Celebration Day — twenty-six

Many lives stay with us in spirit, memory, lessons, inspiration. Some stay with us even as measuring kingdoms.

Jacqueline Mary du Pré was born in Oxford, Oxfordshire, on the twenty-sixth of January of 1945. She could have never known that she, and her year would never be forgotten, and both would become significant in the annals of this planet.

She lived a short but intense life.

Mstislav Rostropovich, Pablo Casals, Yo-Yo Ma, and du Pré are to be found on any list, attempting to single out the most important humans ever to have mastered the cello.

In her mid 20s she began losing sensitivity in her hands and parts of her body, due to multiple sclerosis. Her last public performance took place in New York, in 1973. She died on October 19th of 1987 in London.

In particular through her historic recordings and live performances of Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, she lives on, often as master example of how to play the piece.

She left behind the only cello built by Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) in 1673, known as the 1673 Stradivarius, later named the Du Pré Stradivarius. Another cello of hers, the Davidov Stradivarius, was passed on to Yo-Yo Ma after her death.

Today I celebrate her. Today I am listening to her.

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