992 to 1994 the building was restored finishing the roof and crowning it with a cupola. Today it is used for cultural events like concerts and theatres.  



The concert

The “monumento” seduced me the first time I saw it. I was tempted by the idea of writing a piece inspired by his history, playing with its sound and arquitecture. After some months of musical preparation – it was necessary to search the sounds needed to reflect its history in the most “visual” way possible – the great moment had come. Thanks to the council on august 23rd 2006 it was possible to premiere “Concierto para una Catedral Inacabada” at the Monumento. In this piece my conception of integration and interaction of acoustical drumming and sounds proceeding from an electronic drum set and a sampler is showed to the public for the first time. All sounds are played live. The concert was recorded and is edited on CD.


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The movements

The concert consists of 11 movements which tell the story of the building from the construction up to today. They aren’t separated by pauses between them. The structure serves as a guide to the piece but doesn’t determine its interpretation. In every moment it lets full freedom to its execution. The movements are like recipes for the creation of sound ambience which induce the listener to imagine the story of such an emblematic building.


  1. La Catedral (The Cathedral)
  2. El Campo (The Countryside)
  3. La Obra (The Bulding Site)
  4. Al Abandono (The Abandonment)
  5. El Cementerio (The Cemetry)
  6. La Erosión (The Erosion)
  7. La Guerra Civil (The Civil War)
  8. Ese Extraño Edificio (This Strange Building)
  9. La Restauración (The Restauration)
  10. Una Realidad Cultural (A Cultural Reality)
  11. La Catedral (The Cathedral)

CD Cover inside