Wednesday, January 26, 2005

By way of an elegy....

Heard on classic fm this afternoon that today would have been Jacqueline du Pre's 60th birthday. Her recording of the Haydn Cello concerto was the first LP (does anyone remember those?) I ever bought and she was a huge inspiration to me as a very young and rather dreadful cellist. On my 13th birthday, my parents bought us tickets to hear her play the Elgar Concerto at the Brighton Festival,- but when we got there, a notice announced that she was "indisposed" and Menuhin played for us instead. There was no hint as to the real problem, and my mother consoled me by saying "She's young...you'll have many more opportunities to hear her, while Menuhin might retire any time now".
In fact she was never to perform in public again, though I did hear her give a masterclass a couple of years later, and treasured through my teens a dictated response to one of very few fan letters I've ever written. But her music has gone with me through every phase of life since, and has often been the first thing to go on the stereo when trying to make a new place feel like home....She seemed to touch deep reserves of joy which few other musicians could reach, and to share that joy with her listeners with an exuberance that has kept her legend alive 18 years after her death.
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4 comments:

Dave said...

Pstt. Don't tell everyone, but I'm a cellist, too. That would have been wonderful to have heard Du Pre playing the Elgar.

Last time I heard it (live, I mean), the soloist was Raphael Wallfisch. The acoustics were terrible, though, and it was hard to hear him over the echoey sound of the orchestra at times. Unfortunately, I was rather tactless, and I said to Wallfisch afterwards, "I'm sure it was wonderful, but it's a shame I couldn't hear you much because of the acoustics." It just slipped out, and he looked terribly disappointed.

I was more tactful when I met Lynn Harrell, who I think plays the Dvorak absolutely beautifully.

Thanks for sharing your Du Pre memories!

Dave Rattigan :)

Sally said...

I remember seeing on TV J playing the Elgar with her husband Daniel conducting, they looked so much in love and it was beautiful. Oh for romance........

Zee said...

Oh, wow - I LOVE du Pre's playing and haven't thought about her in ages. How cool would it have been to hear that concert? I'll bet the masterclass was a thrill though! I'm a flutist and pianist myself, and I've found some of my best teachers hearing them give masterclasses to other players.

By the way - I found your blog through Real E Fun and I really enjoy your writing style!

maggi said...

I have a fairly ancient recording of tortelier playing the Elgar - totally fab. it has to be a Desert Island piece, surely