JACQUELINE DU PRÉ
(1945 – 1987)
Pré nasceu em Oxford em 26-1-1945. Os seus pais, Iris e Derek,
compraram-lhe o seu primeiro violoncelo aos 5 anos, a pedido dela, depois
de ter ouvido o instrumento a tocar. A sua mãe, uma boa pianista,
encorajou-a, escrevendo-lhe pequenas peças, que ela aprendia
imediatamente a tocar.
mais tarde, Jacqueline entrou para uma escola de violoncelo, antes de se
tornar aluna de William Pleeth. Pouco depois, foi a mais jovem vencedora
do prémio Guilhermina Suggia, que ganhou por 7 anos consecutivos.
Aos 16 anos tocou pela primeira vez com a Orquestra da BBC.
Em 1965, com 20 anos, era já conhecida mundialmente, após ter gravado o concerto de Elgar com a London Symphony e o concerto de Delyus com a Royal Philharmonic. Logo a seguir, fez a sua primeira tournée na América, onde tocou com a Orquestra Sinfónica de S. Francisco, a New York Philharmonic e muitas outras. Em 1966, conheceu o seu futuro marido, Daniel Barenboim, pianista e chefe de orquestra, com quem se casou em 1967. Juntos, gravaram de início, os concertos de Haydn e de Boccherini, com a Orquestra de Câmara Inglesa.
Em 1970, Jacqueline estava no apogeu da sua carreira. Tendo gravado já uma dúzia de discos, detentora de dois belos Stradivarius e de um Gofriller, ela recebe ainda um violoncelo encomendado por seu marido a Sérgio Peresson. No fim desse ano, regressou aos Estados Unidos, onde executou o Concerto de Elgar com a Orquestra de Filadélfia, dirigida por seu marido.
No início de 1971, gravou o concerto de Dvorak para violoncelo, com a Orquestra Filarmónica de Chicago.
Foi nesta época que a sua saúde se começou a degradar. Os médicos pensaram que se tratava de stress e aconselharam-na a descansar. Durante um ano inteiro, não tocou no violoncelo.
Em 1973, foi-lhe diagnosticada esclerose em placas. A doença foi piorando, apesar de um breve período de melhoras em 1973, em que ela actuou por diversas vezes.
Alguns meses mais tarde, Jacqueline foi obrigada a retirar-se definitivamente.
Apesar da doença, porém, continuou a dar lições privadas. Recebeu ainda títulos Honoris Causa em diversas universidades.
Em 1987, Jacqueline du Pré, uma das maiores virtuosas do violoncelo de todos os tempos, expirou com 42 anos de idade.
April 11, 1999
JACQUELINE DU PRÉ
Her Life, Her Music, Her Legend.
By Elizabeth Wilson.
Illustrated. 466 pp. New York:
Arcade Publishing. $27.95.
Though her career lasted just 12 years, Jacqueline du Pré established herself as one of the great cellists of our time.
By KEVIN BARRY
“If we need cellists, the greatest are at our beck and call,'' David Bicknell, managing director of the EMI musical agency, wrote in an internal memorandum of October 1964 about Jacqueline du Pré and her older contemporaries. In truth, the status of musical performers has seldom been high. Normally it has remained that of the anonymous artisan. At worst, musicians have endured an assumption that they are licentious, stupid and dull. A few, a very few, seem to be rescued by celebrity. Cellists, as Bicknell indicated, are a case in point.
Jacqueline du Pré enjoyed celebrity for 12 years between her 1961 Wigmore Hall debut in London and the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, when she was 28 years old, in 1973. She died in 1987. It is probable that the very brevity of her career and her marriage to Daniel Barenboim have increased the continuing interest in her life and in her playing. However, it is the drama of her performances across almost the full repertory of cello music that has established her popularity. EMI anticipated certain success after du Pré's performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto at the Festival Hall in 1962. The marketing department ran ''the Elgar Gimmick again'': ''We did it in 1934 -- the boy Menuhin playing an inspired violin concerto.'' EMI looked forward to sales of 7,000 for the girl du Pré. Her recording sold a quarter of a million. Nevertheless, problems of contract with EMI after 1968 severely limited the range of her studio recordings.
The precarious status of musical performers is part of a larger biographical problem: the discontinuity of their art from other forms of living. The outer life of a performer tells us so little about the inner life, the day-to-day biographical drama so little about the intensities of a calendar of performance. If it is the paradox of the actor that the performance is most intense when feelings are least engaged, then musical performers equally may be no subject for a biography that expects to reveal the meaning of their music in the events of their lives. Elizabeth Wilson is aware of the limitations of biography, and for that reason her life of Jacqueline du Pré is satisfying and invaluable.
''Jackie's abandon was just on the edge of being too much,'' the violinist Arnold Steinhardt wrote. He had in mind her performance with the Guarneri Quartet of the Schubert C major String Quintet, with two cellos. The edge lay between extremes: to Steinhardt she appeared, without her cello, a milkmaid and, with it, a maenad; to Raymond Ericson, a critic for The New York Times, she was ''a cross between Lewis Carroll's Alice and one of those angelic instrumentalists in Renaissance paintings''; to Richard Goode at Spoleto, the joyousness of the person contrasted with the pathos of the musician. To Wilson, du Pré was the most communicative of performers and the most enigmatic of friends: what the music communicates through du Pré is not coincident with her personal life. The title of this biography defines its elements -- life, music, legend. Wilson, a professional cellist, has given priority to the music.
