Who Was du Pré?

A film by Christopher Nupen

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Jacqueline du Pré

Janet Baker — Mezzo-soprano

Pinchas Zukerman

Fou Ts' ong

Daniel Barenboim — Conductor

Program notes

Jacqueline stopped playing the cello when she was 28 years old: a victim of multiple sclerosis. She died at the age of 42, after 14 years of unremitting illness. Her story is so unusual, her gift so unexplainable and the sudden and tragic end to it so beyond understanding that the world had to invent its own myths and then, as the years went by, to embellish them. In the process the stories have projected an image of her character that bears less and less resemblance to the real person – who so caught the public imagination and who meant so much to so many people. Who was the real Jacqueline du Pré?

Christopher Nupen has gathered a collection of interviews with the relatives and friends of one Jacqueline du Pré, including Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman, Zubin Mehta, Toby Perlman, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Fou Ts'ong, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau... Their memories draw a portrait of one of the most beloved musicians in the history.

"I always used to call her a wild Mustang when she played. Once, I saw her when Daniel and I visited her, and there on the undulating hills of Southern England, I saw Jackie running up and down these hills. My impression of her with the cello as being a wild Mustang was even more substantiated because that's what she was – in the hills! Running with this short little frock and the blonde hair flowing behind her. I said, "You see, I always told you you are a wild Mustang!"
Zubin Mehta

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