Gaspar Cassadó was born in Barcelona on September 30, 1897, into a musical family. His father, Joaquin, was a composer and church musician, and ran a piano store with his wife, Agustina Moreu. Gaspar began his musical training at the age of five, singing in the church chorus conducted by his father. He also began cello studies with Dionisio March, and his talent was quickly apparent. At the same time, Gaspar's older brother, Agustin, was demonstrating great promise as a violinist. Joaquin Cassadó was determined to give his sons the best musical training possible, and in 1907 he moved the family to Paris, where they remained for seven years. With the help of a grant from the city of Barcelona, Agustin took lessons from the great French violinist Jacques Thibaud, while Gaspar began studying with the man who would become one of the central figures in his life, fellow Catalonian Pablo Casals.1
Casals was at the height of his career at this time, touring for much of the year. Consequently, he taught very little; in fact he had just three students during this period. The first was an Englishman named Charles Kiesgen, who later became Casals' agent, the second was Cassadó, and the third was the soloist Guilhermina Suggia, who was also probably Casals' first wife.2 When first approached, Casals was reluctant to accept Cassadó as a student. Once he heard young Gaspar play, however, he immediately agreed to take him on, recognizing his tremendous talent. Cassadó quickly became Casals' devoted disciple, and the bond between the two was very strong. Cassadó would later refer to Casals as his "spiritual father." 3 For the 11 year-old Cassadó, Casals' way of making music was a revelation. In an interview many years later, Cassadó described his early impressions of his teacher:
"Casals' playing . . . produced an indelible impression from the musical point of view. The study of each new piece meant methodical work aimed at the recreation of the character of the music studied. Just this made him an unsurpassed cellist. . . . I remember when as a pupil I came to a standstill: while studying one of the concertos in Casals' interpretation at the lessons, it seemed to me that, at last, I discovered the secret of his playing; but some time later I attended a concert of the Maestro-he performed the same concerto but not in the same way. Once, being in Berlin (1925), I went to a concert to hear Casals. The programme included the Bach Fifth Suite. This unsurpassed interpretation had had such a great impact on me that I rushed to him to congratulate [sic] and say: 'Maestro, the time has come when you must publish this Suite in your edition.' 'Do you really think,' he said with sorrow, 'that if I could I wouldn't have done it long ago?' At that time I could not grasp the essence of his reply. But now when I became much older I understand my tutor well [sic]. Many essential points of the interpretation can't be fixed once and for ever, though a player must imagine them in his mind. But in the process of a performer's interpretation there appears a new factor: inspiration, enthusiasm borne [sic] of a moment. It is possible to assert that a great performer is an improvisor at the same time. He never performs the same composition twice in the same way."4
While in Paris, young Gaspar was surrounded by some of the leading musical figures of the early 20th century, including Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Erik Satie. Cassadó began studying composition with Ravel and with Manuel de Falla. He also befriended the composers Alfredo Casella, Joaquin Turina, and Isaac Albéniz.5
During the family's time in Paris, Joaquin, Agustin, and Gaspar Cassadó gave many concerts as the Cassadó Trio. When the First World War broke out in 1914, the family returned to Barcelona, where Agustin died, most likely from influenza. Gaspar began to appear on concerts in the Palau de la Mķsica Catalana, sharing programs with older, more established artists like Artur Rubinstein. By the end of the war, Cassadó had established himself as one of Spain's leading instrumentalists and was in great demand all over the country. In 1921, the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra gave a series of four concerts devoted to contemporary Spanish composers. Cassadó appeared as the featured soloist on two of the programs, premiering a concerto by Enric Morera as well as the concerto which had been written for him by his father, Joaquin Cassadó.6
After the war ended, Cassadó's international career flourished. He returned to Paris to give concerts, and also began performing in Italy. Through his friend Alfredo Casella, he met composers like Ildebrando Pizzetti and Francesco Malipiero, and began a lifelong commitment to performing contemporary music. At the same time, Cassadó began his own career as a composer; in 1922, he gave the premiere of one of his first works for cello and piano, La hilandera, el reloj y el galán.7 Cassadó once modestly referred to his compositional activities as a "hobby,"8 but he obviously wanted to present himself to the public as both a performer and composer, for he included his own works on virtually every recital he gave. Cassadó's reluctance to declare himself a full-fledged composer, as well as his false attribution of some of his works to other more famous composers like Schubert and Boccherini, will be briefly examined in the second chapter of this paper. Whatever Cassadó's reasons for downplaying his compositional talent, he initially became known internationally as much through his own works as for his outstanding cello playing.