Her method is discreet, methodical, informed and accurate. Above all it is measured in its tone. She provides us with multiple points of view: the judgments of hostile and sympathetic reviewers, of du Pré's fellow musicians, of friends and acquaintances, of teachers, even of family. This complex and balanced sense of perspective is all the more striking when the newspapers and television daily regale us with hysterical improprieties. Neither the writing of ''A Genius in the Family,'' by du Pré's sister, Hilary, and brother, Piers, nor the screening of the subsequent movie, ''Hilary and Jackie'' (the title of the book by Hilary and Piers when it appeared in the United States), has been a pretty business. I read recently a newspaper interview with Hilary's husband, Christopher (Kiffer) Finzi, in which he confides to all in the most vulgar street language that Jackie, in bed with multiple sclerosis, ''phoned up and asked me to come over'' for sex.
When bad faith reaches that pitch it is time to open, even at random, Wilson's biography of a performer and of performances. The descriptions of these performances are lucid and dynamic. Readers will go out then and seek whatever their eyes had lighted on: a recording with Richard Goode in the archives of the Italian radio station RAI of Beethoven's D major Sonata; an early version with the Guarneri Quartet of the E flat Trio with a ''delicious, if unexpected, slide here, her subtle use of vibrato and the varied brushwork of the bow strokes''; and, for contrast, the later recording of this trio by du Pré with Barenboim and Pinchas Zukerman, who at the age of 19 had simply declared to the celebrated couple, ''I want to play with you.''
There are innumerable surprises, many taking the form of legitimate contradictions within the text itself. Du Pré was poorly educated: her family neither valued schooling nor themselves provided a broad sense of culture. In contrast to Barenboim she knew almost nothing about the world (the distances between cities defeated her) and, shockingly, she knew little about music beyond the literature of the cello. Nevertheless, the emotional coherence of her playing, the purity of line and her sensuous discrimination and virtuosity established her genius and her charisma. Although we are told that du Pré was not verbally articulate, even about music, we discover another dimension when she writes to her friend Madeleine Dinkel about the arrival of spring in Moscow: ''Water overflows from the gutter down one's neck and the beautiful brilliant sunshine and the blue, blue sky which go with the intense cold have given way to the grayness of the undecided season. Everyone waits, longs for the first glimpse of fresh green and from then on there will be no looking back.'' Her studies there with Mstislav Rostropovich offered her relief: he ''has spent most of his time digging away at the hysteria and extravagance which are so firmly rooted in my playing.'' However, within months, she had come to recover herself, to distance her playing from Rostropovich's advice and to express strongly negative feelings about her whole Moscow experience.
We can imagine contexts for Wilson's biography other than the performance world it so thoroughly documents. Jacqueline du Pré appears also to be a child of the 60's -- excessive, nave, playful, irresponsible and Romantic. She had little or no time for the music of the Beatles, although their lyric sentiments echo in her voice. Her profound involvement in the cello repertory and the sense of physical abandon in her playing has a historical irony insofar as it appears rebellious and scandalous while, at the same moment, being deeply conservative. Du Pré disclaimed interest in contemporary composers and performed almost nothing by, for example, Anton Webern or Arnold Schoenberg. This conservative element indicates the market for classical music in London during her development and also the importance to her of the values of her chief mentor, William Pleeth. There remains, however, in her conservative rebellion, a deeper attachment to a Romantic tradition of Sturm und Drang, to that idealization of music in German Romanticism, the revelation of an immaterial subjectivity within the ravishment of structured sound.
When at the turn of the 19th century Ludwig Tieck and Arthur Schopenhauer decided that music is an all-engrossing power, they asserted that it stands quite apart from all the other arts. All other modes of discourse fail by contrast: in music there is always something more and beyond expression. This sublime idea found a ready home in English Romanticism. Wordsworth was merely typical in his assertion that ''the mind of man is fram'd even like the breath / And harmony of music. There is a dark / Invisible workmanship that reconciles / Discordant elements.'' The 19th-century Romantic ideal of music finds its modern-day epitome in the performances of du Pré and in her popular reception.
We may also notice that this same 19th-century Romanticism spawned the notion that it is the task of the biographer to discover within the discordant elements of the life an explanation for the invisible workmanship of the artist. Our appetite for such biography has fed a market in biopics. It is the excellent paradox of Elizabeth Wilson's chronicle that she admires the Romantic musicianship but stands back from scandalous romantic prurience.
Kevin Barry, the professor of English literature at the National University of Ireland, Galway, is the author of ''Language, Music and the Sign.''
See extracts from the book here
Still striking a chord
Jacqueline du Pré would have been 60 this month. Jessica Duchen talks to those who knew the cellist about her lasting ability to captivate audiences
Published : 07 January 2005
They called her Smiley, for the wide, radiant glow of joy that rarely left her face. Her bow gouging into the cello string, her long, red-gold hair flying around her silk-clad shoulders, she played with an uninhibited physicality that could conjure up extremes of elemental ferocity and tenderness. Her career, which once had a momentum that would leave a comet breathless, came to an abrupt end when she was struck down by multiple sclerosis at the age of 28, and the disease killed her in 1987. She would have celebrated her 60th birthday on 26 January this year. But even now, more than 30 years after her last concert, Jacqueline du Pré is rarely out of the limelight.
Her recordings still sell in droves; Christopher Nupen's film Jacqueline du Pré - In Portrait was the highest-selling classical DVD of 2004, and surely nobody who has seen his film of her performing the Elgar Cello Concerto can hear the work again without remembering her. Yet critics often lambasted her unusual technique, her extravagantly physical style and her relentless intensity; her reputation suffered from Anand Tucker's notorious 1998 feature film Hilary and Jackie, which displayed a less salubrious side of her family and personal life.
