Jacqueline Du Pré was one of the most fascinating cellists to appear in the classical music world. Raw, intense, emotional, her performances are still remembered, her recordings have never gone out of print, and her story moves thousands of fans due to her career being cut tragically short by multiple sclerosis.
Jacqueline was a somewhat idiosyncratic person. Her music career was fiercely supervised by her mother, who didn’t want to let go of her child genius, and Jacqueline somehow resented that. She recalls having a very isolated childhood due to music lessons and practice, although people remember her as a normal kid and her family as a happy one. She was shy but also very assertive – and even a little aggressive – sometimes. She was a simple girl who wanted to settle and have children but couldn’t say no to her career demands. She always smiled because her mother educated her daughters to be ladies who never expressed discomfort, distaste or anything that could possibly be wrong in their lives. The only outlet for her most intimate emotions was her cello – and you can hear that in her passionate performances.
I discovered Jacqueline because of her link to multiple sclerosis, but as soon as I started listening to her I couldn’t but be in awe. I particularly love the Elgar, Dvorak and Schumann cello concertos. In my opinion, she doesn’t give her interpretation of the concertos, she gives the composers’ interpretations. And compared to other interpretations, I very much prefer hers.
Now I have yet to read other books about Jacqueline because her life story has so many angles, but I found this biography very useful. It gives an overview of her personality and her life, from her early upbringing, to her rise to stardom and her declining years. Very enjoyable read.
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