excerpt from 'Joys and Sorrows. Reflections by Pablo Casals, as told by Albert E. Kahn' pp. 218,219 (473 words)

excerpt from 'Joys and Sorrows. Reflections by Pablo Casals, as told by Albert E. Kahn' pp. 218,219 (473 words)

part of

Joys and Sorrows. Reflections by Pablo Casals, as told by Albert E. Kahn

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

218,219

type

text excerpt

encoded value

In the summer of 1936 the volcano erupted. I was in Barcelona at the time preparing to conduct a concert. By strange coincidence, it was scheduled to take place in the very hall at the palace of Montjuich – I had conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to celebrate the proclamation of the Republic. And again I was to conduct a performance of the Ninth – this time at a government ceremony entitled “Celebration for the Peace of the World.” The final rehearsal took place at the Orfeó Català on the evening of July 18. I shall never, never forget that day. In the morning word came over the radio from Madrid that there had been a military uprising in Morocco- an uprising staged by fascist generals who were reported to be planning a nationwide insurrection in Spain and the overthrow of the Republican government. All day tension had mounted in Barcelona and rumors ran wild. Some people said that revolts of army garrisons under fascist officers were already under way in a number of cities. Nobody knew what the situation really was. By nightfall the avenues and plazas were thronged with people- with soldiers, Civil Guards, factory workers in overalls, and crowds of agitated men and women. Everybody’s radio was on. Over loudspeakers set up in the streets, messages were being broadcast by the government: “Do not turn your radios off! Stay calm! Traitors are spreading wild rumors to sow fear and panic! Keep turned in! the Republic is in control of the situation!”/ I made my way through the seething streets to the Orfeó Català for the rehearsal. We had completed the first three movements and were about to begin the Finale – I had just called the chorus onto the stage to sing the chorale - when a man rushed into the hall. He handed me an envelope, saying breathlessly, “This is from Minister Gassol. An uprising is expected at any moment in the city.” I read Gassol’s message. It said our rehearsal should be discontinued immediately…all the musicians should go straight home…the concert scheduled for the following day was to be canceled. / The messenger told me that since the message had been written, an insurrection had started in Madrid and fascist troops were now marching on Barcelona./ I read the message aloud to the orchestra and the chorus. Then I said, “Dear friends, I do not know when we shall meet again. As a farewell to one another, shall we play the Finale?” / They shouted, “Yes, let us finish it!”/ The orchestra played and the chorus sang as never before…”All mankind are sworn brothers where thy gentle wings abide!” I could not see the notes because of my tears.

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excerpt from 'Joys and Sorrows. Reflections by Pablo Casals, as told by Albert E. Kahn' pp. 218,219 (473 words)

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