Casals’ political historiography

What impact has the social participatory of musicians given to the society?

One of the crucial democratic movements in the early twentieth-century performance history is the cellist Pablo Casals’ refusal to play concerts in any country which recognised the Franco regime. By the time this announcement in 1945, the cellist went into exile settled in the French Catalan village of near the Spanish Catalan border. Rather than stopping at mere protesting, his democratic participatory continued raising funds for the support of Catalan refugees. Indeed, his purpose of protesting movement, which was the Catalan independence, has not met in his time. His boycott of playing at least captured the Worldwide attentions and had brought little frustration to Franco.

He, however, made an exception of boycotting to play, as he accepted the invitation of President John F Kennedy to play in the White House in 1961. Casals’ gesture of forgiving the U.S. for its support of the Franco regime could be understood as an indication of him singing harmony with President Kennedy’s views that “we must regard artistic achievement and action as an integral part of our free society.” By bending his rule of boycotting, Casals might have become the awardee of the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, his political message became rather shaded.

The talk of Catalan independence referendum is continued at this date. We will shortly see what impact has the social participatory by Casals gave to the Catalan community.


About julee

I am a researcher in musical modernism and politics. I am also a freelance cellist and especially enjoy playing chamber music with my violinist sister yulee. I live near Hatfield House .
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