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Jacqueline Du Pré Christopher Nupen films
Opus Arte/Allegro OACN0902 D

The heart of this DVD is a restored version of the Christopher Nupen film Jacqueline Du Pré And The Elgar Cello Concerto, made with Jacqueline's cooperation after she was unable to play; the first nine minutes are in colour, the historical material in black and white, including a treasurable complete performance of Elgar's Cello Concerto, with the New Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by her husband, the very young Daniel Barenboim. It is a delight to see the almost conspiratorial smiles she gives him from time to time.

This is a marvellous souvenir for older collectors, of an iconic young cellist who still holds the affection of the nation, as do others who died young and tragically, such as Kathleen Ferrier and Princess Diana.

Nupen's 1985 film The Ghost (Beethoven's Piano Trio Op 70, No. 1) is less satisfactory for its camera work, restless, overdoing close-ups and rarely allowing you to watch the trio as a whole.

The interviews give welcome opportunities to hear speak again many who were important for Du Pré, especially her main teacher William Pleeth. The Extras are a mish-mash compilation of more and less relevant bits and pieces. Lots of good photos in the booklet.

Jacqueline Du Pré Celebration

Allegro DVD A 07CN D

There will likely be no end to the recycling of Christopher Nupen's material from his copious filmings in the golden age of Barenboim, Du Pré and their group of young geniuses.

This one is a three and a quarter hour compilation which tends to be rather repetitive, especially in the personal tributes to Jacqueline paid by her friends and colleagues.

There are some good clips and musical excerpts, e.g. of Jaqueline playing a Clementi piano sonata with competence and flair, but many of them are just fill-ins. Nupen does not show himself to be a good interviewer and some will deplore the release of a stilted interview with Jacqueline in her wheel-chair during later life.

It will find its market, but is not a DVD to which we are likely to return. Better to invest in the earlier one with a black & white film of a complete performance of the Elgar concerto by Jacqueline Du Pré at her peak. http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/reviews/cddvd/Du%20Pre.htm

Peter Grahame Woolf

© Peter Grahame Woolf