Remembering Jacqueline du Pré

June 9, 2012 at 9:34 AM | Posted in Cello, Music | Leave a comment
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There are artists who burned so brightly, who made such a tremendous impression from the beginning that it seems beyond credibility that they died so young – but that is if they died, which they haven’t.

I write now of the English cellist Jacqueline Du Pré and I will write later of that other wonder, the singer Kathleen Ferrier. EMI has just released Du Pre’s complete recordings for that label and in those 17 discs we have virtually all of her but, of course, they just touch upon her life force, upon the moments she played before the microphones.

In the film, Jacqueline du Pre in Portrait, we see her play Elgar’s Cello Concerto, the King Lear of concertos, with her husband Daniel Barenboim conducting. It is here, for me, that the chills of recognition and emotion strike (YouTube). A more open, effusive, rich, deep, connected, touching, scorching performance is not conceivable.

She was struck with Multiple Sclerosis at the top of her powers at 26 years old. This is true but misleading. She was always the tops, as the great ones are, and has never been silenced.

(In a minute-by-minute age of novelty and yet endless repetition, there are yet things that are virtually a secret, yet sublime: the 17 CD complete Jacqueline sells for $54. new. This includes the Elgar she recorded at 20 with Sir John Barbirolli, always considered one of the greatest recordings of all time, which is worth trillions).

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