When Spanish cellist Pablo Casals was in his seventies, he retired from the concert stage and lived in Prades, Southern France. Casals
began each day by playing from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier on the piano (1), then heading out for a walk with his German shepherd, cocking an ear for birdsong and saluting the snow-capped peak of Mont Canigou. He played his cello, which now looked the worse for wear. He was constantly lighting his curved pipe with matches which would occasionally fall into his instrument’s sound holes. He could hear them rolling around inside when he picked up the cello, which looked as if it hadn’t been cleaned since the Civil War. A piece of paper was lodged under the bridge for support, and a broken matchstick was wedged under a string on the peg box to keep it taught.
Siblin, Eric (2009) The Cello Suites. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin, p.158-159.
(1) Casals once recalled: “For the past eighty years I have started each day in the same manner … I go to the piano, and I play preludes and fugues of Bach. … It is a sort of benediction on the house.” [Source: pablocasals.com. Accessed 22/01/13]