JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
In August 1954, at age of 77 Pablo Casals (1876-1973) performed Bach's G-Major Cello Solo at Abbaye "Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa", a Catholic monastery located south of the small border town Prades in France (very close to Catalonia of Spain). Pablo Casals settled in Prades in earlier 1940's after the Spanish civil war in 1930's, and he came back to Prada as the conductor and cellist at "Prades Festival" in 1950's. A small museum in Prades is dedicated to the memory of Pablo Casals.
Pablo Casals was one of very few politically active classic music musicians who aligned themselves politically with the American government. He was an ardent supporter for Second Spanish Republic in 1930's. At age 85, he played at White House for J.F. Kennedy who rewarded him the "(American) Presidential Medal of Freedom" two years later in 1963.
Arguably this filmed 1954 performance probably is not at the best of Pablo Casals. Most critics consider that the best performances of Pablo Casals on Bach Cello Solo are back in late 1930's and that exist only in audio recordings under EMI label.
(written by win081, June 10, 2011)