Jacqueline du Pré was born in Oxford, England, in 1945, to a concert pianist mother, Iris (Greep) du Pré and an accountant-editor-teacher father, Derek. Iris, who taught at the Royal Academy of Music in London, turned music into play in the household. At first it was only the mother playing the piano and singing, and then the girls joined in, Hillary with her flute and Jackie with her cello, which she picked up at the age of five, after listening to cello music on the radio. (Allegedly, she exclaimed, “Mummy, I want to make that sound!”)
At eight, Jackie went on to study with William Pleeth. In 1956 she won the Suggia Prize and after that she focused on her cello playing, at the expense of everything else: school, relationships, a normal life. At fifteen she took master classes with Pablo Casals and at sixteen she was ready for her début, with a Stradivarius, in Wigmore Hall in London. It was followed by a performance with the BBC Symphony Orchestra a year later. It was then she played Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor, which in the years to come made her famous in the world of classical music.
After a period of doubting her path in life, Jacqueline du Pré embarked on her career in earnest. In 1965, her performance at Carnegie Hall created a sensation, and her EMI recording of the Elgar concerto -- with London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli -- created a legend.
Thank you for mentioning Pinchas Zukerman. I had never heard of him. Maybe he'll come play in one of the Enescu festivals.
Mira, Very nice! One of my favorite recordings is Beethoven's 70th, with Daniel Barenboim on piano, Jacqueline du Pré on cello and Pinchas Zukerman (!) on violin.
I think what's also very sad is that, although so gifted, she seemed to make life very hard on herself and others. I'll have to watch it again. As you say, the film reveals so much about what I imagine is the life of many prodigies. I think that's where another big sadness lies, in not appreciating the gifts of life, starting with those close to you; couple that with the fulgurance (if that's a word) of her life and you're left wondering where the meaning of a life, of all lives is, and how one should deal with the gifts one receives.
I think it's worth watching. You may know the storyline, but there are many details there which invite reflection. It's very sad, though.
That's right. No one told me about it either. I just came across it at the British Council Library and thought it looked interesting. And then I was blown away.
Exciting - I've never heard anyone talk about this film (I happened across it by accident years ago), but the two leads are among my favourite actresses. Such a well-done film. I think I need to watch it again in the near future.
Thank you, Brenda. It's such a powerful film: haunting, even. It has moved me in so many ways.
Okay, now you've got me really curious. I have to watch this. Great review.
It took me completely by surprise when I saw it. They did a good job with the movie.
I've heard about this film, but haven't seen it yet. It's on my list.