For me the existence of Pablo Casals is a source of joy, wrote Thomas Mann. He is one of those artists who come to the rescue of humanitys honor. Perhaps no other artist of our time has so combined supreme creativity with uncompromisingMoreFor me the existence of Pablo Casals is a source of joy, wrote Thomas Mann. He is one of those artists who come to the rescue of humanitys honor. Perhaps no other artist of our time has so combined supreme creativity with uncompromising humanism. Hence the appearance of this work constitutes an event of historic import.
For here is Pablo Casals first book in his more than ninety years-a book, entirely in the gentle poetry of his words, in which he reflects upon our troubled age and recounts the stirring saga of his own extraodinary life.Casals story has an epic quality. Set in an era of massive turbulence and change, it is the story of a mans passionate pursuit of beauty and justice in a world racked by revolutions and wars.
It is a story whose protagonist performed for Queen Victoria in the late 1800s and for President John F. Kennedy shortly before man set foot on the moon. It is the story of a consummate musician who silences his instrument to articulate his love of man- of a fervent patriot who protests iniquity by exiling himself from his beloved homeland for a third of his years- of a man who when nearing ninety embarks on a personal peace crusade, taking his music to a score of lands.Across the stage of this drama move peasants and celebrated artists, students and statesmen, anarchists and kings.
Its pages are peopled with a host of fascinating characters-the vastly erudite authority on Spanish music Count de Morphy (whose father was an Irishman named Murphy)- the frenetically eccentric composer Emanuel Moor- the dazzling virtuoso-who never practiced-Pablo Sarasate- the sturdy young woman who was studying medicine when Casals first met her, Gertrude Stein- the gay and gentle genius Fritz Kreisler, wounded as a soldier in the First World War- the fantastic and adventurous prodigy Isaac Albeniz- the nonconformist Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, Exquistite and iron-willed- the noble humanist from Lambarene, Albert Schwietzer.
It is a story that takes the reader on a fabulous odyssey from remote villages of Catalonia to the royal court of Madrid, from Paris of La belle epoque to the Wild West of America, from the concert halls of the worlds captials to the concentration camps of Nazi-occupied France, from the shores of the Mediterranean to the flowering mountains of Puerto Rico. It is a story that culminates in the ineffably tender account of Casals love for Marta, his lovely young wife and co-worker.
Above all, surmounting the viloence and cynicism of our time, it is a story of human compassion, reverence for beauty, and faith in man.In his Prefatory Note, Albert E. Kahn-to whom Casals relates the thoughts and recollections in this book-states that this work should not be termed an autobiography, It is, indeed, a book which fits no formal category.
it is both a testament and a song: a testament to a way of life and a song to life itself.Joys and Sorrows is illustrated with more than 50 pages of hitherto unpublished documents, rare musical memorabilia, correspondence with president Kennedy, Albert Schweitzer and others, and a protfolio of uniquely intimate contemporary photographs of Casals by Albert E.