Cassadó first came to the United States in 1928, and during this visit he received an important premiere from the New York Philharmonic. On November 8, William Mengelberg conducted the first performance of the Rapsodia Catalana, a work for orchestra based on songs and dances from Cassadó's home state. The program notes from this concert placed Cassadó in a group of prominent young Spanish composers which included Albéniz, Turina and Federico Mompou.
Also in 1928, Cassadó received another important premiere from an equally prestigious orchestra. He had recently arranged Schubert's "Arpeggione" Sonata for cello and orchestra, adding several transition passages of his own to the original work. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Schubert's death, Cassadó gave the first performance of this arrangement with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler.9
It was also during this period that Cassadó's relationship with Casals began to evolve, as student and teacher began performing together. Casals had returned to Barcelona after World War I and had founded the Orquesta Pau Casals, which he would conduct until 1939, when he went into exile in France. Cassadó was a frequent soloist, first appearing in the Barcelona premiere of the Beethoven Triple Concerto in 1921. Later in that same year, he played the solo part in Strauss' Don Quixote. He performed not only the standard concerto repertoire, but also new works by Spanish composers, including his own Concerto in D minor, dedicated to Casals, which the two men premiered in 1926. Casals also conducted the premiere of Cassadó's Variaciones Concertantes for piano and orchestra in 1930, and played Cassadó's music himself, appearing as soloist in the Concerto, and recording Cassadó's best-known work, Requiebros, in 1931.
The great affection and respect which Casals had for his prize student was most clearly displayed on May 2, 1931, when the program of the Orquesta Pau Casals featured the Spanish premieres of two of Cassadó's works. Casals conducted the Rapsodia Catalana, and Cassadó was the soloist in his Arpeggione concerto.10 Casals' eagerness to help Cassadó further his career as both performer and composer was amply demonstrated during these years. However, the close relationship the two men enjoyed would soon be tested.
In 1936 the Spanish Civil War began, and by January 1939 Casals had fled to southern France, following Franco's conquest of Barcelona.11 During this period, Cassadó was touring all over the world, and had already made his home in Florence, Italy for over a decade. There is no documentation of the relationship between the two at this time, but the different directions their lives took after Franco seized power must have limited their contact. While Casals abandoned performing altogether for many years as a statement of protest, Cassadó was still building his career, and continued to give concerts, though he did not perform in Spain again until 1942.
The Spanish Republican cause became Casals' primary focus; he would devote much of his time and energy to it for the rest of his life. Cassadó, on the other hand, tried to stay out of the way of both the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War which soon followed. Casals, who had abandoned his career, may have resented Cassadó for not making the same choice. It is important to remember, however, that Casals was 60 years old and one of the world's most beloved musicians. Cassadó, on the other hand, was 39, and still very much on the rise. In fact, Cassadó gave his New York debut on December 10, 1936, performing Haydn's Concerto in D Major with John Barbirolli and the New York Philharmonic. Two days later, he appeared again with the Philharmonic, this time performing his transcription of Weber's Clarinet Concerto, Op. 74.12 On January 9, 1937, he gave a recital at Town Hall, which received a glowing review in the New York Times: "One searches in vain to recollect another cellist possessing the fecund imagination, the tonal resourcefulness, and the infinite variety of effects made known by Mr. Cassadó. . . ."13
Cassadó's career was just getting underway in the United States when the war began in Spain, whereas Casals had long been established as the world's preeminent cellist. Though Casals certainly made his decision to withdraw from performing for noble reasons, it must be noted that he could well afford to do so, as famous as he was. His fame also gave his cause its power, for had he not been so well-known, his decision not to perform would have had no impact. Casals was in a position to do something about the war, and his tireless efforts brought the world's attention to the plight of the Spanish Republicans.
