Tonight’s Friday night music thread is food for the soul.
Jacqueline Du Pré’s recording of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor is iconic. Clearly Du Pré had a special affinity for Elgar’s concerto.
She loved every note. No one played like her. There is something about the way she plays….between despair and joy.
Here she plays with her husband, conductor and pianist David Barenboim. Mr. Barenboim was once asked what it was like to accompany his wife. ”Difficult,” he replied. ”It doesn’t dawn on her sometimes that we mortals have difficulties in following her.” In the next few years, they performed throughout the world, both separately and as a duo.
On 15 June 1967, Barenboim and British cellist Jacqueline du Pré were married in Israel at a Western Wall ceremony, Du Pré having converted to Judaism.Acting as one of the witnesses was the conductor Zubin Mehta, a long-time friend of Barenboim. Since “I was not Jewish I had to temporarily be renamed Moshe Cohen, which made me a ‘kosher witness’,” Mehta recalled. Du Pré retired from music in 1973, after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). The marriage lasted until du Pré’s death in 1987.
If you missed my post on Du Pre playing Dvorak, go here.
After a 1965 performance of the Elgar work, New York Times reviewer Raymond Ericson wrote that “Miss du Pré and the concerto seemed made for each other, because her playing was so completely imbued with the romantic spirit. Her tone was sizable and beautifully burnished. Her technique was virtually flawless, whether she was playing the sweeping chords that open the concerto, sustaining a ravishing pianissimo tone, or keeping the fast repeated note figures in the scherzo going at an even pace.”
JACQUELINE DU PRE circa 1970
English Cellist 1946 – 1987
Credit: Clive Barda / ArenaPAL