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Song For Jacqueline

  • (Judy Small)

    Chorus:
    And oh to see her fingers dance upon the trembling string
    And oh to feel the spirit rise and to hear the cello sing
    And to hear the cello sing

    The clouds outside the window are grey and white today
    I'm six miles high in sunshine, I'm flying home to stay
    And suddenly my magazine is blurring through my tears
    For Jacqueline du Pré has died at forty-two young years

    Music's always moved me for as long as I recall
    And watching people play has been the greatest joy of all
    I'd sit in my pyjamas watching concerts on TV
    The orchestra would fill my head, playing just for me
    And clearly I remember the first time I saw her there
    Young and strong and tossing back a mane of long blonde hair
    The power of her playing held me spellbound to the screen
    The cello took me places my young heart had never been

    The plane is coming down now as I wipe away my tears
    The woman sitting next to me says, Are you all right there dear
    And I smile a little sadly 'cause I know I can't explain
    I've lost a piece of childhood I can't get back again
    Oh but I still hear the music so strong and grand and pure
    And I still recall the pleasure that touched me to the core
    And I think when I get home tonight I'll while the time away
    With Elgar's Opus 85 and Jacqueline du Pré

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1995:] The cellist would have been 50 this year if multiple sclerosis hadn't killed her in 1987. [About film by Chr. Nupen:] Musically impressive, of course - with Elgar saved for the tragic end. (Dermot Clinch, Observer, 10 Dec)

  • [1998:] [Daniel Barenboim] observes a dignified silence over the recent publication and newspaper serialisation of a biography of Du Pré by her brother and sister [...]. One suspects that Barenboim would like to lock the door on that stage of his life forever. In Berlin, and perhaps Chicago too, it's easier since few remember or care who Jacqueline Du Pré was. In Britain, however, the romance of her reputation and tragic short career are undiminished, [her husband] Barenboim's name still inseparable from hers. (Fiona Maddocks, Observer, 26 Apr)

  • [1998:] [Wilson's] understanding of Du Pré's generous, instinctive playing style is perceptive and invaluable. [...] In the Sixties and early Seventies, Du Pré and her glamorous pianist husband, Daniel Barenboim, brilliantly illuminated London's musical life as no two musicians had done before or have done since. The end of her career was shocking for audiences, bewildering and humiliating for her. [...]

    A sharp portrait of suburban musical life in the Fifties and early Sixties depicts the blonde, badly dressed, but remarkable young player doing the rounds of the local music clubs and competitions round the South Circular, from Kingston to Coulsden - a stiff, dingy world of rules and regulations, of white socks, beeswaxed floors and embossed certificates. Her parents couldn't help being culturally and socially buttoned up. Who wasn't at the time? To be catapulted, as they were via their daughter, into a set as glamorous and foreign as Barenboim's would have fazed anyone. Jacqueline's mother, Iris, who some have suggested pushed her daughter too hard, too early, is shown to have been doing her best in near impossible circumstances. What choice had a parent of a gifted child at that time? Menuhin hadn't set up his school and most ordinary school music teaching was dull and ineffectual unless there happened to be an imaginative teacher. In retrospect, it is a wonder Du Pré didn't suffer educationally more than she did. How can anyone teach maths or French to someone whose only waking interest is playing the cello?

    Being Jackie's siblings must have been tiresome. You can quite see why Piers and Hilary Du Pré came out of their childhood feeling slighted. Whether that gave them licence to write their book, which leaves such an acrid taste, is another matter. Wilson keeps a polite distance, concentrating on the facts. The squeamish and much publicised affair between Jacqueline and her sister Hilary's husband, Kiffer Finzi, is granted only half a page. Just as cursory is the not inconsiderable issue of Daniel Barenboim's second family, acquired when Du Pré had become an invalid. Did Jacqueline know? Probably not, but this is left unclear. [...] From Wilson's account of that painful period, he behaved impeccably - as far as he could in complex circumstances. [...]

    The last years of Jacqueline Du Pré's life are covered in a few pages. Dark stories of the sick, drugged woman's bad behaviour to loyal visitors are touched on but, honourably, not itemised. (Fiona Maddocks, review of 'Jacqueline Du Pré' by Elizabeth Wilson, Observer, 18 Oct)

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