But despite critics' nit-picking and the public washing of dirty laundry, Du Pré remains an icon, a figure whose talent, radiance, apparently fairy-tale life and tragic death add up to more than the sum of their parts. What exactly was it about her that could, and still can, inspire such devotion? How much of her mystique can be attributed to her extraordinary and terrible life story? Just how accurate were those damning reviews? Why does her memory still burn so brightly?
Du Pré's life is well documented. Born into a middle-class family in Oxford, she heard a cello for the first time aged four and declared that this was the sound she wanted to make. Soon her family was astonished by the fervour with which she exclaimed, "I love my cello so much!" In competitive music festivals she showed none of the reticence common in other children. An observer at one contest, seeing her skipping down a corridor, said, "I can see you've just played." She hadn't: she was about to go on stage and was thrilled with expectation.
News of her talent travelled fast. She studied with William Pleeth, calling him her "cello daddy", and missed large chunks of school to focus on music; her godmother helped to buy her a Stradivarius; and her Wigmore Hall debut, at 16, launched a career that soon took in an EMI record contract, concertos with the greatest conductors of her day and duo partnerships with some of the finest young pianists, including Stephen Kovacevich (then known as Stephen Bishop) and later Daniel Barenboim - whom she married in Israel in 1967 amid a whirl of public adulation. She and Barenboim were at once an international celebrity couple, a classical Posh and Becks.
But by 1970, Du Pré was suffering from peculiar symptoms, including episodes of numbness, intense fatigue and a sensation of weakness in her limbs. The symptoms came and went; time and again doctors dismissed them as psychosomatic. Convinced that she was heading for a nervous breakdown, Du Pré cancelled her engagements for six months and went to stay with her sister, Hilary, and her family, where allegedly she had an affair with her brother-in-law.
Her marriage to Barenboim had not proved as much of a fairy tale as its image suggested; plagued by a sense of intellectual inferiority and inadequate stamina (Barenboim is still legendarily energetic), she had left him behind, as well as her cello, for those few months, in a trial separation. Afterwards she returned to him and to her concert life - but her attempts at resuming the latter soon foundered on her physical problems. At last she was advised to see a neurologist, who diagnosed multiple sclerosis.
Her performing career ended that year, 1973. Over the 14 years of her slow decline into complete incapacity, Barenboim continued to look after her devotedly in London. Although he never left her, eventually, during her last years, he set up another home in Paris with the Russian pianist Elena Bashkirova, whom he later married.
It was a modern legend of someone blessed yet cursed, like the Kennedy family, Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana. Since Du Pré's death, has legend overwhelmed reality? Our responses today to her recordings and films are coloured by knowledge of her fate. But there's no doubt, when you talk to those who knew and worked with her, that her blessings were every bit as powerful as her curse.
The cellist Raphael Wallfisch, who is spearheading two days of celebratory events to mark Du Pré's 60th birthday, has never forgotten his childhood experiences of seeing her in action. "My mother, the cellist Anita Lasker, was a member of the English Chamber Orchestra and used to take me with her to rehearsals and recording sessions," he reminisces. "I was present when Du Pré recorded the Haydn C major Cello Concerto with Barenboim conducting, and I remember those sessions as if it were yesterday. The atmosphere was like a party. Du Pré was full of joy and smiles; everyone was having a good time. You'd never have imagined it was a recording session!"
Stephen Kovacevich, her former duo partner, remembers this feeling too: "When I walked on stage with her, I looked forward to the concert and never felt imprisoned by remembering little details, because the performance would be no-holds barred. She had a joy about her which helped me too. She wasn't religious, but she used to say, 'I have a God-given talent and I feel it's my privilege to share it with my friends.' That was absolutely genuine. When you go on stage with someone like that, it brings out the best in you as well."
The film director Christopher Nupen vividly recalls meeting Du Pré for the first time in 1962. He was sharing a flat with the guitarist John Williams, with whom the teenaged Du Pré was to make a recording. "She came to the flat to rehearse. We greeted her at the door and she was unmistakeably shy. But when we walked down to the kitchen, she strode like an Amazon. There was an immense confidence in her being and her movement, but shyness in her personality. That struck me and never left me. I see a parallel with these contradictory images in her music-making. Her depth of perception, both human and musical, was incredible. But she felt inferior because she hadn't had much ordinary education."
Nupen adds, "The conductor Sir John Barbirolli says, in the film, 'Sometimes she's accused of excessive emotions, but I love it. When you're young you should have an excess of everything. If you haven't an excess, what are you going to pare off as the years go by'? She was often told in rehearsals to 'tone it down a bit' and she'd try to do so. But her conviction was so strong that once she got the bit between her teeth, you couldn't stop her. She couldn't stop herself!"
Du Pré's "excessive emotion" was one of many aspects of her playing that provoked the critics. Everything was considered excessive - the tone, the way she "threw herself around" as she played, the portamenti (slides between notes) - except for desired qualities that were sometimes absent, such as understanding of form, appropriate style and, occasionally, good intonation. The story goes that Du Pré learned the Delius Cello Concerto without having a clue about the orchestral part, and generally she had scant regard for the minor details in the score, such as dynamics, that supposedly indicated the composer's intentions.
On one hand, as Wallfisch points out, Du Pré's apparent shortcomings were a sign of something more sinister than questionable musical taste. "In retrospect, one understands that a lot of the extra energy she was putting in was simply because she couldn't feel her fingers," he explains. "She was literally feeling her way between the notes."
