Pinchas Zukerman, Jacqueline du Pré, and Daniel Barenboim perform Beethoven's "Ghost" Trio

A film by Christopher Nupen

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Program notes

Experience Daniel Barenboim, Jacqueline du Pré, and Pinchas Zukerman in one of the finest performances ever filmed of Beethoven's celebrated Piano Trio Op. 70, No. 1, known as "The Ghost".

According to French film and opera director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, the landmark performance seen here represents the most successful realization ever of a musical masterpiece on film. It was recorded in London's St John's Smith Square on May 12, 1970, in the early days of the Barenboim–du Pré–Zukerman Trio and before the onset of Jacqueline du Pré's illness, at a moment when the ensemble seemed certain to become one of the greatest piano trios of all time.

At the beginning of the film, the director includes a fascinating anecdote about the work, with the following words scrolling across the screen:

"In 1808, the composer and violinist Louis Spohr was invited to a rehearsal in Beethoven's house of the D Major Piano Trio Opus 70 No. 1, known as the 'The Ghost', and wrote of the occasion: 'It was not an enjoyable experience. First of all the piano was dreadfully out of tune, which did not trouble Beethoven in the least, since he could not hear it. Little or nothing remained of the brilliant technique which had been so much admired. In loud passages the poor deaf man hammered away at the notes crashing through whole groups of them so that without the score one lost all sense of the melody. I was deeply moved by the tragedy of it all. Beethoven's almost continual melancholy was no longer a mystery to me.' "

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