Dinu Lipatti

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Dinu Lipatti (1 April [O.S. 19 March] 1917 – 2 December 1950) was a Romanian classical pianist and composer whose career was cut short by his death from causes related to Hodgkin's disease at age 33. He was elected posthumously to the Romanian Academy.


  • You see, it is not enough to be a great composer. To write music like that you must be a chosen instrument of God.
    • Listening Beethoven's F minor Quartet; Quoted by Walter Legge, in Walter Legge: Words and Music (1998) edited by Alan Sanders

Quotes about Lipatti

  • The Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti, just thirty-three when he died, made his precious few recordings while suffering from leukaemia and searching with increasing desperation for emergent cures. Despite his condition, there is nothing of the sickbed about his performances. A student of the iconoclastic Alfred Cortot, who did much to advance his career by word of recommendation, Lipatti’s crisp, witty articulation overturns the image of Chopin himself as a morbid melancholic, not long for this world. … Lipatti’s energy and optimism made even the gloomier waltzes in minor keys sparkle and sway. The run of B minor, E minor and A minor in the middle of the series amounts in his hands to a kaleidoscope of subtly shifting moods within a Chekovian stage set, dramatic and irresoluble.
    Lipatti went on after the recording to play a concerto in Lucerne and a solo recital in Besancon, but the respite was short lived and he was gone by Christmas. The few discs he left behind-Mozart and Schumann concertos with Karajan; a recital of Bach, Mozart, Schubert and Chopin; and the Chopin waltzes and nocturnes-reveal a pianist of expressive genius who nonetheless allowed the music to speak for itself. Although Rubinstein and Horowitz were more celebrated in Chopin, Lipatti was the pianists’ Chopin pianist.
    • Norman Lebrecht, The Life and Death of Classical Music (2007), Part II: Masterpieces: 100 Milestones of the Recorded Century
  • In this performance, this partita is really prodigious. Bach's beauty and charm; a magnificent piano tone and a magnificent pianist!
    • Sviatoslav Richter, in Sviatoslav Richter: Notebooks and Conversations; listening Lipatti's recording of Bach's Partita No.1
  • The kind of playing that encourages me is playing that lets me in, so to speak: the pianist, by the intimacy of his or her playing, makes me feel that I would want to play that way too. The work of Dinu Lipatti, who turned out burningly pure performances of Mozart and Chopin, exudes that sense, as does the work of a relatively obscure school of British pianists—Myra Hess, Clifford Curzon, the great Solomon, and the equally fine Benno Moiseiwitsch. Today Daniel Barenbboim, Radu Lupu, and Perahia carry on in that vein.
    • Edward W. Said, "Remembrances of Things Played: Presence and Memory in the Pianist’s Art", Harper’s, November 1985.
  • Dinu Lipatti from Rumania worked with Cortot in Paris. His death in 1950 at the age of 33 took away a pianist who would have been one of the major figures of the century. He had everything—technique, style, a beautiful sound, sensitivity, musicianship, elegance.
    • Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists (2nd ed., 1987)
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