PAUL TORTELIER – At the BBC
A film by Andy King-Dabbs
Presented by Petroc Trelawny
In the spring of 1990, my father went for an angioplasty in Hammersmith. His heart was playing up, and as the doctor told him bluntly, he had only two choices: immediate surgery or leaving thins to chance! He chose the latter, meaning he could at least pay a homage to Bach and Casals at the Prades Festival, which was to celebrate its 40th anniversary. He did indeed perform those taxing Bach Suites and Sonatas that summer, and the following December he passed away. Such was his destiny, such was his character. He was 76, full of life as always, and it is hard to believe that it is already almost 30 years since all this happened.
To mark the centenary of his birth, the BBC drew from their archives a selection of films and documents that span his whole career and testify to the exceptional rapport he enjoyed with Britain—from his debut with Sir Thomas Beecham in 1947 all the way to a standing ovation at a packed Festival Hall for his 75th birthday concert with the RPO and Mstislav Rostropovich (on which occasion the players called the two of them ‘the indefatigable’ and ‘the indomitable’).
This BBC programme offers a portrait of one of the truly great cellists, an artist of the utmost probity, integrity and sincerity who lived through and witnessed almost an entire musical century, from his studies in harmony with Jean Gallon, a former chorus master of Massenet’s to performing ‘Tout un monde lointain…’ by his friend and fellow student at the Paris Consevatoire Henri Dutilleux. – Yan Pascal Tortelier
First broadcast on BBC4, 17 January 2014
Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Menu language: English
Booklet notes: English, French, German
Running time: 57 mins
No. of DVDs: 1