agosto 24, 2008

JACQUELINE DU PRÉ AND THE SUGGIA GIFT

J du Pre 1.jpg
[…] In the meantime, Pleeth was so impressed by Jackie’s remarkable progress on the cello that after a year of study with him he suggested she should compete for the Suggia Gift award, open to cellists up to the age of twenty-one. By winning the award when she was only eleven Jackie's talents were publicly recognised, implying a full-scale commitment to music. Jackie’s general education was now officially regarded as subordinate to music and this in itself set her yet further apart her contemporaries at school.
Apart from recognition, the award of the Suggia Gift provided the means to pay for Jackie's cello lessons over the next six years. It was eminently suitable that her musical education should be financed by the posthumous generosity of Guilhermina Suggia. The Portuguese cellist became one of the first women to achieve international recognition in a previously male-dominated profession. Her haughty and dramatic image has been immortalised for us in Augustus John’s portrait, which now hangs in the Tate Gallery. Draped in the luxuriant folds of her wine-coloured dress, the cellist sits with head thrown back, chin jutting defiantly. Her right arm stretches out regally, if not quite in accordance with the rules of good bowing technique. As Robert Baldock comments in his biography of Casals, '[the painting] dealt conclusively with the suggestion that the cello was not an elegant instrument for women. In view of the growing number of female virtuosi of the instrument today it is extraordinary to think that until relatively recently women were discouraged from playing the cello at all because of the unladylike posture it required. At best, they were allowed to play 'side-saddle', with their legs squeezed together at the left of the instrument, a pose guaranteed to make the player uncomfortable and tense. In recent history Paul Tortelier recorded that his first (female) teacher adopted this position.
Born of Portuguese-Italian parentage, Suggia made her début aged seven in her native town of Porto. She was ten years old when she first played for Casals in 1898, but her close association with him came eight years later when, after a brief period of study with Klengel she arrived on his doorstep in Paris and became not only his favourite student, but his companion and lover. For five years their domestic and musical lives were inextricably linked. Eugene Goossens claimed that the two cellists were near equals, and remembered an occasion when Casals and Suggia took their cellos behind screens at a party in a private London house and asked the assembled company to guess which of them was playing - a task in which most people failed. Gerald Moore, who accompanied Suggia on many occasions, recalled that she “... gave an impression of boldness, romance and colour. She persuaded you her playing was passionate and intense, but the reverse was the case: it was calculated, correct and classical.”
Casals and Suggia performed concerts together and premièred the Hungarian composer Emanuel Moór's Concerto for Two Cellos, written specially for them. Donald Tovey, another composer whom Casals promoted and admired, proved to be the unwitting cause of the final split between the couple at Casals' Spanish retreat at San Salvador. After the break-up of their relationship Suggia moved to London, which remained her principal base until before the Second World War. She was to perform more in England than in any other country.
From: “Jacqueline du Pré – Her Life, Her Music, Her Legend” – of ELIZABETH WILSON –Arcade Publishing – New York


Publicado por vm em 10:17 AM | Comentários (0)