Why Piano Students Should Know Jacqueline Du Pre’s Playing of—Piano!

Because it’s a delight. The Curmudgeon comments, “Playing the cello, she sometimes seemed to be playing a different instrument from others. It’s interesting, though, that her piano-playing showed the same musicality as her cello playing, including the long line, the uninterrupted continuity, the authority.

“She played the piano darned well, but could not possibly have put the time into it that she devoted to the cello, so not a fully developed technique. Still, the music comes through; and it’s memorized; and she’s talking to Barenboim while playing. She was a one-in-a-bazillion talent. At one point, she auditioned for Rostropovich, the objective being to study with him. He told her, ‘You already play better than I do; I have nothing to teach you.’ Maybe an over-statement, but it’s known how much he thought of her. That this genius died so young is hard to understand.”

Like all enthusiasts, I had to get in my two cents worth; and I wrote, “Aw, come on, Curmudge! Her piano-playing does more than just ‘come through.’ It’s superbly musical and effortlessly pianistic… It sings, it dances; one isn’t used to hearing Kuhlau played so well. Be honest: Don’t you think any teacher would leap to have her as a student, unless the teacher felt unworthy of such a student, or incompetent to teach such a gigantic gift? How seldom does any music-making convey such direct pleasure!”

Copyright © James Boyk 2013. All rights reserved.
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