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.

It’s about the “tune”

As I get older, and hopefully wiser, it has become apparent to me how the best solution to any given problem is simplicity.

As a musician and writer of songs it has become self evident that the key to any memorable piece is the “tune.” Simplicity is a primary ingredient in this case but because the public has heard nearly every combination of melodic possibilities the new challenge is to make a twist which confounds natural expectations. This “twist” can be melodic, harmonic or rhythmic. The element of surprise is what makes a difference and, of course, maintaining some sort of atmospheric charm. On my best “tunes” I get there.

In the end, I feel the most fulfilled by crafting a short, concise piece of music that is hauntingly familiar but altogether new. And if that statement seems presumptuous I apologize but it is just how I really feel.