Cassadó, on the other hand, was unknown in the United States when the war began, and though he had established himself in Europe, his career hardly equaled those of the leading cellists of the day such as Gregor Piatigorsky, Emanuel Feuermann or Casals himself. This meant that had Cassadó followed his mentor's lead and withdrawn from performing, little, if anything, would have been accomplished. It is safe to say that even had Cassadó been well-known enough for such a gesture to have had an impact, he probably would not have made it anyway. Yehudi Menuhin, who knew Cassadó well and played with him, described Cassadó as "a political innocent."14 Cassadó publicly professed to have no interest in such matters anyway. This attitude helps to explain his actions (or lack thereof) during the wars, and would also cost him dearly after their conclusion. It also suggests that Casals, who would turn so forcibly against Cassadó in 1949, might have harbored resentment against him as early as 1939, when Casals made his decision to abandon his own career for the cause he believed in, and his protégé did not follow. Casals had been the leading figure in Cassadó's development as a cellist and musician; that Cassadó broke from his guidance at such a decisive moment must have angered Casals. Casals expected a great deal from those around him; that his prize student chose not to join him in his cause would cause a rift between them that would take several years to repair.
During the Second World War, Cassadó remained in Florence, where he had made his home since 1923. There is no published evidence that he performed in Italy during the war, although it has long been rumored that Cassadó did play once for Mussolini at the urging of his mistress. The only place this appears in print is in the autobiography of Yehudi Menuhin, who does not state the source of his information. Menuhin would be the pivotal figure in the reconciliation of Casals and Cassadó, and his perspective on the situation will prove enormously useful in examining what happened.
Cassadó later admitted to having given one concert in Germany during the Second World War. However, there is also anecdotal evidence that he had previously attempted to distance himself from the Reich.
By 1934, the Nazi government had established its own concert department, and all artists who wished to perform publicly in Germany needed to be registered with it and pay it commissions. This government management agency enabled the Nazis to allow performances only by artists whom they considered racially and politically acceptable. The head of the Reich's concert division was one Rudolph Vedder, who would later help launch the career of Herbert von Karajan. Cassadó made an unsuccessful effort to wriggle out of Vedder's grasp:
Though it is not clear why Cassadó wished to separate himself from Vedder's agency, he obviously remained against his will.
Shortly after the Allied liberation of Florence in August 1944, the city university organized a concert to celebrate the end of the Nazi occupation, and Cassadó was the star attraction. At the concert, which took place on October 31, 1944, the rector of the university described the occasion as a "triumph of art and a tribute to liberty."16 Cassadó also organized a series of concerts in Florence between 1945 and 1947 to to help revive the cultural life of the city.17
In January 1949 Cassadó returned to New York to give a recital at Town Hall. He then began a tour of Central America. Meanwhile, Russian expatriate and Casals disciple Diran Alexanian wrote a letter to the New York Times, published on March 6, 1949, protesting Cassadó's positive reception in the press. Upon learning of Cassadó's appearance in New York, Alexanian had written a letter to Casals. Alexanian included Casals' reply in his letter to the newspaper, which is reproduced here:
Recently I read with great interest Gaspar Cassadó's press release in which he uses the name of his one-time teacher and my good friend Pablo Casals-who left Spain in protest against Fascist Franco in 1936 .
In view of my knowledge of my friend's experience during the fight against totalitarianism within the last twelve years, I felt compelled to inquire as to his present estimation of Cassadó as a human being. Here is his comment:
During the war Cassadó made himself a brilliant career in Germany, Italy and Franco Spain. Without scruple he presents himself in America and is received [Casals' emphasis]. This is deplorable. The presumption of Cassadó knows no limit, when knowing that I am undergoing exile for having played the opposite card, he uses my name to cover himself. A revolting cynicism!
I hope at least that the musicians of America will know how to act in this case, which in my opinion is more serious than either that of Furtwaengler or Gieseking.
It is not a question of hatred, but one of dignity and justice.
I embrace you.
Your Pablo Casals.
