Sometimes we can know more about great artists than is good for us. I
didn't know who Barenboim and du Pré were before Hilary
and Jackie came out. Jacqueline du Pré was that
Jackie, the brilliant, unorthodox, unstable and eventually tragic
cellist played by Emily Watson; Daniel Barenboim was her husband, an
equally brilliant pianist who may or may not have been quite the
self-absorbed and unsupportive tool described in the book. Their
performances together on this album are exactly what I would expect of
two such virtuosos (virtuosi?). But can I forget what I know,
or at least what I have been told, and focus on the music? Even with
music as soaring as this, the distance and the looming tragedy seem
to seep into the work. I can't decide if it's better to know or not.
But not hearing the performance; that would be yet another tragedy.