I know, here I am yapping about cello music again. I can’t help it. It’s another gray November day and nothing accompanies gray November days better than cello music.

My favorite 46 seconds of cello music is from the first movement of the Elgar cello concerto. The late cellist Jacqueline Du Pre made this piece famous in 1962 when she first performed it as a teenager (unfortunately she was diagnosed with MS in her late 20s and had to stop playing. She died at age 42). The way Du Pre plays this section of the movement usually makes me cry so I don’t listen to it often, because I don’t want to desensitize myself to it.

I recently studied videos of Du Pre, Yo-Yo Ma and newcomer Alisa Weilerstein (she’s 28 and hailed as the next Yo-Yo Ma) performing the first movement (specifically my favorite 46 seconds of that movement). I still think Du Pre performs it the best, with Alisa a close second. I made my four daughters watch the four clips and three of them say Alisa’s is the best.

Here is Jacqueline playing the first movement (begin at the 2:10 mark and continue until 2:56):

Here’s Alisa Weilerstein. Continue until the 52 second mark:

An here’s Yo-Yo. Start at 2:20 and continue until 3:05:

A side note: Daniel Barenboim was the conductor for all three performances. He was married to Jacqueline Du Pre, so one wonders what he was feeling during the Ma and Weilerstein performances.

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