In August 1954, at age of 77 Pau 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 (Catalonia of Spain is on the other side of border). Pau 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.
August 1954, aged 77, Pablo Casals performs Bach’s G-Major Suite for solo cello at Abbaye Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa near Prades in the French Pyrénées.
In an ancient abbey in the south of France I once heard invisible plainsong. I realised eventually that it came not from speakers, nor from monks hidden behind a screen, but from a fellow tourist who sang as he moved through the building, exploring its rich acoustics. It was surprising and beautiful. How amazing it would have been to discover Casals playing Bach.
Bach Unwrapped is a year long series of over 70 concerts throughout 2013 at Kings Place, London.