Music: Casals Premi

When Pablo Casals set to work on an oratorio titled El Presebre (The Manger) in 1943, he intended it to be performed on the occasion of Franco's downfall. In the 17 years since then, El Caudillo has looked as healthy as ever, while age has begun to slow up even the indefatigable Casals, who just turned 84. In the course of his birthday celebrations, the composer bowed to the inevitable: in Acapulco, at the climax of a two-week Mexican Casals festival that ended last week, he mounted the podium to give El Presebre its world première.

The oratorio is based on a...

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