Pablo Casals

Biography

Born: December 29, 1876; Vendrell, Catalonia   Died: October 22, 1973; San Juan, Puerto Rico  
As the first modern cello virtuoso, Pablo Casals created a new appreciation of the instrument and its repertory when the concert stage was still considered the exclusive playground of the piano and violin. Casals also devoted his formidable musical skills to composition and conducting, leaving many insightful readings of the standard orchestral repertory to posterity via recordings. He is remembered today as much for his pacifism and regard for Read more human life as for his musicianship (he once stated that "the life of a single child is worth more to me than all my music").

Casals came to his true instrument relatively late in life, having first developed some degree of skill on the piano, violin, and organ. Discovery of the cello at the age of 11 led to studies (from 1887 on) with J. Garcia at the Barcelona Municipal Music School. After a period of supporting himself playing in local cafés, Casals was granted a royal scholarship to the Madrid Conservatory in 1893, where he worked with Tomás Bretón, and later in Brussels in 1895.

After a brief tenure as a cellist at the Folies-Marigny music hall in Paris, Casals returned to teach and perform in Barcelona, and joined the first of a series of notable chamber ensembles with which he would be associated: a piano trio with Belgian violinist Crickboom and well known pianist and composer Enrique Granados. In 1919 Casals founded the Orquestra Pau Casals in Barcelona. Although the project was quite successful, the outbreak of civil war in 1936 forced its dissolution. Casals, who spoke out vehemently against the Franco regime, was forced to seek refuge in the Catalan village of Prades. Following the Second World War, saddened by the lack of any definitive action against the Franco regime by major world powers, Casals elected to cease performing as an act of protest.

Inspired by the Bach bicentenary celebrations of 1950 at the first annual Prades Festival, Casals came out of retirement to begin a new series of recordings and concerts. In 1956 he made a new home in Puerto Rico, where he founded the Puerto Rico Festival. Though nearing 85, he began a campaign for peace in 1962, traveling around the world to conduct performances of his oratorio El pessebre (The Manger). Casals continued to make occasional concert appearances until virtually the end of his life in 1973.

Casals' impact on cello playing in the twentieth century cannot be overestimated. His radical approach to bow and finger technique produced a mechanical prowess far beyond any other cellist of the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries. In addition, Casals was the first cellist to incorporate the kind of left-hand shifting techniques which had been employed for decades by violinists, thus allowing for far greater agility on the cello than had been previously thought possible. Always scornful of "flashy," superficial virtuosi, Casals strove tirelessly to develop and maintain the kind of intense musical concentration which he considered to be the true artist's responsibility.

