Jacqueline DuPre plays Elgar
For me, the key attraction of this CD is Ms. DuPre, whose playing of the Elgar concerto has become so legendary, that it is still a strong favorite. My sense is that my excitement about this interpretation has to do with the performer’s passion! Of course, it begins with the magic of Elgar’s music. However, Ms. DuPre completely “owns” this music, not just by her sheer intensity, but because she uses her energy and her musical imagination to turn the solo Cello into the composer’s voice.
Ms. DuPre brought to the piece not only her great virtuosity as a cellist, but also a deep element of feeling. There was in her playing a sense of romantic freedom, and an intensity of purpose that were really unique. It is a great loss for us that she had to stop playing at age 28, and ultimately died at age 42 of Multiple Sclerosis.
This live performance was taped in 1970, and even 40 years later, it is still capable of provide terrific satisfaction.
In addition, we get a wonderful performance of Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations’, which is also a long-term favorite of mine. As in the Cello concerto, one can hear Elgar’s excursions into great sadness, and I will always recall how this composition was played at Carnegie Hall by the Chicago Symphony, as conducted by Daniel Barenboim, to honor the life of Georg Solti, who had died a short time prior to that concert.