I protest the association of Casals' name with publicity for Cassadó. I believe that such association is an indignity against the name of Pablo Casals and what he means as an artist and as a man. To me it has seemed evident that his recent turn to democracy and the use he has made of the name of Pablo Casals couldn't have been profitable in Germany, Italy or Franco Spain during the war.
The publication of the letter led to a public cry of outrage against Cassadó, and his upcoming tour of the United States was cut short. He also lost his chance to record for Columbia Records.19 Cassadó's reputation was permanently damaged, and his career would never be the same, particularly in the U.S. Most importantly, as Menuhin put it: "Casals's approval of these sanctions of course broke Cassadó's heart."20
Soon thereafter, Cassadó responded with a letter of his own to the New York Times. The text of this letter follows:
On my arrival in New York the other day from Central America on my way back to Europe, I was shocked to learn of the letters which appeared in The Times on March 6th about myself. The inquisitorial tone of both letters accusing me of crimes I did not commit gave me much distress.
My career is not a new thing. It is a matter of thirty years. My relationship with Maestro Casals began when I was 9 years old in 1908. For many years we were as close as teacher and pupil can be. In the past twenty years, our courses have diverged, however; I was no longer able to remain under his influence, preferring to go my own way, and I have made my home in Italy since 1923.
During the Spanish civil war I did not take sides, having always been an "apolitical," a great failing in our time, without question. My only brother fought with the Loyalists. In Spain I did not play from 1936 to 1942. I am not the only artist who has returned to Spain, nor am I the only one to be found in Germany.
Played Once in Germany [newspaper subheading] Returning from the United States to Italy in 1940, I played only once in Germany in 1941, where I had been playing since 1924. I have not been back since.
As for playing in Italy, that is where I have lived and even there I did not play during the war.
As to the accusation that I made use of Maestro Casals' name "cynically" or in any other manner, this I have not done. For my return to the United States last January my former managers, Coppicus and Shang, included in the biographical notes on my circular the fact that I am a pupil of Casals. They did this in utmost innocence, as they had every right to do. For Mr. Alexanian to make what he tried to make out of this is monstrous for a "colleague." I am sure that if Mr. Casals realized the machinations involved his nobility would have prevented him from taking part in them.
Gaspar Cassadó, New York.21
I have appreciated your letter very much; above all in a time so disconcerting in my life in which I am accused of certain crimes which I have not committed. And the saddest part of the matter is that the most important element against me is my own teacher. This makes my just and logical defense impossible, since one doesn't have the possibility of confronting one's own teacher. This is where I find myself.
As you can imagine, after the horrible accusation in my teacher's letter written to an "individual" in New York which appeared in the New York Times after my Town Hall recital last season, a disastrous opinion of me and an unbearable atmosphere have been created; and, nevertheless, I must remain impassive, for a just defense on my behalf will never arrive.
Dear friend, I appreciate your offer with all my heart. Right now I see nothing clearly. Let us hope that time will reveal the truth, that the power of logic will always be victorious.
I have suffered greatly over this and I assure you that my time in New York has cost me a little of my health. I know that the world is selfish and bad; but I can't understand what my teacher is doing. This overpowers all my abilities to understand.
Thanks, once again, dear friend and esteemed colleague, and I ask you to accept all of my sincere friendship.22
Alexanian's suggestion that using Casals' name in the Axis countries during the war "couldn't have been profitable" seems to imply that during the conflict, Cassadó would have tried to conceal the fact that he had studied with Casals. That such an effort would have been successful is very unlikely; Cassadó had achieved his success in no small part because of his status as Casals' protégé (and his successor), and this had happened long before the war began. Even if such a manipulation of the facts could have been achieved, what purpose would it have served? Casals himself was approached by the Nazis while living in Prades, and an offer was extended to him to come and play for Hitler, which he of course refused.24 The FŁhrer obviously understood the value of Casals as a symbol. If Casals could have been useful to Hitler, why would the Nazis have viewed Cassadó as tainted for having studied with him?
In their letters, both Casals and Alexanian emphasize Cassadó's supposed misuse of Casals' reputation. By doing so, they turn Cassadó's simple press release into an attack on Casals, one of the world's most admired and beloved public figures. This not only made it seem as if Cassadó was actively attacking his former teacher (when in fact it was the other way around), but also shifted the attention of the public away from Cassadó and onto Casals, with whom sympathy was certain to lie. Whatever Casals' motives were, these letters have a calculated tone, and he and Alexanian appear to be using political tactics, which seems very much at odds with Casals' image as an artist and humanitarian.
