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 35 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Menuhin Century: Live Performances & Festival Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555053 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms,  Niccolň Paganini,  Pablo de Sarasate  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Eugene Istomin,  Pablo Casals,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski  ... 
    Conductor:  Georg Schnéevoigt,  Gary Bertini,  Edmond de Stoutz,  István Kertész  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Friends of Music Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Zurich Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $26.99
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  • 2.
    The Menuhin Century: Luxury Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555050 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 91
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Hubert Giesen,  Artur Balsam,  Marcel Gazelle  ... 
    Conductor:  Landon Ronald,  Pierre Monteux,  Jean Fournet,  Anatole Fistoulari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Symphonic Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $250.99
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  • 3.
    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
    CD: $19.99
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  • 4.
    Label: Urania Records   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
    On sale! $15.98
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  • 5.
    Elgar: Complete EMI Recordings / Sir Adrian Boult
    Label: Warner 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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    CD: $72.99
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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  ... 
    On sale! $19.98
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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
    On sale! $119.98
    CD: $115.99
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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
    On sale! $23.98
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  • 9.
    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  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 10.
    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
    On sale! $35.98
    CD: $22.99
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  • 11.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Pablo Casals
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 85290 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pablo Casals
    CD: $24.99
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  • 12.
    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,  Pablo Casals,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Shura Cherkassky
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Leopold Ludwig,  Richard Kraus
    CD: $12.99
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  • 13.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $88.99
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  • 14.
    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  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 15.
    Brahms: Violin Concerto, Piano Trio No 2 / Joseph Szigeti
    Label: Cbs Masterworks Portrait   Catalog: 52535 Release Date: 10/22/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Joseph Szigeti,  Myra Hess,  Pablo Casals
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    The Essential Isaac Stern
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 728187 Release Date: 04/29/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Max Bruch  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Paul Tortelier,  Alexander Schneider  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,  Franz Liszt Academy Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $15.99
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  • 18.
    Piano Trios / Alfred Cortot, Jacques Thibaud, Pablo Casals
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 64057 Release Date: 12/26/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Jacques Thibaud,  Pablo Casals,  Alfred Cortot
    Conductor:  Alfred Cortot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pablo Casals Orchestra
    On sale! $33.98
    ArkivCD $29.99
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  • 19.
    Casals Festivals At Prades - 1953-62
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1187 Release Date: 09/05/2006   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Christian Ferras  ... 
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prades Festival Orchestra,  London Collegium Musicum,  Sándor Végh Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $118.99
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  • 20.
    Restored Masterworks - Pablo Casals 1953/1956
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 929 Release Date: 04/25/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Rudolf Serkin,  Szymon Goldberg,  Sandor Végh  ... 
    On sale! $22.98
    CD: $19.99
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  • 21.
    Elgar: Cello And Violin Concertos / Casals, Sammons
    Label: Avid   Catalog: 587 Release Date: 06/04/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Albert Sammons
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Sir Henry Wood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  New Queen's Hall Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 22.
    Restored Masterworks - Bach, Beethoven / Casals, Et Al
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 917 Release Date: 04/27/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Paul Baumgartner,  Rudolf Serkin
    CD: $13.99
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  • 23.
    Bach: Cello Suites No 1-6 / Pablo Casals
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2041/42 Release Date: 10/28/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pablo Casals
    On sale! $23.98
    CD: $18.99
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  • 24.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Pablo Casals
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 62617 Release Date: 10/07/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pablo Casals
    CD: $24.99
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  • 25.
    Masters Of The Bow - Cello / Rostropovich, Casals, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000020902 Release Date: 05/13/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Olivier Messiaen,  Gabriel Fauré,  Scott Joplin,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice Gendron,  Jean Françaix,  Bruno Canino,  Lynn Harrell  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian,  Nicholas Cleobury,  Riccardo Chailly,  Willem van Otterloo  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Chamber Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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