Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Honouring Jacqueline du Pre

I cannot claim to have thought of the title of this blog. In fact it is taken from the very event that I attended on Sunday,21st March at the Queen Elizabeth Hall South Bank London, organised under the auspices of The London Cello Society.Those of you who heard my interview/ broadcast on Brooklandsfm.co .uk (type in listen again and scroll to 28th Feb 2010.)Will have heard the respect and gratitude I felt to have been taught by this 'wunder kind' for two years at both private lessons and masterclasses. Even though she was ill at the time though not desperately ill (just greatly incapacitated but in excellent spirits)I was one of the privelidged few afforded this great experience and inspiration.



I feel it is important for me to use my blog to say this may sound as if I am stating the obvious but I do believe that there are remarkable people and the most remarkable sometimes don't even know it. It is just how they are. It was both riveting and extremely saddening to see her on film playing with such beauty and with the interpretation so utterley complete, for want of a word to describe the maturity of her performance. Pinchas Zuckermann stated that she was born 'already done' meaning as I interpret him to have stated that everything she played was at its zenith of intellectual or emotional magnitude.I think that her emotional intelligence was supreme. The interpretation for which she is most greatly known and naturally revered was the Elgar Cello Concerto which she made her own.To such an extent that many people the world over claim that they don't want to hear another version.This young girl found the key to this music and what is so remarkable about true wunder kinds as Jacqueline was,is the maturity of the understanding which was way beyond her own personal experience. Like many wunderkinds instead of generating a jealousy in people she somehow tapped into the love that people wish to share.I have seen it before, the somewhat disarming true innocence (not play acting) and running alongside that the deep maturity it is quite disarming. I never saw a negative side to Jacqueline she was totally unselfish this was evidenced with her teaching and her weekend masterclasses.



My experience on two occasions of performing for the Jacqueline du Pre Appeal (in what was a small way in comparison to the full on dynamism that is Daniel Barenboim and Andras Schiff who both performed at the Royal Festival Hall for the fund.)My contributing performance was as soloist at a completely sold-out concert (I was told afterward that we broke fire regulations because so many people were there)performing a concerto in Oxford, the Haydn C major for which I wrote my own cadenzas.I was honoured by being nominated invited and then elected a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts a month later.I connected the concerto event to the nomination, but The Royal Society has strict protocols and one is never told the why, how, what about the nomination. I do know that everyone is vetted which is also interesting. Another concerto performance was given in the South West for the du Pre fund this time I played
The Rococo Variations by Tschaikovsky this time,again the concert hall was packed out. What was apparent to me in performance was the love that came from the audience for her, I am sure. I felt so touched by it, knowing that I had just a peep into the world that she had occupied.I perform with that experience locked up safely in my heart, and it comforts and encourages me.



The excellent films made by Christopher Nupen who filmed her over a number of years are available on DVD and should be bought as they are truly wonderful.These were discussed and shown by him on Sunday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.



Jacqueline du Pre in Portrait (CN0902 D)-Portrait film plus Elgar concerto and Beethoven 'Ghost' trio.




Franz Peter Schubert (CN0903D)-Schubert film and performances of 'Trout'quintet.




Jacqueline du Pre: A Celebration (A07CN D)-the films Who Was Jacqueline du Pre?and Remembering Jacqueline du Pre,plus the famous 1980 interview.


I felt so inspired to write this blog as I feel so strongly that since Jacqueline died that the time has flown by.We are so lucky to be able to see and hear the wonders of people no longer with us and everyone should see that the 'one size fits all' education system of music or anything else could never work for highly gifted people.Even in my own small way I have to contend with people wanting to metaphorically 'put me in a box' or label me or only see a part of what I am, so heaven knows what these 'limiters' would have made of Jacqueline du Pre.






It was a delight to read the interview given by Christopher Nupen for Elizabeth Wilson written in the London Cello Society Newsletter edition 14 for all those eager to read more.He describes his impressions of Jacqueline and these range from his first impression of her appearance to the lengths to which he went to capture her in as an authentic truthful way as he could. This includes the numbers of cameras used to film her performance of the Elgar.Here I cite the words used by Christopher Nupen in his interview 'The contradictions showing over what she might say was an insurmountable difficulty whilst music making'but the very next minute she played the passage superbly with no problems.She manifested these uncertainties,yet at the same time she had 'volcanic energy and unbelievable confidence'.


She was ( and remains on film for all to see),unbelievable, formidable, unlike any other. How wonderful it was to have known her.