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Catalonia Remembers Pablo Casals


October 14, 2001
Copyright © 2001 THE NEW YORK TIMES. All Rights Reserved.

After leaving his homeland of Spain when Gen. Francisco Franco's rightist forces won the Civil War in 1939, Pablo Casals, the world-famous cellist, dreamed of the day when democracy would be restored and he would return to the charming vacation house he had built decades before in his birthplace, the Catalonian town of El Vendrell.

He lived in France, the United States and finally Puerto Rico, performing around the world, but he died in 1973, two years before Franco, and he never saw his seaside villa again.

After a four-year, $2.5 million restoration, the villa now houses the Museu Pau Casals (Pau is Catalan for Pablo), with exhibits from his private and professional life as well as from his campaigns for world peace and freedom.

Most of what is on display in the 17 exhibition areas was donated by his widow, Marta Montáñez, and documents his early life, exile, politics and music. It includes objects Casals collected, such as an original score by Brahms and a stone from a window of the house in which Beethoven died, as well as Casals's first cello, photographs and films of his performances, musical scores, letters from his decades in exile and the United Nations Peace Medal, which he was awarded in 1971.

Museu Pau Casals, Avenida Palfuriana, 59, Sant Salvador, El Vendrell. General admission, $4.50,; closed Monday. Information: (34-977) 684-276.


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