Casals' virtues as a composer are less unimpeachable; very little of his music was published during his life. Works such as his Hymn to the United Nations (1971), on text by W.H. Auden, and, of course, El pessebre (composed 1943-1960) did receive numerous performances, but his works received little more than cursory notice by the musical establishment. However, the steadfast devotion which so defined his performing persona is evident in such works as the Revérie for cello and piano (1896), or the much later Sonata for violin and piano, which he worked on sporadically from about 1945 to 1972. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 62 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    100 Hits: Classical Greats
    Label: 100 Hits   Catalog: 1017490 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Myra Hess,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Myra Hess  ... 
    Conductor:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Members of the Vienna Octet (Members)
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  • 2.
    Label: Sepia Records   Catalog: 1234 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Morton Gould,  Recorded Sound,  Pablo Casals,  Spoken Word  ... 
    Performer:  Harald Tusberg,  Lasse Kolstad,  Kaare Terland,  Sven Libaek  ... 
    Conductor:  Jack Shaindlin
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  • 3.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 11929 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Eugene Istomin,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Pablo Casals,  Rudolf Serkin  ... 
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  • 4.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 11917 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Paul Baumgartner,  Rudolf Serkin
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  • 5.
    Elgar: Complete EMI Recordings / Sir Adrian Boult
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 35922 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 19
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Pablo Casals,  Paul Tortelier,  Ida Haendel  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Sir Philip Ledger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    The Sound of Pablo Casals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 780032 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Max Bruch,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Alfred Cortot,  Jacques Thibaud,  Otto Schulhof
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Landon Ronald,  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Alfred Cortot: Anniversary Edition
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 4907 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Cortot,  Pablo Casals,  Jacques Thibaud,  Charles Panzera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  International String Quartet
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  • 8.
    Beethoven, Schumann, Haydn: Piano Trio Recordings / Thibaud Casals Cortot Trio
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2100 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Jacques Thibaud,  Pablo Casals,  Alfred Cortot
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  • 9.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 1007777 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pablo Casals
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  • 10.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10131 Release Date: 05/25/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Dinu Lipatti,  Walter Gieseking  ... 
    Conductor:  Piero Coppola,  Leonard Bernstein,  Henry Adolph,  Josef Krips  ... 
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  • 11.
    Boult Conducts Elgar / London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 5010 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Alfredo Campoli,  Pablo Casals
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Pablo Casals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85290 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pablo Casals
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  • 13.
    Piano & Cello Masterpieces
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10105 Release Date: 11/19/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Pablo Casals,  Shura Cherkassky
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Leopold Ludwig,  Richard Kraus
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  • 14.
    Best Cello 50
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31659 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Mathias Georg Monn,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Paul Tortelier,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Lynn Harrell  ... 
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Christopher Warren-Green,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Iona Brown  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  London Chamber Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4; Cello Sonata No. 5 & 32 Variations In C Minor; Bach: Partita
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7936 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Julius Katchen,  Pablo Casals
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum
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  • 16.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Pablo Casals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65921 Release Date: 05/04/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pablo Casals
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  • 17.
    Best Cello 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64275 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Georg Matthias Monn,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Paul Tortelier,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Lynn Harrell  ... 
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Christopher Warren-Green,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Iona Brown  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Linde Consort,  Nash Ensemble,  Twelve Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic
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  • 18.
    Szymon Goldberg Centenary Edition Vol 1 - Non-commercial Recordings
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1223 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Claude Debussy,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Szymon Goldberg,  Artur Balsam,  Zara Nelsova,  Victor Babin  ... 
    Conductor:  Szymon Goldberg,  Gerhard Samuel,  Eduard Van Beinum,  Dimitri Mitropoulos  ... 
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  • 19.
    Pablo Casals - The Complete EMI Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94932 Release Date: 06/16/2009   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Manel Saderra,  Julio Garreta,  Enrique Casals,  Pablo Casals  ... 
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Otto Schulhof,  Blas Net,  Jacques Thibaud  ... 
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals,  Landon Ronald,  Alfred Cortot,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cobla "La Principal de Gerona",  London Symphony Orchestra,  Pablo Casals Orchestra  ... 
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  • 20.
    Schubert: Quintet In C;  Beethoven: Cello Sonata / Casals
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420077 Release Date: 01/30/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Sandor Végh,  Sandor Zöldy,  Georges Janzer  ... 
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  • 21.
    Concert At The White House
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 1013 Release Date: 11/19/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  François Couperin,  Pablo Casals,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Alexander Schneider,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski
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  • 22.
    Brahms: Violin Concerto, Piano Trio No 2 / Joseph Szigeti
    Label: Cbs Masterworks Portrait   Catalog: 52535 Release Date: 10/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Joseph Szigeti,  Myra Hess,  Pablo Casals
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Icon - Alfred Cortot - The Master Pianist
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17304 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Cortot,  Jacques Thibaud,  Pablo Casals
    Conductor:  Alfred Cortot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pablo Casals Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: Piano Trios 5 & 7 / Engels, Végh, Casals
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420855 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Sandor Végh,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Karl Engel
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  • 25.
    The Essential Isaac Stern
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 728187 Release Date: 04/29/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Edouard Lalo,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Rose,  Eugene Istomin,  Robert McDonald  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Milton Katims,  Frank Brieff,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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