Barenboim on Beethoven 8: The A Major Cello Sonata

With Jacqueline du Pré — A film by Christopher Nupen

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Fifty years after its recording, this previously unreleased footage affords us a precious opportunity to discover a new performance by Jacqueline du Pré. Christopher Nupen’s skillful direction, as always, makes this more than a typical concert film—alongside the young Barenboim’s mischievous spirit and crystalline legato, it captures the effortless musicality and irrepressible joy that have made generations of music lovers fall in love with du Pré.

Much has been made of a first-edition inscription by Beethoven on his Op. 69 Cello Sonata: inter lacrimas et luctum, “between tears and grief.” Barenboim cautions against relying too much on biography to make sense of music—and indeed, this brilliantly wrought work, often credited as the first cello sonata to put the cello and piano on equal footing, is one of Beethoven's finest, suffused with exuberance and playfulness.

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