casals stories & little jupe update

Robert Shaw, noted American conductor

I have been thinking about a couple of great musicians: Robert Shaw and Pablo Casals.

Pablo Casals

I would like to find a synoptic quote about Casals that describes his insistence on professional musicians rehearsing and preparing performances. I have a memory of reading that he did this in his lifetime.

I use this to encourage musicians of all ilk to do the work of preparation (rehearsing). But I’m not sure where I read about it.

I have read Casals “as-told-to” autobiography, “Joys and Sorrows:Reflections by Pablo Casals” (as told to Albert E. Kahn).

But I also have a vague recollection that I might have read it on a record cover notes.

I do know that I have a few vivid memories from reading this book.

“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 a 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!”

Pablo Casals in “Joys and Sorrows”

I think of this often when I likewise begin my day with Bach at the piano.

Another memory I have of reading this book was the of the startling reaction Casals had when he hurt himself in a mountain climbing accident:

“It was when we were making our descent on Mount Tamalpais [near San Francisco] that the accident occurred. Suddenly one of my companions shouted, ‘Watch out, Pablo!’ I looked up and saw a boulder hurtling down the mountainside directly toward me. I jerked my head aside and was lucky not to be killed. As it was, the boulder hit and smashed my left hand–my fingering hand. My friends were aghast. But when I looked at my mangled bloody fingers, I had a strangely different reaction. My first thought was ‘Thank God, I’ll never have to play the cello again!’ No doubt, a psycho-analyst would give some profound explanation. But the fact is that dedication to one’s art does involve a sort of enslavement, and then too, of course, I have always felt such dreadful anxiety before performances.”

Pablo Casals in “Joys and Sorrows”

I had to flip through the book to find that last story. I note that Casals describes anxiety strictly in terms of “before” not during a performance. Interesting.


Yesterday my Mom was feeling her infection more keenly, more pain. I had the floor attendant contact the nurse on call to describe Mom’s increasingly painful  symptoms (which did not include a temperature, thank goodness).  I  hope her pain abated after I left.

I am finding myself pretty unmotivated around church stuff these days.

I rehearsed today’s prelude and postlude yesterday. Worked a bit on Bolcom’s challenging setting of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” but lost interest.

[GIF Score]

Came home and finished reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson. This is another book I have read entirely on my netbook. I did so using the “Kindle for PC” program.

I found it an engaging escape read.

My daughter Elizabeth briefly contacted me online last night. She is reading “Ada” by Nabakov. Heh. A different class of novel altogether.

I also spent time entering the first movement of the viola part of Decruck’s sonata. I guess she wrote it for saxophone but published it for viola. There are differences in the parts and I thought it might interest my sax playing friend to have  a sax part which is more like the more complicated viola part.

This is good practice for me because it involves carefully transcribing a piece in viola clef.

Picked up some shrimp and scallops for a cook out with Eileen today or tomorrow. She came home exhausted from work yesterday and spent the afternoon in the hammock. Excellent!

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0 thoughts on “casals stories & little jupe update

  1. I love the Casals quotes. Wow.

    Great, now I can’t give up on reading Ada! It’s really hard, like I was telling you. My edition doesn’t have any notes, so I found this site:

    It is a great reference and reveals 500 more dimensions to the first three chapters than I was able to glean on my own. I don’t think I can read the text online though — the highlighted text (indicating footnotes) is astonishingly overwhelming.

  2. That is a cool link….. (the makers of the link do say that “You should use ADAonline only if you have already read Ada in book form. Otherwise you may spring surprises in the novel that you would be much better to learn in the way and in the order that Nabokov has prepared with such care and imagination.”

    So. You’re quitting Facebook? Your status only said good-bye….. does this mean you will leave more comments on my web page? Heh….

    Are you actually quitting (or taking time away) due to the privacy issues?

    PC article says not many are doing this:,2817,2364338,00.asp

    I know privacy is touchy for many people. But I have been wondering about individual’s actual privacy for years…. the paranoid in me says there hasn’t been much privacy for a long time….. and of course in the UK they have the ever present camera system…..

    And there are members of our family who shun online presence or mention, he said obliquely hoping this didn’t offend said fam members who still lurk… Heh….

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