Publishers Weekly, 1993-06-28 The great cellist, who played during his life for both Queen Victoria and President Kennedy, was a personality at once complex and simple; and it is the virtue of Baldock's biography that he makes this abundantly clear. ``The dilemma between the urge to communicate and the fear of exposure was one he never resolved,'' the author writes, and notes that journalists always had to struggle to explain ``that so unpretentious a man should produce art so great.'' Casals (1876-1973) was born in Catalonia, a fact that dominated his life, first in the struggle for Catalonian independence from Spain, and later in the fight against Franco. In protest against both, the man who had been the first cellist to make a notable solo career withdrew from the major centers of musical life and established two music festivals devoted above all to the works of his beloved Bach: first in the 1950s at Prades, across the French border from Catalonia, and in the 1960s in Puerto Rico, where he lived out his final years. Emotional, stubborn, retiring and always profoundly moralistic, Casals was an unforgettable performer as well as a political icon of remarkable potency. This is a clearsighted, sensible study, by an admirer who is an editor at Yale University Press in London. Photos; discography. (Sept.)
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