Casals also makes the remarkable claim that Cassadó's sins were graver than those of Wilhelm Furtwängler and Walter Gieseking, two of the most prominent musicians to be accused of wartime collaboration. In the late 1940s, both men were vilified by the American musical community. Despite a good deal of evidence that suggests that Furtwängler worked very hard to undermine the Nazis and save German Jewish musicians, he remains one of the most controversial musical figures of the century. Whether he genuinely supported the Nazis or not, he did remain music director of the Berlin Philharmonic throughout the war and performed many times under a swastika banner. Whatever his private convictions may have been, Furtwängler's numerous and prominent public appearances during the war far exceeded those of Cassadó. Gieseking appears to have been an enthusiastic opportunist during the Nazi period, despite his claims of innocence after the war. He expressed a desire to perform for Hitler as early as 1933, and was awarded a medal by the Nazi regime in 1944.25 Coincidentally, Gieseking also experienced difficulties arriving in New York to perform in 1949. Upon his arrival at Ellis Island, the U.S. Department of Justice called for a hearing to determine whether his visa should be honored. Gieseking, wishing to avoid an incident, canceled his tour and returned to Europe.26 Casals had no basis for his claim that Cassadó should be judged more harshly than these men; in 1949, as now, there was no evidence that Cassadó had been a Fascist sympathizer, whereas Gieseking and Furtwängler (perhaps wrongly) were the very symbols of Nazi collaboration. One can only assume that Casals felt personally betrayed by his protégé.
While Casals and Alexanian clearly overstated and misrepresented the case against Cassadó, his response was not completely forthright; in fact, it seems rather evasive. In his letter to the New York Times, Cassadó admits to having played once in Germany during the war, in 1941. He appears to imply that this performance was unimportant, since he was on his way home to Italy. This reasoning provides no justification whatsoever for Cassadó's actions; the fact that the concert site was convenient to his itinerary does not excuse his choosing to perform there.
Cassadó also says that his only brother fought on the Republican side in Spain. Cassadó had three brothers, though Agustin, the violinist, had already died in 1914. Which brother does he mean, and why does he say he only had one? In any case, Cassadó seems to be using his brother's Republicanism as a cover for his own "apolitical" stance.
To believe that people would accept his "apolitical" stand on the Spanish Civil War makes Cassadó seem very naive, but his justification for remaining in Italy and playing in Germany is not naive, but simply incomplete. Cassadó had his chance here to explain himself, and essentially declined to do so. It may have been that Cassadó did believe he could remain apart from the conflict of World War II as an "apolitical," but a more detailed explanation of his wartime activities would certainly have helped his cause.
As previously mentioned, Yehudi Menuhin was very close to both men, and had performed with both of them on numerous occasions. Though Menuhin, like Casals, was an artist who used his fame to promote humanitarian causes in which he strongly believed, he had reservations about Casals' circle of followers and the extent to which Casals truly supported the boycott of his former pupil. In his autobiography, Menuhin wrote:
This passage clearly refers to people like Alexanian, and offers a good explanation for the tone of the letter he sent to the New York Times. One gets the sense that Alexanian wanted Casals' stamp of approval on his attack on Cassadó, and knew that he could get it.
Menuhin also detailed the difficulties he encountered because of his support of Furtwängler, and the interesting attitude that Casals had towards the German conductor. Menuhin asked Casals his opinion of Furtwängler, and Casals replied that he admired him, "not only as a conductor but as a German: he had been right to stay in Germany and do what he could for music and musicians."28 Menuhin then suggested that he and Casals make a recording with Furtwängler. Menuhin later described what followed:
Menuhin described Casals as "trapped by his followers," and wrote:
Though it may be overstated, Menuhin's point is a good one. Casals clearly did feel influenced by his public persona, and he felt the need to compromise his own views for its sake.
