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Dinu Lipatti

Dinu Lipatti

Dinu Lipatti

*19 III 1917 Bukareszt, †2 XII 1950 Genewa

Constantin (Dinu) Lipatti - was the son of a violinist and pianist; his godfather was the eminent Romanian composer and violinist George Enescu. Lipatti began studying the piano at the age of 4 with Michail Jora. In 1928-32, he studied at the G. Lazăr Music Academy in Bucharest in the class of Florica Musicescu. In 1934 he won the 2nd Prize at a piano competition in Vienna (1st Prize going to Bolesław Kon); in protest against this decision, Alfred Cortot left the competition's jury. Lipatti continued his piano studies with Cortot at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, where his other teachers included Nadia Boulanger (piano), Paul Dukas (composition) and Charles Munch (conducting). In 1939 he returned to Romania, but settled in Geneva in 1943 where he headed the piano class at the Conservatoire until 1949. He died of leukemia at the age of 33.

Despite his premature death, Lipatti is considered among the leading pianists of the 20th century. In his style, he combined a virtuoso freedom and panache with classical restraint and proportion. His classicist aesthetics was also evident in his repertoire, which centered around the works of Bach, Mozart and Schubert. Of historical importance are also his performances of Bartók (Piano Concerto No. 3). Lesser known is Lipatti's output as a composer: in a neo-classical style with elements of Romanian folk music, it makes use of advanced harmonic means. Lipatti left a piano concerto, Romanian dances for piano and orchestra, and works for solo piano.

Lipatti's early death resulted in a limited discography. Most of his recordings have been published on 6 CDs by EMI (Bartók's Concerto and Lipatti's own compositions are available on Archiphon). Among the most successful interpretations are Bach's choral preludes and the Partita in B flat major BWV825, Mozart's Sonata in A minor K310, a colourful, virtuoso Alborada del gracioso by Ravel and Liszt's Sonetto 104 del Petrarca and Concerto in E flat major (1948), benchmark versions of Schumann's Concerto in A minor (with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Herbert von Karajan, 1947) and Grieg's Concerto in A minor (with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Ernest Ansermet), Enescu's Sonata in D major Op. 25.

Lipatti's Chopin interpretations have a great historical importance. In a style reminiscent of the classical masters such as Brailovsky and Rosenthal, he played Chopin with outstanding elegance, light touch, and a sensitivity to colour, but also with high drama (such as in the Sonata in B minor) and virtuosity. His style was later picked up by Martha Argerich. Lipatti recorded the Sonata in B minor, Barcarolle, Etudes Op. 10 No. 5 and Op. 25 No. 5, Mazurka in C sharp minor Op. 50 No. 3, Nocturne in D flat major Op. 27 No. 2, and two complete sets of waltzes (studio recording and live recording from Besançon, both 1950), considered a rendition of the genre equalled only by Alfred Cortot. Lipatti's well received recording of the Concerto in E minor with the Tonhalle Zürich under Otto Ackermann eventually proved to be a hoax: the recording is actually by Halina Czerny-Stefańska (1955).

Wojciech Bońkowski

February 2007 


Bibliography (selection; excluding books in Romanian)
Benoît Mailliet Le Penven, Dinu Lipatti ou l'amitié de la grâce : essai, Balland, Paris 2001
Dragoş Tănăsescu, Grigore Bărgăuanu, Dinu Lipatti, Kahn & Averill, London 1996
Anna Lipatti, La douleur de ma vie, Perret-Gentil, Geneva 1967
Anna Lipatti, La vie du pianiste Dinu Lipatti écrite par sa mère, Éditions du Vieux Colombier, Paris 1954
Discography:
http://my.dreamwiz.com/fischer/Lipatti/discography-lipatti.htm

 
Dinu Lipatti in Youtube:
Lipatti Dinu Barcarolle,
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Lipatti Dinu Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op. 50 No. 3
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Lipatti Dinu Nocturne in D flat major,
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Lipatti Dinu Piano concerto in E minor,  1st movement
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Lipatti Dinu Piano concerto in E minor,  2nd movement
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Lipatti Dinu Piano concerto in E minor,  3rd movement
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Lipatti Dinu Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, 1st movement

Recorded in 1947. 

 

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Lipatti Dinu Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, 2nd movement

Recorded in 1947.

 

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Lipatti Dinu Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, 3rd movement

Recorded in 1947.

 

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Lipatti Dinu Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, 4th movement

Recorded in 1947.

 

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04:50
Lipatti Dinu Waltz in A flat major,
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Lipatti Dinu Waltz in A flat major, Op. 34 No. 1
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04:48
Lipatti Dinu Waltz in A flat major, Op. 64 No. 3
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02:52
Lipatti Dinu Waltz in A flat major [Op. 69 No. 1]
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Lipatti Dinu Waltz in B minor [Op. 69 No. 2]
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02:55
Lipatti Dinu Waltz in C sharp minor, Op. 64 No. 2
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01:49
Lipatti Dinu Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64 No. 1
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01:35
Lipatti Dinu Waltz in D flat major [Op. 70 No. 3]
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Lipatti Dinu Waltz in E flat major, Op. 18
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Lipatti Dinu Waltz in E minor
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Lipatti Dinu Waltz in G flat major [Op. 70 No. 1]
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