But also, as Kovacevich recalls, she had something more significant to offer than precision. "Once I raised some pedantic point in a rehearsal - the composer had written forte and she was playing something else. She responded, 'Once the composer has finished the piece, it's mine!'" That's not a politically correct comment, but it works! It means you give all your love, commitment and joy to the music. As for critics, I have the feeling that there is nothing more threatening to them than something that is absolutely wonderful."
He has a point. Charisma as compelling and universally communicative as Du Pré's is an enormous threat, because its force renders academic correctness redundant. And academic correctness is often the only asset that many other praised performers, and critics, actually possess. A Jacqueline Du Pré comes along once in a lifetime - someone with such personal radiance that no human or instrumental defects can interfere with their power over the audience. Among musicians, perhaps only Maria Callas or Vladimir Horowitz also fall into this bracket. None of them would be acceptable to a musical competition jury; measurement against "historically correct" slide-rules would do them no favours. But faced with the charisma of a Jackie, such concerns evaporate. Her sound seems to go straight from her soul to the listener's; nothing else really matters.
Christopher Nupen's films have preserved much of Du Pré's personal magic, shot in an involving, informal manner unprecedented in music documentaries at the time (A Portrait of Jacqueline du Pré shows her on a train, gleefully strumming her cello like a guitar). It's tempting to wonder whether they have even helped to create the Du Pré legend. But Nupen insists that if she still strikes such a chord in people who never saw her perform live, that is to her credit and not his. "We knew our craft. We were using film in which we knew she was at her most expressive. But the thing that makes the dynamite is that expressive power that she had. The fact that the DVD is selling is such numbers is concrete evidence that people who never heard her are still able to respond to her in the films. People who've never even heard of her are buying it. That's glorious. And thank God I was there to film her."
He has now prepared a new documentary that will include previously unscreened footage from his much-loved films of Du Pré, Barenboim and their colleagues in Schubert's "Trout" Quintet, Beethoven's "Ghost" Trio and other music. "Film captures our artists in a complete way that not one of the other media can touch," he declares. "Jackie's gone, but she isn't gone in the films. She once said to me, after she was ill, 'You cannot imagine what it feels like to me to know that I am playing for people again in our film.''
When a very different film, Hilary and Jackie, came out in 1998, controversy raged for months. Du Pré's associates were profoundly upset; fans were jolted as a musical idol was condemned for actions far removed from music. "Whether there is any truth in the story or not," Wallfisch comments, "nobody needs to know these things." But now it is film of the real Du Pré that tops the classical bestseller charts, while, as is often the way with feature films, Hilary and Jackie is all but forgotten by a public hungry for the next novelty. The indication could hardly be clearer that Du Pré's personal magnetism and joyous playing are able to survive just about anything.
Her legacy lives on in the wide influence she cast over the musical world. Some agents and record companies began to take the cello seriously as a solo instrument for the first time thanks to her. She was a crucial inspiration for most of the finest British cellists working today - Steven Isserlis, Robert Cohen, Alexander Baillie and more. Wallfisch recalls: "We were all struck by not just her joie de vivre, but the colossal ease of her playing. A lot of people can play well, but not with such compulsive energy that you have to listen whether you like it or not."
Supposing she had not become ill, where would Du Pré have been today? Would she, at 60, have been the world's most revered cellist? Or would she have been content to cut back her engagements, be Mrs Barenboim, raise a family? Elizabeth Wilson's biography of her shows that at first Du Pré had doubts about becoming a cellist; that she had hoped to have children; and that even before her illness, her stamina was not particularly strong. But Wallfisch is convinced that, had multiple sclerosis not intervened, "she would probably have played differently and would have continued to be the most important British cellist of these 50 years". Kovacevich asserts: "I think she would have played and played and played! And for her 60th birthday she might have phoned up 60 friends and we'd all have flocked in and performed 60 pieces''
That was not to be. After the progressive, agonising incapacity of her illness, Du Pré died on 19 October 1987, aged 42. Nupen was with her. "I was holding her right hand, and Bill Pleeth was holding her left hand. Someone put on the Schumann Cello Concerto, and Daniel [Barenboim], who was in a corner, said, 'Turn that off!' And then - silence. Her life ended in unimaginable tragedy. But what she gave to the world in her few best years was a glorious celebration of some of the most wonderful things in human existence. As Kenneth Clark said in his Civilisation series, 'Once art touches the soul in that way, it calls that soul back for the rest of its days.'"
Kovacevich agrees. "I think we'd still have known about Jackie if she'd played the snare drums. I remember that Emmy Tillett, her agent, remarked that Jackie had not made more work for other cellists: we'd fallen for her. The cello was simply her instrument. When I think of Jackie, I think of a still from the film when she's smiling as she plays: this person in love with what she's doing, ridiculously gifted and enjoying sharing that gift."
Wallfisch's two days of concerts in London and Birmingham, plus events on TV and BBC radio, are now set to celebrate Du Pré's legacy on what would have been her 60th birthday. On 25 January Wallfisch and the pianist John York perform the complete Beethoven cello sonatas at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The next day, the Symphony Hall in Birmingham hosts a succession of concerts and discussions, beginning with a lunchtime cello recital by Julian Lloyd Webber; next, Christopher Nupen talks about his long association with Du Pré and introduces extracts from his films; and David Fruwirth (violin), Jamie Walton (cello) and Daniel Grimwood (piano) play Beethoven's "Ghost" Trio. After a pre-concert talk, the evening concert begins with extracts from Nupen's film, after which 60 young cellists from Birmingham schools and Birmingham Conservatoire perform en masse. An orchestral programme then features the Elgar Cello Concerto with Wallfisch as soloist, Elgar's Enigma Variations and the Beethoven Triple Concerto performed by Wallfisch, the violinist Philippe Graffin and the pianist Jeremy Menuhin. The English Symphony Orchestra is conducted by William Boughton. BBC Radio 3 is also devoting the entire evening to a celebration of Du Pré's work.
