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Elgar: Cello Concerto & Sea Pictures; Jacqueline Du Pre
Jacqueline Du Pre, Dame Janet Baker, Edward Elgar
Elgar: Cello Concerto & Sea Pictures; Jacqueline Du Pre
Genres: Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

This is rightly regarded as the finest recording of Elgar's attractive and elegiac Cello Concerto. It's held in almost irrationally high esteem in the UK, largely because of the universal affection for Jacqueline Du Pré,...  more »

     
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This is rightly regarded as the finest recording of Elgar's attractive and elegiac Cello Concerto. It's held in almost irrationally high esteem in the UK, largely because of the universal affection for Jacqueline Du Pré, the wife of Daniel Barenboim, whose early death from multiple sclerosis cut short what would have been a stellar career. This disc is equally noteworthy for Janet Baker's magnificent singing of the Sea Pictures, the composer's only orchestral song cycle. It's not Elgar's fault if the tune of the last song sounds like an excessively inflated version of "Hello, Dolly!" A classic then, even if neither work is a raging masterpiece. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

Elgar Cello Concerto with DuPre
KH | Chicago, IL | 04/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There is no greater recording of this piece--everything is flawless: peerless solo playing from DuPre, totally sympathetic accompaniment from Barbirolli, and recorded sound that sounds like it was done yesterday. The sheer emotion from both soloist and conductor is almost shocking--fierce, lamenting, nostalgic, wistful; whatever the piece calls for, they supply it. It's interesting how a very young soloist (DuPre was 20 when the recording was made) and an older conductor (Barbirolli was 66) should seem so sympatico with one another. Indeed, it's amazing how penetrating DuPre's interpretation is for someone so young--she doesn't just play the piece, she IS the piece!The cello concerto is one of the 2 or 3 greatest ever composed. Sea Pictures is a lesser work--not a masterpiece, but the performance here is so definitive that Baker and Barbirolli almost make it SOUND like a masterpiece. Mediocre poetry, very good music, and a great recording. Again, the sound is first class.For years, EMI had a series of recordings called "Great Recordings of the Century." This is surely one that earned the moniker."
But a few words
KH | 10/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There is just no finer recording of this work available. Jacqueline Du Pre owned this work like Rostropovich owns the Dvorak concerto. Frankly, I doubt it will ever be surpassed. Without question, one of the finest recordings ever produced and justly recognized as Ms. Du Pre's greatest artistic achievement. Dame Janet's recording of the "Sea Picture" only adds to the irresistibility of this CD. "Where Corals Lie" is nothing short of magical. Personally, I can never listen to it just the once. A minimum of three consecutive hearings is required in my house. Utterly charming music making. Barbirolli (not unlike Boult), understood Elgar's music like few other conductors. In short, BUY IT, TODAY!!!!"
Great DuPre, but Let's Not Forget Dame Janet!
KH | 02/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Given the popularity of Hillary and Jackie -- and the buzz that film has generated in the music bizz -- I'm sure that most people are buying this CD for Jacqueline DuPre's splendid rendering of the Elgar cello concerto. I certainly agree that her's is the best recording out there of Elgar's darkest and most heartbreaking work. But my particular interest in this recording is the "flip side" of the disc: "Sea Pictures." True, Elgar's only orchestral song set does not reach the level of Ravel's "Sheherazade" or even Berlioz' "Les Nuits d'Ete. However, there is plenty of substance in the 5 songs in the set and Dame Janet Baker's performance is truly wonderful. Her voice is incredibly flexible -- not just in the traditional sense of being able to sing many notes at lightspeed - but also being able to change color and shading at will to capture every nuance of the music. At the same time she doesn't try to create subtlety where it doesn't exist and the total effect is forthright, unpretentious, just right. I've been a fan of Dame Janet's for getting on for 30 years now and am delighted that this recording -- which showcases a great voice in its prime -- is available again."