Pablo Casals? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: Pablo Casals was a brilliant cellist, and I love a remark that he reportedly made when he was in his eighties or nineties. He continued to practice intensely with his cello in those golden years, and when he was asked why he was so diligent he replied with one of these statements:
I think I’m making progress.
I think I see some improvement.
Is one of these remarks accurate?
Quote Investigator: There is evidence that Pablo Casals did make a comment of this type more than once. The earliest instance located by QI was published in the “New York Times” in 1946. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1
When the Germans were driven off French territory in 1944, Casals wrote me in one of his first letters after the long enforced silence of the occupation:
“Now that the enemy has been forced to leave, I have resumed my practicing and you will be pleased to know that I feel that I am making daily progress.”
This striving for “daily progress” reflects his modest approach to his art and is the key to the secret of why “Casals is ageless.”
The letter from Casals was written to Maurice Eisenberg, the author of the “New York Times” article. Casals was born in December 1876, so for most of the year 1944 he was 67 years old.
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1946 December 29, New York Times, Casals at 70: Great Spanish Cellist Waits For Country’s Liberation by Maurice Eisenberg, Quote Page 45, Column 8, New York. (ProQuest) ↩