- The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border? There is a brotherhood among all men. This must be recognized if life is to remain. We must learn the love of man.
- As quoted in Joys and Sorrows : Reflections by Pablo Casals as told to Albert E. Kahn (1974) by Albert E. Kahn
Medal of Peace acceptance
- This is the greatest honour I have ever received in my life. Peace has always been my greatest concern. Yet in my childhood I learned to love it. My mother—an exceptional, brilliant woman — used to speak to me about it when I was still a child, because in those years there were also a lot of wars. What is more, I am a Catalan. Today, a province of Spain. But what has been Catalonia? Catalonia has been the greatest nation in the world. I will tell you why. Catalonia has had the first parliament, much before England. Catalonia had the first United Nations. All the authorities of Catalonia in the Eleventh Century met in a city of France, at that time Catalonia, to speak about peace, at the Eleventh Century. Peace in the world and against, against, against war, the inhumanity of the wars. So I am so happy, so happy, to be with you today. That is why the United Nations, which works solely towards the peace ideal, is in my heart, because anything to do with peace goes straight to my heart.
- I have not played the cello in front of an audience since long years but I think I must do it this time. I am going to play a melody from the Catalonian folklore: The singing of the Birds. Birds, when in the sky, go singing: Peace, peace, peace. And this is a melody that Bach, Beethoven and all great people would have admired and loved. And, in addition, it springs up from the soul of my country: Catalonia.
Quotes about Casals
- His playing . . . is one of those rare things that may only come once in a lifetime and even not in one person's life, it may be centuries before there is anyone like that again. He is a funny little fellow only about 30 and plays with his eyes shut practically the whole time, every note every pause and tone colour is reflected in his face and to hear him again, to draw the bow across is a revelation.
- W.J. Turner (1913), music critic
- What I particularly admire in him is the firm stand he has taken, not only against the oppressors of his countrymen, but also against those opportunists who are always ready to compromise with the Devil. He perceives very clearly that the world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.
- Albert Einstein's tribute to Casals (30 March 1953), in Conversations with Casals (1957), by Josep Maria Corredor, translated from Conversations avec Pablo Casals : souvenirs et opinions d'un musicien (1955).