It is well documented that Casals never performed again in Spain, in protest against Franco. He had different feelings towards Germany, however, and in 1955 played a recital in Bonn at Beethoven's birthplace. This concert, as well as a subsequent visit to Bonn in 1958, angered many who remembered Casals' campaigns against Cassadó and Furtwängler after the war. After all, just a few years earlier, Casals himself had said:
One colleague who was particularly disappointed was Alexander Schneider, who had become very close to Casals while organizing the Casals festivals in Puerto Rico. Schneider, a Jew whose mother and sister had died at Auschwitz, maintained what one Casals biographer termed "a healthy realism about what he saw as Casals' flaws and inconsistencies."32 In his memoirs, Schneider commented:
Whatever Casals' motivations for attacking Cassadó as he did, the results were devastating, both personally and professionally, for his student. It would take several years for the two men to reestablish their friendship, and Cassadós career would never be the same. It seems fair to conclude that Casals was deeply hurt by what he perceived as a betrayal by his protégé and close friend; his angry reaction was emotional, and his accusations not entirely based on fact. Though it is not possible to be certain about the nature of Cassadó's wartime activities, examination of the situation in Italy during the conflict does suggest that Cassadó was not the collaborator which he was made out to be.
The history of Italy is one of the most complex of any country in the world, and the Fascist period is certainly no exception. In his book, Music in Fascist Italy, Harvey Sachs examines the experiences of the country's leading musicians during this time, and paints a vivid picture of the mess created by both Mussolini's frequent, abrupt changes of policy and the efforts of Italy's musicians either to ingratiate themselves with him or simply to stay out of harm's way. Though Cassadó is not mentioned in the book, it contains information about some of his closest friends and helps place his decision to stay in Florence during the war in its proper context.
Sachs spares no feelings in his book; he often shows people at their worst when discussing their shameful actions during this period. The book is not a witch hunt, however; Sachs also gives good explanations for people's sometimes self-contradictory behavior. Fascism's initial widespread appeal is particularly well-explained, and Sachs often tempers his condemnation with a sense of understanding of the complexity of the situations in which people found themselves as Mussolini's power grew. This is perhaps the best feature of the book; though Sachs is quite critical of many of his subjects, he manages to put a human face on their actions.
Of particular interest is Sachs' explanation of the great differences between Germany and Italy, particularly between 1933 and 1938. While Hitler began his campaign against German Jews as part of his rise to power, Mussolini largely left Italy's minuscule Jewish population alone until the fall of 1938, when, for what Sachs feels were motivations more political than anti-Semitic, the Italian government banned Jews from owning large businesses or plots of land, marrying Italians, or holding teaching positions. Most Jewish musicians lost their jobs. Once these decrees had taken effect, life for Italy's Jews worsened considerably, but still did not yet compare to what was happening in Germany.34
One of Cassadó's colleagues who was greatly affected by the racial laws and their aftermath was Luigi Dallapiccola, whose wife Laura was Jewish. The two men became great friends and often gave recitals together. Dallapiccola wrote two works for Cassadó: the Ciaconna, Intermezzo e Adagio for solo cello, and the Dialoghi for cello and orchestra. The dates of completion of these works, in particular that of the solo piece, prove crucial to understanding Cassadó's wartime activities.
Dallapiccola, born in 1904, was raised in the town of Pisino, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the First World War, Dallapiccola and his family, suspected of "harbouring pro-Italian sentiments," were forcibly relocated by Austrian police to Graz, where they spent 20 months.35 After the war, the Dallapiccola family returned to Pisino, now a part of Italy. Sachs writes that initially Dallapiccola was quite supportive of Mussolini, and it seems reasonable to conclude that, at least in part, Dallapiccola responded favorably to Mussolini's promise of a strong, unified Italy because of his experiences in World War I.
