Christopher Nupen

Winner: DVD of the Year at Midem in Cannes, January 2008

United Kingdom, 1991, 56′, English

Why do so many people in so many parts of the world remember Jacqueline du Pré with so much affection and dedication? There was something in her miraculous gift which touched the hearts of millions of people in ways which they do not forget, and in sharp contrast to the fate of most performing artists, her stature has continued to rise steadily since her death in 1987. That is extremely rare.
This film was made for what would have been the 50th anniversary of her birth on 26 January 1995 and also to raise money for the Jacqueline du Pré Memorial Concert Hall in the grounds of St Hilda’s College, Oxford, where she received an Honorary Doctorate during her lifetime. That building has now been successfully completed and has added considerably to the richness of musical life in Oxford as well as being a happy memorial to Jacqueline du Pré.
The film consists partly of material that has not been seen before; sequences that we shot with her in those unforgettable years between 1967 and 1971. The first half is filmed mostly in rehearsal situations where she is at her most revealing; full of her legendary exuberance and infectious laughter. The second half consists mostly of great music in performances at the highest level. There are substantial excerpts from Beethoven’s A major ‘cello sonata with Daniel Barenboim which have not been seen before, from The Ghost trio, Op.70 No.1 by Beethoven with Daniel Barenboim and Pinchas Zukerman, and the closing five minutes of the Elgar ‘cello concerto, with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim, in a performance which has become legendary. Jacqueline du Pré gave the world something that is worth remembering.