Search - Jacqueline du Pre In Portrait on DVD

Jacqueline du Pre In Portrait
Jacqueline du Pre In Portrait
Actor: Jacqueline du Pr
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
NR     2004     2hr 35min

The subject of the 1998 film "Hilary and Jackie" and gracing the cover of the August 2004 issue of Gramophone Magazine, the cellist Jacqueline du Pré remains as vibrant a figure in the public mind as she had been at the pi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Jacqueline du Pr
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Classical, Documentary
Studio: BBC / Opus Arte
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/21/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1996
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 2hr 35min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: German, French, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

A Valuable Documentary About A Legendary Cellist
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 10/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The tragedy of Jacqueline du Pré is well-known: a career cut short by multiple sclerosis at 28, death from the disease at 42. In the early years it seemed she would go on forever and have one of the greatest careers ever allowed a cellist. She DID have a great career, but it lasted a mere ten years. This DVD is a compilation of various filmed footage from that career. First, there is a long documentary, peppered with musical excerpts, about her life. This is then followed by a full performance of the concerto with which she was most associated, the Elgar. She is accompanied by her then-new husband, Daniel Barenboim, conducting the New Philharmonia Orchestra (as it was then called). The date of the performance does not seem to be anywhere in the associated booklet, but I judge it to be about 1968 or 1969. The performance, of course, is stupendous, as anyone who knows her legendary audio recording (with Sir John Barbirolli conducting the London Symphony Orchestra) will already know. She owned this concerto. She and Barenboim communicate almost by telepathy and one can see them shooting smiles back and forth at each other throughout the performance. One also sees glimpses of her parents in the audience, beaming.

The second performance is even more outstanding. It is du Pré, Pinchas Zukerman and Barenboim playing Beethoven's Piano Trio No. 5, the 'Ghost.' Filmed in St. John's, Smith Square, it is simply stupendous. The three instrumentalists are in complete emotional and musical sync. The second movement in particular is emotionally satisfying. One can see and hear split-second alterations in tempi and phrasing being communicated with tiny glances amongst the partners. (And they are so YOUNG!)

The documentary about du Pré's life includes interviews and musical snippets involving many of the people who figured in her life. She is shown playing cello duets with her teacher, William Pleeth; playing several pieces accompanied by her pianist mother, Iris du Pré; an excerpt from Bruch's 'Kol Nidrei,' accompanied by Barbirolli and the Hallé Orchestra; playing from the Second Brahms Cello Sonata, with Barenboim at the piano; something from the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto, with Barenboim conducting the New Philharmonia. There is an interview (the only thing here in color) done in 1982, several years after she had had to retire from the concert stage. There are interesting (and moving) introductions to the two complete musical performances by the film maker, Christoper Nupen, who was closely associated with her throughout her career and who not only filmed the musical sections but also put together the documentary portions of the DVD. Nupen was originally with BBC but left to form his own production company, Allegro Films, and apparently this is the first release of a projected Allegro series that will include DVDs featuring Vladimir Ashkenazy, Andrés Segovia, Zukerman, Itzhak Perlman, and many more artists right up to the present, e.g. Evgeny Kissin. Something to look for, this series.

For those of you who knew and loved the work of du Pré, this DVD is a must. For those of you who never knew her, this is a wonderful introduction to a truly great musician's work. And we will eventually get the Allegro DVD of her playing with the 'Israeli Mafia' (Zukerman, Perlman, Barenboim, and the 'honorary Israeli,' Zubin Mehta playing bass) in Schubert's 'Trout' Quintet. And more.

TT=155 min.; in English, with French, Spanish, German subtitles

Scott Morrison"
A Very Engaging Account
BLee | HK | 03/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A "musician-in-portrait" that I finished virtually in one breath and with the keenest interest.

I don't exactly know what makes this portrait so absorbing. But there is a rather full account of the background of Dupre. Both her parents came before the camera and particulatly her mother spoke on more than one occasion and she is so articulate. Du Pre, other than playing the cello in front of the camera, spoke a lot too, almost all through the footage. And despite her great talent, she was so sincere and unpretensious. She was even content to face the camera while her was in her wheel chair. And even by that stage, she was still striving to contribute to music, doing things like marking the fingering for the pieces etc. Needless to say, we see her at the cello a lot. And one regrets that these are all excerpts only. In any event, we are drawn in very naturally.

Her unbringing was extraordinary, so we are told in this portrait. Her mother was a concert pianist herself. Above all, her mother knew exactly how to mobilize her towards music. And there is one clip showing Du Pre playing one movement of a piano sonatina, which was quite fantastic. One must say, had she chosen the piano, she would also make a great pianist too. As a cellist, she was basically prepared by Pleenth. And there is a clip showing them playing a duo, again an excerpt only. And we are also told that she later went over to Paris taking a few lessons from Totelier. There is a very short clip showing her in Casals' masterclass. We are also told that she also took a few lessons from Rostropovich. Viewers have to note that the clips here have much in common with "Remembering Du Pre": almost half of them are the same, and even more came from the same occasions with the same people.

Amongst all the excerpts here, other than her Elgar, I was struck by her Schumann Sonata. There is some magic there that one really needs to check out, especially her fans...All in all, an inspiring portrait not to be missed."
Jacqueline du Pre
Hazel Smith | Sudbury, Ontario, Canada | 05/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Jacqueline du Pre fans should not be without this dvd. Christopher Nupen has put together a lasting tribute to a wonderful cellist. The biographical material is a retrospective of Jacquie's development as a musician "of rare and vanishing beauty". How poignantly evocative a statement!!! The dvd's culminating chapter is a complete rendition of the "Elgar Cello Concerto in E-minor". Daniel Barenboim conducts and Jacquie wrings our hearts with the passion of her playing. And if you enjoy this dvd, then you will love another Nupen dvd that puts Jacquie, Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zuckerman, Itzhak Perlman, and Zubin Mehta together playing Schubert's "Trout"( The Greatest Love and The Greatest Sorrow). Jacquie is 24-all of them are in their twenties-and they all have so much fun while dazzling the audience with their talented playing. I never tire of watching and listening to both these dvds and I intend to buy them as Christmas presents for some of my friends."