Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jay O’Callahan, Doug Lipman & Pablo Casals on Any Bit of Beauty

Jay O’Callahan, in his talk on the Power of Storytelling highlights the value of appreciations.

My friend Doug Lipman has a wonderful book called The Storytelling Coach.

He talks about listening, appreciations and suggestions in time but he has this story about a cellist who desperately wanted to meet Pablo Casals, the great master.

The young man found himself at a Mendelssohn party and present was the great man Pablo Casals.

Casals said to the young artist, “Come over here! Play the Beethoven D Major Sonata.”

The young man was so nervous he made a lot of mistakes and he felt awful. But Casals said, “Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!”

Casals then said, “Now Schumann. Schumann. Schumann.”

The young fellow made more mistakes than he’d ever made and Casals said, “Ah! Wonderful! Now, the Bach! The Bach!”

And at the end the old man hugged him and said, “Good! Magnifique!”

The young man left feeling humiliated and he thought that Casals, the great master, pretended to like me.

Years went by and the two of them got together in Paris. They had dinner and they went out and played duets together.

The young man now had the courage to say, “That night. You probably don’t remember but…You humiliated me! I did a terrible job.”

Casals was furious. He said, “Come over to the cello. Come over here.”

And Casals said: “The Beethoven. The Beethoven. Didn’t you use this fingering? I’d never seen that. It was good! Good! And didn’t you attack this passage in this way? It was fine!”

And Casals went through every piece and he said:

“That was all good. We have to leave it to the ignorant and the stupid to point out faults. We have to be glad of any bit of beauty.”

O’Callahan concluded, “Casals knew of the importance of appreciations.”

Jay O’Callahan, The Power of Storytelling, Fresh Creation, 17 September 2010.

Geoff Pound

Jay O’Callahan and the Power of Storytelling, SFS, 18 September 2010.

Image: “Casals knew of the importance of appreciations.”