As time went on, however, Dallapiccola became an ardent anti-Fascist. He would later refer to the day of Mussolini's fall as "the happiest day of my life."36 By the time the Second World War began, Dallapiccola was one of very few Italian composers whose work protested what was happening. Sachs writes: "Amid all the nonsense and all the shabby acquiescence of the period, one musical protest stands out: Luigi Dallapiccola's Canti di Prigionia (Songs of prisoners). . . ."37
Dallapiccola described the events surrounding the composition of the Canti, as well as his opera Il prigioniero (The prisoner), in an article he wrote for The Musical Quarterly in 1953. He makes clear the anti-Fascist message contained in both pieces, and relates the dire circumstances in which he and his wife found themselves during the latter part of the war, during the Nazi occupation of Florence. In November 1943, the Nazis began rounding up Italian Jews, and for the next nine months, Dallapiccola and his wife were forced to move around in order to evade detection. For some of that time, they were separated when Laura was forced to hide at the home of a friend. After the Allied liberation of Florence on August 11, 1944, things began to return to normal, albeit slowly. Dallapiccola continued to work on Il prigioniero, as well as the Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio, which was completed in September 1945, just a few weeks after the end of the war.38
Considering Dallapiccola's wartime experiences, the fact that one of his first completed projects after the Allied liberation was a piece for Cassadó suggests very strongly that Cassadó was not the collaborator Casals and Alexanian made him out to be.
It seems impossible to imagine Dallapiccola writing a piece for someone whose wartime actions were at all questionable while the conflict continued. Moreover, Dallapiccola would later compose his Dialoghi for cello and orchestra for Cassadó, and they played many concerts together after the war. Had Cassadó enjoyed the "brilliant career" in the Axis countries which Casals cited, Dallapiccola undoubtedly would have known about it. Dallapiccola is one of the very few people with whom Sachs does not find fault for his behavior during the Fascist period. It seems entirely reasonable to give weight to Dallapiccola's judgment about Cassadó's merits as a human being. It is also important to remember that, as previously mentioned, Cassadó was asked to play at the concert benefiting the University of Florence right after the liberation, and that he organized more concerts to help revive the city in the first years after the war had ended. Had he been a collaborator with the Fascists, would he have been chosen to be the star attraction of a concert celebrating the end of their control?
It is impossible to make definitive judgments about Cassadó's guilt or innocence as a collaborator. However, it certainly seems reasonable to suggest that Casals and Alexanian overstated the case against him. Without any evidence of public performances aside from those few he admitted to giving, and given his closeness with Dallapiccola, it is hard to think of Cassadó as an active supporter of Mussolini and Hitler.
Whatever Cassadó may have done or not done during the war ultimately did not matter. The campaign against him had done its damage, both professionally and personally. He continued to have a successful career in Europe, but lost out on the opportunity to make himself well known in the United States. The loss of the contract with Columbia Records left him with no regular recording work, and as a result, very few recordings of Cassadó exist today. Most importantly, he had been publicly denounced by his mentor and idol, and had lost him as a friend.
Yehudi Menuhin had remained close with both Casals and Cassadó, and formed a trio with Cassadó and pianist Louis Kentner in the early 1950s. Knowing of Cassadó's despair at having been "excommunicated" from Casals' inner circle, Menuhin approached Casals and asked him to forgive Cassadó. Casals agreed, and sent a letter to Cassadó in Florence, inviting him to serve as a judge at the 1955 competition in Paris which bore Casals' name. Cassadó, overjoyed, immediately flew to Prades, and the two men embraced in an emotional reunion. Casals asked Cassadó to be on the jury for the 1956 competition as well, and Cassadó also took part in the concert given at the competition celebrating Casals' 80th birthday.