Wallfisch's concerts will donate all proceeds to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Now, for the first time, there is a glimmer of hope for those suffering this horrific disease. Recent research has identified a genetic process in the brain that can at least temporarily re-coat the nerves with myelin, the insulating substance damaged by multiple sclerosis. Much more work is needed to transform this discovery into a therapy, but it is the first sign of a breakthrough. Du Pré's high-profile illness had an unprecedented impact on public awareness of the disease. Now the memory of her may help to raise funding that could, one day, result in a treatment. There could be no finer tribute.
Kritik aus derNürnberger Zeitung
Tragödie eines Genies
De mortuis nil nisi bene – über die Toten spricht man nur Gutes. An diese Weisheit dachten wohl auch so namhafte Musiker wie Itzhak Perlman, Mstislaw Rostropowitsch, Pinchas Zukerman und der vor kurzem verstorbene Lord Yehudi Menuhin, als sie in Großbritannien das Kinodebüt von Anand Tucker gesehen hatten. Empört äußerten sie sich über „Hilary & Jackie“ – Filmporträt über eine Kollegin – die Cellistin Jaqueline du Pré.
In einem gemeinsamen Leserbrief wendeten sie sich an die „Times“: Jacqueline werde fälschlich als „selbstsüchtig, verzogen und manipulierend“ dargestellt. „Dies ist nicht die Jacqueline du Pré, die wir als ihre Freunde und Kollegen kannten.“ Wie sehr die berühmten Musiker tatsächlich Einblick in die Privatsphäre, Nöte, und Eigenwilligkeiten der Künstlerin hatten, ist kaum zu ermessen. Wer es wissen müsste, sind die Autoren des 1977 entstandenen Buches „A Genius in the Family“, die Geschwister Hilary und Piers du Pré. In ihrer Biografie zeigen sie „Jackie“ jenseits allen Mythos, aller Maske.
Die Rivalität der Schwestern steht im Vordergrund des gefühlsbeladenen Dramas. So ist zunächst die ältere Hilary (überragend dargestellt von Rachel Griffiths) der musikalische Star der Familie, bis die außergewöhnliche Begabung Jackies (Emily Watson) ungebremst zu Tage tritt. Bereits mit 16 erobert sie mit ihrem leidenschaftlichen Spiel die Musikwelt, während Hilary einen ganz „normalen“, neben dem schwesterlichen Giganten nicht immer leichten Weg geht. Sie heiratet Kiffer (David Morrissey) und zieht mit Mann und Kindern in ein idyllisches Häuschen aufs Land.
Der familiäre Kontakt ist marginal in dieser Zeit. Jackie, ständig auf Reisen, führt das Leben eines Musik-Genies mit allen Vorteilen und Entbehrungen. Nüchterne Hotelzimmer werden zwangsläufig zum einsamen Zuhause. Sie leidet so sehr, dass sie ihren Beruf zu hassen beginnt. Ein psychisches Ventil findet sie darin, das wertvolle Cello im Taxi zu „vergessen“, es ungeschützt größter Sonnenhitze oder schneidender Moskauer Kälte auszusetzen. Sie greift zu Tabletten, immer häufiger folgen unkontrollierte Wutausbrüche. Frustriert und ausgebrannt flieht sie eines Tages zu Hilary in die Idylle, die Normalität. Diese überwindet den letzten Rest „Besitzanspruchs“, als sie ihrer psychisch labilen Schwester nachgibt und selbst den Ehemann mit ihr teilt.
Spätestens hier fällt es schwer, die geschwisterliche Beziehung als gleichseitige anzuerkennen. Stark bis zum hysterischen Egoismus scheint nur Jackie zu sein. Sie fordert, sie bekommt. „Ich hätte das nicht tun können, wenn ich sie nicht geliebt hätte“, sagt Hilary du Pré heute und „ich hatte alles, wonach Jackie sich sehnte“. Hat nun Regisseur Tucker zu stark interpretiert, oder wie ist die ständige Präsenz von Rivalität, unterdrückter Aggression und Neid in der filmischen Umsetzung zu verstehen? Grenzenlose Liebe oder späte Rache? Selbst von ihrer Tochter erhält Autorin Hilary eine Ohrfeige. Clare Finzi behauptete in der „Times“, ihr Vater Kiffer sei ein „Aufreißer“ gewesen, kein Opfer weiblicher Lustgefühle. Das Buch zum Film, ein Wagnis? Die „Neue Zürcher Zeitung“ jedenfalls bezeichnet Hilarys Erinnerungen als „,Abrechnung' mit ihrer berühmten Schwester“.
Große Kälte beherrscht von nun an das Verhältnis. Auf dem Höhepunkt ihrer Karriere erkrankt Jackie und verliert mit 42 Jahren den Kampf gegen die Multiple Sklerose. Hier erwacht Dokumentarfilmer Tucker: Nicht nur das körperliche, auch das von Emily Watson meisterlich gespielte psychische Leid setzt er eindrucksvoll in Szene. Sympathien für die musikalische Ausnahmeerscheinung greifen endlich. Einsam, an den Rollstuhl gefesselt, hört Jackie ihre Aufnahmen – darunter die einzigartige Interpretation von Edward Elgars Cello-Konzert e-Moll – selbst nicht mehr fähig, einen Bogen auch nur zu halten. So viel Falsches sei über ihre Schwester geschrieben worden, erklärt die heute 55-jährige Hilary du Pré ihre Motivation für die Niederschrift eigener Erinnerungen. Was den Film anbelangt, bleibt kaum mehr, als der Eindruck eines soliden englischen Mainstream-Dramas.
