Jacqueline du Pre
Saint-Saens' Cello Concerto No. 1 and Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104.
Jacqueline du Pre, cello; Philadelphia Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim conducting; Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sergiu Celibidache conducting.
Two good things that came out of the sensational but inaccurate biopic Hilary and Jackie were a renewed awareness of Jacqueline du Pre, the great British cellist who died of multiple sclerosis in 1987, and whispers of great, unpublished live-performance tapes. The latter were legally controlled by her widower, Daniel Barenboim, and now have begun to come out on Teldec, the label for which he records.
The Saint-Saens concerto was published a year ago on the Philadelphia Orchestra Centennial Collection. But even for du Pre fans who have that recording, this one is worth getting for the Dvorak, conducted by the sometimes-great Sergiu Celibidache. Individually, he and du Pre opened up new, vivid vistas of emotional expression. Though together they may strike some as self-indulgent and overly flexible, there is nothing quite like it. Du Pre remakes the concerto into a personal, unforgettable soliloquy, and Celibidache supports her every inch of the way, reflecting and magnifying her interpretive thoughts in the orchestral accompaniment.
- David Patrick Stearns