by Soo Kian Hing
was born in Bucharest, Rumania, on 19 March 1917, to wealthy and musical
parents: his father had studied violin under Sarasate and his mother was
a pianist and piano teacher. He began playing the piano as an infant and
made his public debut as pianist and composer at the amazingly young age
very wisely, avoided exploiting their child prodigy and had him study
at the Bucharest Conservatoire. At the same time, professors from the
university would come to his home to teach him as his weak health precluded
a formal school education. It was not until he was 17 that he left Bucharest
to embark on his musical career.
was awarded only Second Prize at the Vienna Piano Competition in 1934,
the great French pianist Alfred Cortot resigned from the jury in protest,
and personally invited Lipatti to Paris where he took the young pianist
under his wing. At the same time, Lipatti studied composition under Nadia
Boulanger and Paul Dukas, and conducting under Charles Munch.
returned to Rumania in 1939 and survived World War II in his fatherland.
He only fled the country near the end of the war with his fiancée Madeleine
Cantacuzene (later his wife and then widow), via Scandinavia, to Switzerland,
where at the Geneva Conservatoire he held the highest piano professorship
from 1944 to 1949. He concertized widely in Europe, including Switzerland,
France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Belgium and Holland, and his fame
and popularity grew rapidly. He was also much sought after as a teacher
for his masterclasses.
In the last six years of his life, Lipatti was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Yet his drive did not diminish and his playing never suffered. There were
even plans for a concert tour in America, but relapses caused it to be
cancelled. In his last year, his illness was kept at bay temporarily with
a new drug, cortisone - the cost of which devoted friends like Menuhin,
Munch and Stravinsky contributed no small amounts.
It was during
this remission that Lipatti, much against the advice of his doctors, decided
to honour his concert engagement and played his final recital at Besacon
on 16 Sept. Unfortunately, the leukaemia returned; Lipatti finally succumbed
and, as all his biographers would write, died a painful death in Geneva
on 2 December 1950, at the tragically young age of 33.
Lipatti's piano recital disc and recordings
of the Grieg and Schumann Piano Concertos have been chosen to be Vol.65
of Philips Great Pianists of the 20th Century series. This double-disc
package is now available on Philips 456 892-2 at budget-price (2 discs
for the price of one full-priced disc)! What are you waiting for??
250: 26.7.98. up.20.9.98
the Flying Inkpot
Resources at The Flying Inkpot
Dinu LIPATTI An Inktroduction
Dinu LIPATTI Great Pianists of the 20th Century
LIPATTI The Last Recital (EMI Références)
LIPATTI plays Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Ravel & Enescu (EMI Références).