Dinu Lipatti (1917-1950)

I am currently reading Lipatti by Dragos Tanasescu and Grigore Bargauanu. It is the only English biography based on the life of Romanian pianist and composer Dinu Lipatti and it has long been out of print. I managed to find a used library copy for sale at Amazon.
Dinu Lipatti (1917-1950) died at the tragically early age of 33 from Hodgkins Lymphoma. That disease was not as treatable in those days as it is now.

Though Lipatti is mainly known among classical pianists for a handful of great records like his recording of Ravel’s Alborado del gracioso and the album of the complete Chopin Waltzes he put together the summer before he passed on. His last concert was also recorded only three months before his death when he was so weak he could barely stand. That recording is also considered a “classic” it is called The Besancon Recital (1950).

He is much less known as a composer but recently the people who manage dinulipatti.com located some radio transcription recordings from the late 1940’s. Now it is possible to hear Lipatti’s compositions such as Concertino in Classical Style, Symphonie concertante, Les Tziagnes and Romanian dances. These recording (though rather rough considering the source) are great to hear because Lipatti himself plays the piano parts on many. They can be found at iTunes and on Youtube.

He truly was one of the last virtuoso pianist/composers. Prokofiev, who died three years later, was probably the very last. His music both as a performer and composer is well worth hearing.



Dinu Lipatti (1917-1950)

Dinu Lipatti was a Romanian classical pianist and composer. Though he recorded relatively little, some of his recordings (his Chopin Waltzes for example), are considered classic.

What people don’t readily recognize is that he was a very good composer. His “Concertino in Classical Style” is probably the best known of his works but even this piece is seldom heard. I also like “Les Tziganes” a symphonic suite from 1934 and the “Romanian Dances”.

These pieces are hard to find on record but some radio transcriptions with the composer as participant can be found online and are well worth checking out. He was a student of Nadia Boulanger and both Stravinsky and Cortot admired him as both a pianist and composer.

Lipatti suffered from lymphoma the last few years of his very short life at a time when little could be done for his condition. A live recording done just three months before he died is widely available that is entitled  “Final Recital at Besancon.”

It is said that he was gasping for air on this last concert but he bravely finished the concert and this recording is a testament to his greatness as a pianist and his extraordinary bravery. He achieved a lot during his 33 years in this quaint old vale of tears.

I wrote a short solo guitar piece called “Sasha and Dinu” which, in part, is in dedication to Dinu Lipatti.