Cassadó returned the favor that same year, inviting Casals to give masterclasses at the Accademia Musica Chigiana in Siena, where Cassadó had been teaching since 1946.39 Casals made at least one other trip to Siena at Cassadó's request, in 1959, when Cassadó married Japanese pianist Chieko Hara, with whom he would play most of his recitals thereafter. Interestingly, also present at the wedding was Casals' former chamber music partner, the pianist Alfred Cortot, with whom Casals had had a similar falling out. (Cortot was an active collaborator with Vichy France, and Casals only forgave him in the late 1950s.)40
In addition to teaching in Siena, Cassadó joined the faculty at the Musik Hochschule in Cologne in 1958. In that same year, he also founded, along with Andrés Segovia and Alicia de Larrocha, a summer festival in Santiago de Compostela.41
Cassadó continued to concertize all over Europe, giving recitals with his friends Dallapiccola and de Larrocha, as well as performing concertos. In 1959, Cassadó gave a recital in New York, his first American appearance in ten years. He would return once more, in February 1961. In 1962, Cassadó made his first tour of the Soviet Union, performing in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and Riga. During this trip, he served on the jury of the Tchaikovsky Competition and made several recordings with Chieko Hara. Cassadó returned to judge the 1966 Tchaikovsky Competition as well. While in Moscow, he made plans to celebrate his 70th birthday in Kiev, performing the Brahms Double Concerto with David Oistrakh, with Mstislav Rostropovich conducting.42 Unfortunately, he did not live to enjoy the festivities. In the fall of 1966, Florence suffered terrible flooding, and Cassadó toured the area giving concerts in an effort to raise money for the city's recovery. His health began to suffer, and his doctors advised him to relax for a few months. He ignored them, and continued to perform throughout Europe. On Christmas Eve 1966, while visiting his brother José in Madrid, Cassadó died of a heart attack.
© Copyright by Nathaniel J. Chaitkin, 2001.
1. Mònica Pagès Santacana, Gaspar Cassadó, la voz del violonchelo (Berga: Amalgama Edicions for Centre d'Estudis Musicals del Berguedà "L'ESPILL," 2000), 20.
2. Robert Baldock, Pablo Casals (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1993), 70-74. Though there is no concrete proof that Casals and Suggia were married, Baldock offers a great deal of evidence to suggest it.
3. Lev Ginzburg, History of the Violoncello (New Jersey: Paganiniana Publications, 1983), 233.
4. Ibid., 164.
5. Pagès, 22.
6. Ibid., 40.
7. Ibid., 30.
8. Ibid., 70.
9. Ibid., 37-38.
10. Ibid., 34-35.
11. Baldock, 158.
12. Pagès, 51.
13. "Gaspar Cassadó Recital," New York Times, 10 January 1937.
14. Yehudi Menuhin, Unfinished Journey: Twenty Years Later (New York: Fromm International Publishing Corporation, 1996), 241. Ben Zander, who studied with Cassadů, and David Soyer, who knew him, both used the word "naive" to describe Cassadó when it came to politics.
15. Fred K. Prieberg, Trial of Strength: Wilhelm Furtwängler in the Third Reich, trans. Christopher Dolan (London: Quartet Books Ltd., 1991; reprint, Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1994), 251.
16. Elias Arizcuren, "Gaspar Cassadů, un maestro olvidado," Scherzo, December 1986, 70.
17. Ginzburg, 235.
18. New York Times, 6 March 1949.
19. Pagès, 59.
20. Menuhin, 242.
21. New York Times, date unknown, quoted in Pagès, 59-60.
22. Pagès, 61.
23. Ibid, 23.
24. Pablo Casals and Albert E. Kahn, Joys and Sorrows (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970), 245-46.
25. Michael H. Kater, The Twisted Muse: Musicians and Their Music in the Third Reich (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 70.
26. "Gieseking, Walter (Wilhelm)," in Current Biography Yearbook (New York: H.W.Wilson Co., 1956), 212.
27. Menuhin, 242.
28. Ibid., 241.
29. Robin Daniels, Conversations with Menuhin (New York: St. Martinís Press, 1979), 170.
30. Menuhin, 241.
31. Undated c. May 1950 draft article by Lael Wertenbaker, Pablo Casals archives, Casa Museu Pau Casals, San Salvador, Spain, Box 8 (iv); quoted in Baldock, 185.
32. Baldock, 232.
33. Alexander Schneider, Sasha: A Musicianís Life (New York: privately printed, 1988), 139; quoted in Baldock, 232.
34. Harvey Sachs, Music in Fascist Italy (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987), 179-190 passim.
35. Roman Vlad, Luigi Dallapiccola, trans. Cynthia Jolly (Milan: Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, 1957.
36. Dallapiccola, 369.
37. Sachs, 190.
38. Luigi Dallapiccola, Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio per Violoncello Solo (Vienna: Universal Edition, 1947), 15.
39. Pagès, 63.
40. Baldock, 137.
41. Pagès, 68.
42. Ginzburg, 236-237.
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