The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Casals at 93: “I’m beginning to show some improvement”

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Pablo Casals
Image via Wikipedia

Legendary cellist and humanitarian Pablo Casals was interviewed by George Carlin. Carlin asked him why, at age 93, he still practiced three hours a day.

The Maestro’s response: “I’m beginning to show some improvement.”

I think I’d better get to work.

FYI, in case you’re not familiar with Casals, here are a few facts from Wikipedia:

Pau Casals i Defilló (December 29, 1876October 22, 1973), best known during his professional career as Pablo Casals, was a Spanish Catalan cellist and later conductor. He made many recordings throughout his career, of solo, chamber, and orchestral music, also as conductor, but Casals is perhaps best remembered for the recording of the Bach: Cello Suites he made from 1936 to 1939. An ardent supporter of the Spanish Republican government, after its defeat in 1939, Casals vowed not to return to Spain until democracy had been restored, although he did not live to see the end of the Franco dictatorial regime.

A centenary statue of :en:Pau Casals at Montse...

Image via Wikipedia

So fierce was his opposition to the Francisco Franco dictatorial regime in Spain that he refused to appear in countries that recognized the authoritarian Spanish government. He made a notable exception when he took part in a concert of chamber music in the White House on November 13, 1961, at the invitation of President John F Kennedy, whom he admired. On December 6 1963, Casals was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Casals died in 1973 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the age of 96. In 1979 his remains were laid to rest in his hometown of El Vendrell, Catalonia. He did not live to see the end of the Franco dictatorial regime, but he was posthumously honoured by the Spanish government under King Juan Carlos I, which issued in 1976 a commemorative postage stamp in honour of the centenary of his birth.

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  1. Casals became an adopted son of Puerto Rico. We celebrate him and his accomplishments every year.


    April 11, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    • In St Paul, MN we are planning a “Remembering pablo casals: A concert for peace” in Nov. 2009.
      Maybe someday i can attend the Puerto Rican event to honor him.
      patty guerrero

      patty guerrero

      September 13, 2009 at 8:43 pm

      • Sounds wonderful, Patty – wish I could be there!


        September 14, 2009 at 7:27 pm

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