Kritik aus den Nürnberger Nachrichten (5-8-1999)
Schon zu Lebzeiten genoss die englische Cellistin Jacqueline du Pré (1945–1987) fast mythischen Rang. Eine strahlende junge Frau, deren musikalisches Genie das Publikum verzauberte. Ihre Ehe mit dem Dirigenten Daniel Barenboim, den sie 22-jährig heiratete, war für die Musikwelt ein Triumph, der den Ruhm beider noch erhöhte. Der frühe Tod du Prés, die im Alter von 28 Jahren an multipler Sklerose erkrankte, machte das Bild einer Nationalheiligen perfekt.
Kratzer bekam das Bild schon bald. Aufruhr in Musikerkreisen provozierten jedoch erst die Geschwister Hilary und Piers du Pré, die 1997 das Buch „A Genius in the Family“ veröffentlichten. Das intime Familienporträt zeigte – ein Sündenfall – den Mensch hinter dem Mythos. Dass das Buch mit Einwilligung der Autoren verfilmt wurde, heizte die Wut noch an.
So viel Empörung verwundert angesichts von „Hilary & Jackie“, dem Kinodebüt des Briten Anand Tucker, und lässt vermuten, dass die Wortführer des Protestes eher die Sorge um den ungetrübten Glanz der großen Musikwelt antrieb als das sichere Wissen darum, dass die du Pré so nicht war, so egoistisch, verwöhnt und ungezogen, wie sie sie in dem Streifen dargestellt fanden. Denn Tucker zeichnet ein sensibles Porträt, diffamiert an keiner Stelle. Er erzählt von Aufstieg und tragischem Ende eines Stars, von einer jungen Frau, die vom rebellischen Geist der 60er Jahre erfasst wird, zwischen Aufbegehren, Ruhm und der Sehnsucht nach kleinbürgerlicher Geborgenheit hin- und hergerissen ist.
Der Film beginnt mit der wohlbehüteten Kindheit. Die ehrgeizige Mutter fördert das musikalische Talent ihrer beiden Töchter, von denen zunächst die Flötespielende Hilary die Begabtere zu sein scheint. In ihrem Eifer, es der großen Schwester nachzutun, erweist sich jedoch Jackie als das Wunderkind, das sich rasch in Sphären hineinspielt, in die ihr die Familie nicht mehr folgen kann. Dem unaufhaltsamen Trennungsprozess widersetzen sich die Schwestern anfangs durch eine eifersüchtig überwachte Liebe zueinander.
Doch die Symbiose zerbricht mit Jackies zunehmendem Erfolg. Konsequenterweise erzählt der Film beider Geschichten getrennt weiter. Die zweifache Sicht zeigt die Kluft, die sich zwischen der gefeierten Cellistin und ihrer inzwischen mit dem draufgängerisch-sympathischen Kiffer Finzi verheirateten Schwester auftut, und unter der vor allem Jackie leidet.
Ihre wachsende innere Not offenbart sich drastisch, als sie im Zustand des drohenden Zusammenbruchs in die ländliche Idylle flüchtet, in die sich Hilary mit ihrer Familie zurückgezogen hat. Dort bittet sie die Schwester, mit Kiffer Finzi schlafen zu dürfen; 16 Monate lang erträgt Hilary die Affäre. Vor allem diese Enthüllung empörte die Kritiker und stachelte sie zu dem Vorwurf an, der Film konzentriere sich zu sehr auf Sex, was er ganz gewiss nicht tut. Vielmehr zeigt diese Episode einen Menschen in existenzieller Angst, die sich nur durch einen absoluten Liebesbeweis lindern ließ.
Dass Tucker den Film mit einem abendfüllenden Konzertprogramm unterlegt, ist bei dieser Künstlerbiografie wohl unvermeidlich. Auch das von Barenboim dirigierte Cellokonzert von Edgar Elgar, dessen Einspielung durch du Prés einzigartige Interpretation zum Bestseller avancierte, setzt Tucker noch einmal in Szene.
Trotzdem driftet er nie in Sentimentalität ab. Das ist auch ein Verdienst seiner hervorragenden Hauptdarstellerinnen. Rachel Griffiths („Muriel's Wedding“) spielt die sanftmütige, opferbereite Hilary mit großer Empathie. Und der Kino-Shooting-Star Emily Watson verkörpert Jacqueline mit Leib und Seele. Mit bewegender Eindringlichkeit zeigt sie die anfängliche Freude über den Erfolg, den derben Humor, das unangepasste Temperament, dann die Zweifel, die Einsamkeit und schließlich den entwürdigenden körperlichen und seelischen Verfall. Dafür gab's, trotz des Aufruhrs in der Musikwelt, eine Oscar-Nominierung.
Friday, January 22, 1999
Du Pre film blasted by the critics
More musicians have condemned the film
A new film about the late cellist Jacqueline du Pre, which focuses on her love affair with her brother-in-law, is continuing to stir up controversy.
Hilary and Jackie, which had its European premiere in London on Wednesday night, is a warts and all chronicle of the life of Ms du Pre, a young genius whose career and life was cut short by multiple sclerosis.
It portrays her affair with her brother-in-law, which her sister Hilary said she allowed to continue because of her sister's frail emotional state.
But the film, which is based on Hilary's own book, has been criticised by fellow musicians and by many critics who have seen it.
Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, said the trouble was that Ms du Pre was not alive to defend herself and he said her sister's account could not be trusted.
