From the Internet Cello Society:

Gaspar Cassado was a Spanish contemporary of Pablo Casals, who lived from 1897 to 1966. In fact, he may have been Casal’s youngest pupil, when he studied with him in Paris in 1910. He was born in Barcelona, the son of a church musician. His father started teaching him music when he was five, and at the age of seven he began cello lessons with a prominent Barcelona cellist, who worked at the Mercedes Chapel with his father.

When Cassado was nine years old, he played his first public performance, where he was heard by Casals, who immediately offered to give him lessons. He was given a scholarship by the city of Barcelona to go to Paris and study with Casals there. He also studied composition with Manuel de Falla and Maurice Ravel.

At the end of World War I, Cassado started touring internationally, and became a world famous cellist. He played under most of the leading conductors of his time, including such greats as Furtwangler, Beecham and Weingartner. His performance of the Brahms Double Concerto with Joseph Szigeti was especially appreciated.

Cassado loved Italy, and settled in Florence, where he lived for over thirty years. As a cellist he was more austere and noble, than flamboyant in his approach. He was a good composer, and his pieces are still played today, in particular his Requiebros, and his Concerto in D Minor, which he dedicated to Casals.

In 1964 Cassado premiered six unpublished cello sonatas of Boccherini, and performed them on a Strad cello that was once owned by the composer. Eve Barsham, his accompanist, had discovered the manuscripts in the archives of the Duke of Hamilton in Scotland. Cassado died in 1966 of a heart attack, after a strenuous tour of a flood stricken area of Florence where he was raising funds for those who had been devastated by the natural catastrophe.

Leaf : Isolde Cortes

On the metro, I have to ask a young woman to move the packages beside her to make room for me; she’s reading, her foot propped on the seat in front of her, and barely looks up as she pulls them to her. I sit, take out my own book—Cioran, The Temptation to Exist—and notice her glancing up from hers to take in the title of mine, and then, as Gombrowicz puts it, she “affirms herself physically,” that is, becomes present in a way she hadn’t been before: though she hasn’t moved, she’s allowed herself to come more sharply into focus, be more accessible to my sensual perception, so I can’t help but remark her strong figure and very tan skin—(how literally golden young women can look at the end of summer.) She leans back now, and as the train rocks and her arm brushes mine she doesn’t pull it away; she seems to be allowing our surfaces to unite: the fine hairs on both our forearms, sensitive, alive, achingly alive, bring news of someone touched, someone sensed, and thus acknowledged, known.

I understand that in no way is she offering more than this, and in truth I have no desire for more, but it’s still enough for me to be taken by a surge, first of warmth then of something like its opposite: a memory—a girl I’d mooned for from afar, across the table from me in the library in school now, our feet I thought touching, touching even again, and then, with all I craved that touch to mean, my having to realize it wasn’t her flesh my flesh for that gleaming time had pressed, but a table leg. The young woman today removes her arm now, stands, swaying against the lurch of the slowing train, and crossing before me brushes my knee and does that thing again, asserts her bodily being again, (Gombrowicz again), then quickly moves to the door of the car and descends, not once looking back, (to my relief not looking back), and I allow myself the thought that though I must be to her again as senseless as that table of my youth, as wooden, as unfeeling, perhaps there was a moment I was not.

C.K. Williams

By.Rachel McKibbens

To my daughters, I need to say:

Go with the one who loves you biblically.

The one whose love lifts its head to you despite its broken neck.

Whose body bursts sixteen arms electric to carry you, gentle, the way
old grief is gentle.

Love the love that is messy in all its too much,

The body that rides best your body, whose mouth saddles the naked salt
of your far gone hips, whose tongue translates the rock language of
all your elegant scars.

Go with the one who cries out for his tragic sisters as he chops the winter’s wood, the one whose skin

Triggers your heart into a heaven of blood waltzes.

Go with the one who resembles most your father. Not the father you can
point out on a map,

But the father who is here. Is your home. Is the key to your front door. Know that your first love will only

Be the first. And the second and third and even fourth will unprepare you for the most important:

The Blessed. The Beast. The Last love. Which is, of course, the most terrifying kind.

Because which of us wants to go with what can murder us? Can reveal to us

Our true heart’s end and its thirty years spent in poverty?

Can mimic the sound of our birdthroated mothers, replicate the warmth of our brothers’ tempers? Can pull us out of ourselves until

We are no longer sisters or daughters or sword swallowers but, instead,

Women. Who give. And lead. And take and want

And want

And want

And want

Because there is no shame in wanting.

And you will hear yourself say: Last Love, I wish to die so I may come back to you new and never tasted by any other mouth but yours.

