What is more, I am a Catalan

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El Vendrell 1876 – San Juan de Puerto Rico 1973

Did you know Catalan Pau Casals? He was one of the world’s most respected cellists and the composer of the “Hymn of the United Nations”. On December 6, 1963, Casals was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

White House
November 1961

This was one of the very few times Pau Casals agreed to play in a country that recognized fascist Spain, “to render the homage of great music to a world leader [he] admire[d].” Present that evening were President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and wife Jacqueline Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, former President Harry Truman and wife Bess Truman, Konrad Adenauer, Dean Rusk, Aaron Copland, Alan Hovhaness, Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy. (Look up those names if you’re under fifty. Geez.)

He played Song of the Birds, traditional Middle Age Catalan song of unknown author. Here you are:

United Nations
Octover 1971

Over the course of his life, Pau Casals struggled constantly for peace, justice and freedom. In recognition of his stance, in 1971 the Secretary-General of the United Nations, U-Thant, awarded Pau Casals the U.N. Peace Medal. The speech that Pau Casals gave to express his gratitude for this distinction, and afterwards his performance of “El cant dels ocells” (The Song of the Birds), form one of the most impressive testimonies to his human dimension.

Here you are his words:

Enjoy these movies and do not forget its meaning!

Monsieur de Voltaire

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