18 November 2016

Published November 16, 2016 by rochellewisoff

Erie Canal

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Flowers from the Hill ThoreauThe next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Björn Rudeberg

PHOTO PROMPT © Björn Rudberg

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Genre: (Recent) Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


            Unable to lift her head, Jacqueline watched her husband sit at the piano.  “Please, play Brahms for me.”

            As he performed the lilting sonata, she imagined her cello strings against her fingers and felt the weight of the bow. With wide vibrato her now lifeless fingers slid from one note to the next.

            Daniel finished and sank down on a chair beside the bed.  

            A tear trickled from her eye. “Do you remember the night we met?”

            “I tried to accompany you.” He smiled. “It never dawned on you how difficult it was for us mere mortals to follow you.”




Jacqueline du Pré and Daniel Barenboim

CLICK to learn more. 😉

When the research thread led me to Jacqueline du Pré I was immediately taken captive. Her talent, presence and tragic story sucked me in. Finding a short clip was next to impossible. The conductor is her husband Daniel Barenboim. I realize that classical music isn’t everyone’s style so there’s no need to feel obligated to watch the video. Shalom, Rochelle

104 comments on “18 November 2016

    • Dear Loré,

      Such a talent wasted. Some things I’ll never understand. I watched an interview with David Barenboim years after the fact. Although he’s moved on, remarried and a good life, when he spoke of Jacquelin, the longing and sorrow were still there. I’m glad that came through. Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Grasshopper,

      I’m not sure I’d call myself a teacher, but I’m highly flattered that you do. This one has garnered a bit of controversy this week. On the other hand, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Thank you for your sweet words.




  • You truly are the Queen of flash fiction. I am surrounded by people with MS and one of them, a dear one, lost his ability to play the guitar. So unfair this world we live in where a give is given, only to be taken away.
    You truly brought us right into the heart of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale,

      A few years back I did some proofreading and typing for an author with MS by the name of Paul Levy. He founded an organization in Kansas City called the Whole Person. He had the most amazingly positive attitude and did all he could to help others who were disabled. I thought a lot about him as I wrote this.

      Thank you for your kind words as always.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Querida Rochelle,
    I’m in the small group that adores classical music. Yes, she is a phenomenal talent.
    You created an evocative story of a highly skilled talent that was silenced too soon.
    Muy bueno, mi amiga, como siempre.
    Great photograph prompt this week. It’s bringing forth many, unusual stories.
    Thank you for being our gracious hostess.
    Adios y Abrazos,
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • Querida Isadora,

      Muchas gracias mi amiga. Your comments mean so much and I enjoy the bilingual exchange although you’re way ahead of me. 😉 Glad you like the story and I’m happy to know we share a love for classical music.

      Shalom y abrazos,


      Liked by 1 person

      • Querida Rochelle,
        I’m having a fun time with the language exchanges, too. Thank you for playing along with my interest of sharing languages. You do quite well, my dear. 👍🏻😊
        I’m delighted I was able to find your wonderful blog. It’s a blog that pushes us all to be greater writers. ❤️
        Abrazos y Shalom,
        Isadora 😎


  • Dear Rochelle

    Beautifully written, yet so full of sorrow. There’s no justice in this world, or maybe not one that we’ll understand in this lifetime. Jacqueline was sheer genius, the only compensation being that her untimely illness and tragic death at such a young age has immortalised her in our minds.

    As a break from my usual speculative fiction pieces, I’ve written about a genius female cellist this week, too, but thankfully one that’s still going strong.

    All best wishes


  • Rochelle, hope your trip to my neck of the woods is going well (what brings you west?) and you’re having some fun in the sun, to boot!

    You really capture the pathos and tragedy, without spelling it all out. Wonderful nuance. Lovely story, and curse you for pulling me down the rabbit hole, when I have so many other things to do! Very interesting stories, and wonderful video! Shabbat shalom. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  • Jacqueline du Pre inspired me to learn the cello when I was a child. In a strange way she was also the cause of me giving it up. I loved it so much – the sound, the tone, and especially how she played it – that nothing I made mine do could ever be good enough…. I still adore the instrument though, and Jacqueline du Pre’s version of Elgar Cello’s Concerto is my favourite piece of music (though I love her Brahms too). I will never tire of it. I just loved how your beautiful piece made me think of all that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Louise,

      My thanks cannot match your wonderful comment. I’ve often felt the same way when I compare my artwork to other artists and my writing to Geraldine Brooks. I hope you still play at least for enjoyments. Thank you again.




  • Dear Rochelle,
    I’m afraid I find this piece too sweet given what we now know of the chronology of Baremboin’s family life. This is not a judgment on him but I do think the truth here is far more complex than 100 words can convey.


    • Dear Miranda,

      Mostly what I went on for this piece was a lengthy interview with Daniel Barenboim on David Frost. He admits to having problems and also having another woman while Jacqueline was still alive. But he claimed that he remained her care taker to the end and was at her side when she passed. You’re right, far too complex for 100 words as most lives are. Mostly I was going for what it must’ve felt like to have been robbed of all functionality.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Wonderful and poignant story though looking up her life I discovery a lot more complexity in her life. Barenboim was conducting an affair with the Russian pianist Elena Bashkirova, later his wife. It was an open secret that they were living together in Paris during the last eight years of du Pré’s life, and had two sons, although he continued to care for du Pré in London. Her sister Hilary also wrote a book stating that Jacqueline had 16-month affair she had with Hilary’s husband, Kiffer Finzi, in the early Seventies. But all said and done she was a great musician with the briefest of career span.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Subroto,

      While I knew these things, it still seemed right to present the end of her life as I did. The fact is that he was there at Jacqueline’s bedside when she died. From what I found on the research trail, there was some doubt on the affair with Hilary’s husband. Yes, all was not roses…and this is, after all, historical FICTION. “Conducting an affair.” 😉 Good one Subroto. Thank you.




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