Spanish Cellist and Conductor
Pablo Casals, fully Pau Casals i Defilló
Spanish Cellist and Conductor
I was at Mount Tamalpais near San Francisco hiking when a boulder came hurling down the mountainside and smashed my left hand. When I looked at my mangled bloody fingers, I had a strange reaction. 'Thank God I will never have to play again,' I said. The fact is that dedication to one's art does involve a sort of enslavement.
The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border? There is a brotherhood among all men. This must be recognized if life is to remain. We must learn the love of man.
You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.
I'm beginning to notice some improvement.
The most important thing in music is what is not in the notes.
In music, in the sea, in a flower, in a leaf, in an act of kindness... I see what people call God in all these things.
These [Bach music for solo cello] suites had been deemed academic rubbish, mechanical studies without musical warmth ? can you imagine that? How could they be considered cold ? these works that positively radiate poetry, warmth and feeling of sound? They are the quintessence of Bach?s work as a composer ? and Bach is the quintessence of all music.
It takes courage for people to listen to their own goodness and act on it.
This is the greatest honor I have ever received in my life. Peace has always been my greatest concern. Yet in my childhood I learned to love it. My mother?an exceptional, brilliant woman ? used to speak to me about it when I was still a child, because in those years there were also a lot of wars. What is more, I am a Catalan. Today, a province of Spain. But what has been Catalonia? Catalonia has been the greatest nation in the world. I will tell you why. Catalonia has had the first parliament, much before England. Catalonia had the first United Nations. All the authorities of Catalonia in the Eleventh Century met in a city of France, at that time Catalonia, to speak about peace, at the Eleventh Century. Peace in the world and against, against, against war, the inhumanity of the wars. So I am so happy, so happy, to be with you today. That is why the United Nations, which works solely towards the peace ideal, is in my heart, because anything to do with peace goes straight to my heart.
Bach is the supreme genius of music... This man, who knows everything and feels everything, cannot write one note, however unimportant it may appear, which is anything but transcendent. He has reached the heart of every noble thought, and has done it in the most perfect way.
Love for one's country is great but why should that love stop at that border?
Throughout my career, nervousness and stage-fright have never left me before playing. And each of the thousands of concerts I have played at, I feel as bad as I did the very first time.
Do we dare to be ourselves? This is the question that counts - and not, Must a man be helpless? ... A man can do something for peace without having to jump into politics.
Martita is the marvel of my world, and each day I find some new wonder in her.
To "retire" means to me to begin to die. The man who works and is never bored is never old. Work and interest in worthwhile things are the best remedy for age. Each day I am reborn. Each day I must begin again.
Don?t be vain because you happen to have talent. You are not responsible for that; it was not of your doing. What you do with your talent is what matters.
Music must serve a purpose; it must be a part of something larger than itself, a part of humanity.
To retire is the beginning of death.
Each week I receive from Barcelona a package full of clippings from different magazines and newspapers.
Music, this marvelous universal language understood by everyone everywhere, ought to be a source of better communication among men.
To retire is to die.
For the past eighty years I have started each day in the same manner. It is not a mechanical routine but something essential to my daily life. I go to the piano, and I play two preludes and fugues of Bach. I cannot think of doing otherwise. It is a sort of benediction on the house. But that is not its only meaning for me. It is a rediscovery of the world of which I have the joy of being a part. It fills me with awareness of the wonder of life, with the feeling of the incredible marvel of being a human being. The music is never the same for me, never. Each day it is something new, fantastic and unbelievable. That is Bach, like nature, a miracle!
Of course, I continue to play and to practice. I think I would do so if I lived for another hundred years.
We are not free to walk on our neighbor's toes.
He also will perform the rarely encountered Song of the Birds... It's only about two minutes long, but it's very beautiful. Casals played it many times, but you don't hear it much anymore.