And I want to be the hands that pull your children out of you and tuck them deep inside myself until they are

Ready to be the children of such a royal and staggering love. Or you
will say: Last Love,

I am old, and have spent myself on the courageless, have wasted too many clocks on less-deserving men, so I hurl myself

At the throne of you and lie humbly at your feet.

Last Love, let me never roll out of this heavy dream of you.

Let the day I was born mean my life will end where you end.

Let the man behind the church do what he did if it brings me to you.

Let the girls in the locker room corner me again if it brings me to you.

Let the wrong beds find me if it brings me to you.

Let this wild depression throw me beneath its hooves if it brings me to you.

Let me pronounce my hoarded joy if it brings me to you.

Let my father break me again and again if it brings me to you.

Last love, I let other men borrow your children. Forgive me.

Last love, I vowed my heart to another. Forgive me.

Last Love, I have let my blind and anxious hands wander into a room and come out empty. Forgive me.

Last Love, I have cursed the women you loved before me. Forgive me.

Last Love, I envy your mother’s body where you resided first. Forgive me.

Last Love, I am all that is left. Forgive me.

Last Love, I did not see you coming. Forgive me.

Last Love, every day without you was a life I crawled out of. Amen.

Last Love, you are my Last Love. Amen.

Last Love, I am all that is left. Amen.

I am all that is left.


This is what has been on replay in my head for the last month. I’m thinking of dancing to it one day, though I’m afraid that it would turn into more of an interpretive dance jumble than a belly dance performance. Maybe I’ll keep the dance private for now.

Schubert wrote this in the last years of his life after learing of his illness that would eventually kill him. It’s a testament to death of sorts.

Voices of Light is a pretty recent musical composition (1994) that was inspired by the French silent film “La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc” (1928) recommended to me by a friend. Written by Richard Einhorn and performed by Anonymous 4 (an all female a capella group as the voice of Jeanne) and the Netherlands Radio Choir and philharmonic, it provides an incredible accompaniment to the original film.

The acting in the film is otherworldly. The music tells its own story. It’s a tall order, about an hour and a half, but totally worth the watch.

Megitza Quartet and Roby Lakatos….
Loving this tonight, especially knowing that it’s coming out of Chicago, and out of some super young and talented musicians I adore.

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

We are not one with this world. We are not
the complexity our body is, nor the summer air
idling in the big maple without purpose.
We are a shape the wind makes in these leaves
as it passes through. We are not the wood
any more than the fire, but the heat which is a marriage
between the two. We are certainly not the lake
nor the fish in it, but the something that is
pleased by them. We are the stillness when
a mighty Mediterranean noon subtracts even the voices of
insects by the broken farmhouse. We are evident
when the orchestra plays, and yet are not part
of the strings or brass. Like the song that exists
only in the singing, and is not the singer.
God does not live among the church bells
but is briefly resident there. We are occasional
like that. A lifetime of easy happiness mixed
with pain and loss, trying always to name and hold
on to the enterprise under way in our chest.
Reality is not what we marry as a feeling. It is what
walks up the dirt path, through the excessive heat
and giant sky, the sea stretching away.
He continues past the nunnery to the old villa
where he will sit on the terrace with her, their sides
touching. In the quiet that is the music of that place,
which is the difference between silence and windlessness.

Choreography/ Artistic Direction: Jacinta Vlach

Danced by: Yeni Lucero

Monologue: John Leguizamo

Check ’em out here.

“Founded in 2007, Liberation Dance Theater, explores contemporary social issues and brings them to life through dance, theater and dialogue. Identity politics, race relations, gender inequalities, and marginalized communities are the core subjects of LDT’s work. Instituto Sacatar fellow and San Francisco Bay Gaurdian’s “Best Emerging Artist”, Artistic Director Jacinta Vlach draws upon movement from the Latin/African Diaspora, Contemporary, and Urban vernacular to reinvent various rituals, eras, and social movements.”

I love how these two pieces communicate such similar things in languages many years apart… women immortalized through the authors’ words:

William Shakespeare – Sonnet #18

Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And oft’ is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Charles Baudelaire – I Offer You This Verse…

I offer you this verse so that if  once my name
Beaches with good fortune on epochs far away
And makes the minds of men dream at the close of day,
Vessel to whose assistance a great tempest came,

The memory of you, like fables indistinct,
May weary the reader like a tympanum’s refrain,
And by a fraternal and most mystical chain
Still seem as though hanging, to my lofty rhymes linked;

Accurst being to whom, from the depth of the abyss
To the height of the sky, nothing but me responds!
— O you who like a shade whose trace none may retard,

Trample with a light foot and serene regard
The mortal dolts who judged you bringer of bitterness,
Statue with eyes of jet, great angel browed with bronze!


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