Another critic said too many scenes were derivative of the Oscar-winning movie Shine.
A planned demonstration outside the Barbican on Wednesday petered out with only two protesters - Royal College of Music students Jo Shouler and Wen-Jeng Chen - turning up.
Leading musicians join the fray
Until now the film's chief critic has been musician Julian Lloyd-Webber who has condemned it as a "disgrace" to Jackie's memory. But five other leading musicians joined him this week by writing a letter of protest to The Times.
Lord Menuhin, Itzhak Perlman, William Pleeth, Mstislav Rostropovich and Pinchus Zukerman all knew and worked with Ms du Pre.
They wrote: "This is not the Jacqueline du Pre that we, as her friends and colleagues, knew."
The film has also caused a rift between Jackie's sister Hilary and her daughter Clare Finzi.
Ms Finzi said: "My mother now relates totally to the film. Her memory has become the film, and she cannot tolerate having me in the house because she cannot bear any other perspective."
"To say Jacqueline was the sole protagonist in this affair is simply untrue. It has been totally taken out of the context of my father's later affairs. "I think it is just impermissible to represent someone like that, especially when they are no longer around to fight their corner," she said.
Actress speaks out
But the star of the film, Emily Watson - nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance as the cellist - has hit back at the film's critics.
"I get upset when people imply that I don't have a huge amount of love and respect for Jacqueline du Pre, because I do.
"Let's not pretend that artists aren't sometimes messy people," she added.
"To me, she was an artist who had an emotional force field that was without boundaries. When you have that it slips over the edge. It's not a film about blaming anybody for anything.
"People are talking about this film as though we have raked through somebody's dustbins."
The film is based on Hilary du Pre's recollections in her book A Genius In The Family. Both Hilary and her brother Piers attended the premiere.
By Eugenia Zukerman
Sunday, April 25, 1999; Page X08
By Hilary du Pre and Piers du Pre
Ballantine. 350 pp. Paperback, $12.95
PRE: Her Life, Her Music, Her Legend
By Elizabeth Wilson
Arcade. 466 pp. $27.95
The English cellist Jacqueline du Pre was one of the most stunningly gifted musicians of our time. Tall, blonde and ebullient, du Pre would wrap herself around her cello and play with an intimacy and intensity that transported her audiences. She was a musical lioness, ferocious and playful, uninhibited and passionate. She was married to the powerhouse pianist/conductor Daniel Barenboim, a match that thrilled listeners around the world. But du Pre's dazzling international career was cut short by multiple sclerosis, and she died in 1987 at the age of 42, after a 14-year battle with the disease.
In 1968, Jackie and Daniel formed a trio with my first husband, the violinist Pinchas Zukerman. From the moment we met, the four of us, all newly wed and in our early twenties, spent much of our time together, traveling a world which seemed to be our oyster. I became a close friend of Jackie's, and, like others who knew her well, I have been outraged by reports of a book written by her siblings, Hilary and Piers du Pre, published in 1997 in England as A Genius in the Family: An Intimate Memoir of Jacqueline du Pre. It is being published now in the United States under the title Hilary and Jackie, a change no doubt calculated to capitalize on the mean-spirited movie based on the book. The English public already knew the triumph and tragedy that was Jacqueline du Pre's life, but the du Pre siblings caused a sensation by divulging in their book an affair between Jackie and Christopher (Kiffer) Finzi, Hilary du Pre's husband, an affair condoned by Hilary. Hilary and Piers claim that theirs is "not a biography nor an account of Jackie's career. It is simply what happened." But to read the book rather than the press clippings is to understand that it is not "simply what happened." It is what happened to Hilary du Pre, and it is hardly simple. Although she was complicit, Hilary's rendition of the affair between Jackie and Kiffer is written with the kind of revisionist hindsight that makes Hilary seem to be the sexually betrayed woman. It is in her mix of passivity, hostility, and self-pity that Hilary du Pre gives herself away.
The international appetite for distasteful revelations is insatiable, and Hilary and Jackie is being devoured by those looking for prurient details. There is more to the book, and less. Written with natural ease and narrated in turns by sister and brother, the story is engaging. Hilary du Pre's descriptive voice can be compelling. "The air was warm and balmy and still," she writes about the Cevennes in France. "The only sounds were creaking cicadas, twitching grasshoppers, and our breathing. The intense perfumes of the wild herbs as we trod them underfoot made us feel almost drunk." The du Pres used family archives and documents, including letters from Jackie, and drawings and compositions by their mother that inform us about the cellist's training and early career. We are privy to family baby talk and conversations, albeit remembered from at least a quarter of a century earlier. Jackie's heartbreaking death, which sadly coincided with their parents' illnesses and deaths, is told with a compassion tinged with an odd distance. The central point the du Pres seem intent on making is, as we are told in Chapter One, that Jackie's was "a genius which had been destructive not only to her personally but also to our family." That negative slant stated early on warns the reader that the writers' agenda will be to try to knock their sister off her pedestal.
Jacqueline du Pre was born in 1945, the second child of Derek du Pre, an accountant, and Iris, his pianist/composer/educator wife. Taught by their mother, the du Pre sisters both enjoyed their early training. Hilary, three years older than Jackie, showed musical ability, but when Jackie picked up a cello at the age of five, she quickly exhibited the kind of prodigious gift that would outshine her big sister's.
Throughout these childhood reflections, Hilary lets us know how hard it was for her to be considered second fiddle. "Jackie had higher marks than me," 11-year-old Hilary laments when Jackie, then 8, outdid her in a festival competition. In 1953 both Hilary (then a pianist, now a flutist) and Jackie performed in the same concert. After Jackie's performance, "the audience rose to its feet as the cameras clicked. Why wasn't I there too? . . . I was crying and felt bereft and completely forgotten."
