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.