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 1-14 of 14 Available Recordings
  • 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.
    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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  • 3.
    Glenn Gould - The Complete Bach Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 196114 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 44
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Charles Libove,  Leonard Rose,  Jaime Laredo
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Vladimir Golschmann,  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Casals Edition - Mozart: Piano Concertos 27 & 14 / Horszowski
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 58984 Release Date: 01/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Eugene Istomin,  Jennie Tourel
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Perpignan Festival Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Marlboro Fest 40th Anniversary- Mozart: Serenades
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47295 Release Date: 12/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 4; Schubert: Symphony No 5 / Casals
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46246 Release Date: 05/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Marlboro Fest 40th Anniversary - Beethoven: Symphonies No 1, 6
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 45891 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Casals Edition - Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Symphony No 29
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66569 Release Date: 07/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Alexander Schneider,  Marcel Tabuteau
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Perpignan Festival Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Marlboro Fest 40th Anniversary- Brahms: Symphony No 2/Casals
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46247 Release Date: 07/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Marlboro Fest 40th Anniversary- Mozart: Symphonies 35,40,41
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47294 Release Date: 06/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Marlboro Fest 40th Anniversary- Schumann,Schubert: Symphonies
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47297 Release Date: 06/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Legendary Treasures - Brahms, Bloch, Tchaikovsky / Menuhin
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7844 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ernest Bloch
    Performer:  Leslie Parnas,  Yehudi Menuhin
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals,  Gervase de Peyer,  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pablo Casals Orchestra,  London Mozart Players,  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 14.
    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  ... 
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  • 15.
    Great Concertos - Great Artists Vol I - The Violin
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 219 Release Date: 03/22/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Bruch,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Aram Khachaturian,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein,  Ruggiero Ricci,  David Oistrakh,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Alexander Gauk,  William Steinberg  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New Symphony Orchestra,  USSR State Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 16.
    Clara Haskil In Performance - Mozart, Schumann
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1126 Release Date: 11/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Clara Haskil
    Conductor:  Carl Schuricht,  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Municipal Theater Orchestra,  Prades Festival Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Bach Festival, Prades 1950 / Casals, Szigeti, Wummer, Et Al
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 200 Release Date: 07/22/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  June Rotenberg,  Leopold Mannes,  Leopold Teraspulsky,  John Wummer  ... 
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prades Festival Orchestra
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  • 18.
    The Casals Festivals 1951 Vol 2 - Mozart, Beethoven / Casals
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 168 Release Date: 06/25/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin,  Pablo Casals,  William Primrose,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Perpignan Festival Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Glenn Gould At The Movies - Slaughterhouse Five, Etc
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66531 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Alexander Scriabin,  Jean Sibelius,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Charles Libove
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann,  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Casals Edition - Bach: The Three Gamba Sonatas, Brandenburg No 4
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66572 Release Date: 02/21/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Paul Baumgartner,  Pablo Casals
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prades Festival Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos 20 & 22 / Lefebure, Serkin, Casals
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66570 Release Date: 02/21/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin,  Yvonne Lefébure
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Perpignan Festival Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Bach - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64051 Release Date: 08/09/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Igor Kipnis,  Nicholas Danby,  Alexander Schreiner,  Frank Asper  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Eugene Ormandy,  Richard P. Condie,  Raymond Leppard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London String Players,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mormon Tabernacle Choir  ... 
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  • 23.
    Casals Edition - Bach: Concertos
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 58982 Release Date: 02/22/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Clara Haskil,  Isaac Stern,  Marcel Tabuteau,  Eugene Istomin  ... 
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prades Festival Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Casals Edition - Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante K 364, Etc
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 58983 Release Date: 02/22/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Erica Morini,  William Primrose,  Isaac Stern
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Perpignan Festival Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 25.
    Casals Edition - Schubert: Quintet In C, Symphony No 5
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 58992 Release Date: 02/22/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Alexander Schneider,  Paul Tortelier,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prades Festival Orchestra
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