The contribution of Piers du Pre, Jackie's younger brother, who now runs a telecommunications business, is meager and muted compared to Hilary's, but he manages to let the reader know how his sister Jackie's great gifts made him, too, feel very small. "What about me?" he petulantly remarks. The fuss about their sister escalated. Soon Hilary was being greeted with, "Hello Hilary, how's your wonderful sister?" As Hilary writes, "I was becoming acutely aware that I was being bypassed." What Hilary de Pre does not seem to be acutely enough aware of is how sour her recollections of sibling rivalry sound. She gives grand importance to even a simple sandbox battle, for which she thought she was wrongly blamed ("I couldn't believe it. It was Jackie's fault, not mine").
The du Pres do take pains to let us know how proud they were of their sister and that they loved her. Hilary tells us about Jackie's "exuberant personality, her roguish sense of humor, her crazy observations about people and life." She lets us know that "Jackie was at heart an English country girl, gauche and unworldly. She loved nature and walking in the rain, and was at her happiest with simple things."
It was simple things that Jackie longed for when, in 1971, she had an emotional crisis, possibly brought about by the undetected beginnings of her disease. Unhappy and overwhelmed by the whirlwind international traveling and performing schedule, she left husband Danny's side and took refuge with Hilary and Kiffer at their farm. Although Hilary would like us to believe that Jackie instigated the affair, it is Hilary who seems to have pushed a very confused Jackie toward her husband. "How about a quick walk with Kiffer, Jack, while we collect the eggs?" Hilary suggested to her. We are told that Jackie "always did feel better when she'd had a walk and a talk with Kiffer . . . She was able to unburden herself on Kiffer, knowing that he made her feel safe." So safe, in fact, that soon they were in bed together, with Hilary's knowledge and silent acceptance. Having played the victim before the affair even began, Hilary remained passive once it started. When her husband told her, "our aim in all of this is to help make Jackie better," instead of smacking him in the head, Hilary answered, "I know."
No one will know what truly motivated Hilary du Pre to tell her version of the nine months in 1971 when her husband and Jacqueline du Pre were intimate. The disclosure is a violation of the deceased and a sibling betrayal that simply boggles the mind, not to mention that Hilary's grown children cannot feel honored by this damaging confessional. "I loved her so much but had been profoundly hurt by her," Hilary protests. But to read the book is to know that the injured party here is Jacqueline du Pre.
Fortunately an antidote to the offensiveness of Hilary and Jackie has just been published. Its publisher calls Jacqueline du Pre: Her Life, Her Music, Her Legend, by cellist and writer Elizabeth Wilson, "the definitive biography of one of the best-loved musicians of the twentieth century." Whether or not it is definitive is debatable, but it is certainly thorough and comprehensive, filled with substantiated facts and fine observations. When Wilson writes, "unfortunately, it is all too easy for a journalist to misrepresent or readers to misinterpret the words and ideas of another person," it reflects the care she took to tell Jackie's true story. Daniel Barenboim, who "trusted [the author] to undertake the task," is widely quoted throughout the book, as are many friends and musicians, myself included. Information abounds regarding Jackie's personal and professional life, and medical explanations help the reader understand the physical and psychological progression of the disease that sent her spinning from euphoria to lethargy to depression, and finally devastated her.
Elizabeth Wilson writes ably about music and music making. Cellists in particular will find her detailed analysis of Jackie's tone and technique instructive. She also ably chronicles Jackie's concerts, recordings, and musical circle. As for the personal side, there is much more of the Jackie I knew and remember in Wilson's book, but sometimes her almost worshipful tone creates a distance from her subject, and the chronological and linear storytelling is predictable instead of fascinating. The author, who was also a friend of Jackie's, writes about her with great affection and admiration. But it is quotes from Jackie's fellow musicians, like Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, John Williams and Zubin Mehta, that provide the most poignant perspectives about her. "When a cellist is really great, as in Jackie's case," cellist Mischa Maisky says, "the sound emanates not from the instrument and not from the mind, but from something within -- the heart or the soul -- and it is united with the instrument."
Wilson delicately and honestly handles the period that Jackie spent with her sister and brother-in-law in a menage a trois. She describes Kiffer Finzi as "an unorthodox figure, somewhere between a gentleman farmer and a 1970's hippy." Jackie became involved with him because, "having lost faith in her marriage, she now sought male protection elsewhere." Wilson writes that "within a year . . . [Jackie] came to regard her brother-in-law as a man who wielded his authority in a manipulative way and who had taken advantage of a woman in a distraught state."
Later in her life, through psychoanalysis, Jackie was able to understand what Wilson calls "a recurring pattern in her life of dependence and submission followed by rebellion" and to take responsibility for herself. Certainly Jackie always took responsibility for her music-making, and she absolutely loved to play the cello. She was passionate about life and music and nature. "I love the physical thing of being on the earth that bore you," she said in an interview. "I have the same feeling when I walk in a very beautiful place that I have when I play and it goes right. Playing lifts you out of yourself into a delirious place . . ."
That delirious place is where Jackie will be lovingly remembered, wrapped around her cello, playing with joy and abandon. Zubin Mehta best summed up the uniqueness of Jacqueline du Pre when he compared her to "the lightning passage of a comet which, with remarkably intensity -- but all too briefly -- illuminated our lives."
Eugenia Zukerman, a flutist and television arts commentator, is also the author of two novels and co-author of a nonfiction book.