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Andrew Carach-Colton
Gramophone, October 2007

Something old, something new... a fine tribute but Du Pré lives on in the music

Who was Jacqueline du Pré? (2001) is Christopher Nupen's third documentary film about the great English cellist who died of multiple sclerosis two decades ago. In it, the film-maker interviews du Pré's colleagues and friends, who all pay loving, wide-eyed tribute not only to her staggering musical gifts but also to her girlish exuberance, lack of pretension and emotional sincerity. It's all very touching, of course, though if you've seen Nupen's previous films - Jacqueline du Pré and the Elgar Cello Concerto (1982) and RememberingJacquline du Pré (1994), the latter helpfully reissued to conclude this programme - I doubt you'll find much new. And an appended video montage (with still and moving images forming a visual accompaniment to du Prés and Barenboim's recording of the first movement of Brahms's E minor Cello Sonata) struck me as a bit maudlin. Perhaps the most affecting portion is a 1980 interview, originally taped for the Elgar Concerto documentary and presented here in its unedited entirety for the first time. Not only does Pres radiant personality shine through its 15 minutes, but also a deeply affecting feeling of quiet sadness that's all the more potent for being entirely free of self-pity.

Nupen says that he made his most recent film to counteract some of the myths that have arisen about the cellist in the years since her death. Still, I'd wager that Who was Jacqueline du Pré? is a question answered most forcefully by her recordings. As her friend, the pianist Fou Ts'ong puts it: "I always heard in her music the person she is. And music never lies."




Julian Haylock
Classic FM, October 2007

It still defies belief, especially for those of us lucky enough to have seen her in action, that Jacqueline du Pré was only 26 years old when, in 1971 , she began to experience the first symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and that just two years later her career was effectively over. This new release from Allegro Films and Christopher Nupen contains two films overflowing with personal reminiscences and vintage film of her playing, much of it rare or unseen. Add to that a moving interview from 198O and a captivating 1969 recording of a Brahms sonata movement, both never previously released, and the pressure on the collector's pocket becomes irresistible.




Julian Haylock
Classic FM, October 2007

It still defies belief, especially for those of us lucky enough to have seen her in action, that Jacqueline du Pré was only 26 years old when, in 1971 , she began to experience the first symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and that just two years later her career was effectively over. This new release from Allegro Films and Christopher Nupen contains two films overflowing with personal reminiscences and vintage film of her playing, much of it rare or unseen. Add to that a moving interview from 198O and a captivating 1969 recording of a Brahms sonata movement, both never previously released, and the pressure on the collector's pocket becomes irresistible.



Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, October 2007

This 3-1/2 hour assemblage of films made by Christopher Nupen is mainly concerned with one of music's most talented and endearing artists. The two main chapters, "Who Was Jacqueline du Pre" and "Remembering Jacqueline du Pre" - each about an hour long - bring together the close circle of friends of the remarkable couple of "Jackie and Danny": Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman, Yitzhak Perlman, and Zubin Mehta, in unforgtettable interaction and performances. There is also footage of outrageously hilarious fun they all had in happier times, such as a Schubert "Trout" where they all switched instruments, with absolutely amazing results. Other contributors to the memorial to Jacqueline include Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jacqueline's teacher William Pleeth, and many other luminaries. Jacquie's flawless performance (on piano and from memory) of a Clementi sonata is another gem in the sparkling string of musical pearls that Christopher Nupen had strung together. Du Pre did not only perform flawlessly and with rich, warm tone; she suffused each phrase with her entire physical and mental being. Yet there are a few flaws in this (obviously) impeccable production. In an attempt to squeeze too much onto one disc, producer Nupen resorted to a frightfully complicated menu system that almost requires a road-map to comprehend and use. Finally, I found myself wishing that he had not included the interview he conducted with the ailing and clearly uncomfortable du Pre, wherein he subjects her to a barrage of embarrassing, tactless questions.






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11:39:56 AM, 19 December 2014
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