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Dinu Lipatti

By , Princeton Jct., NJ
There are countless celebrities of the classical piano world, ranging from modern, “popular” professionals to older masters long passed away. YouTube autocomplete reverberates with their names: Kissin, Horowitz, Argerich, Lang Lang, Zimerman, Volodos, Arrau, Michelangeli, Rubinstein, Gould, and countless more … yet an often unrecognized figure matches and often surpasses many of the more famous ones.

Dinu Lipatti, born in Bucharest on 19 March 1917, was a Romanian pianist and composer who died young as a result of Hodgkin’s disease. However, in his thirty-three years of life, he made invaluable contributions to music as a whole. His recordings of Bach are profoundly soul-searching, perfect in technique and meter , and show careful attention to and exposure of intricately layered polyphonies; he is also especially noted for his Chopin and Mozart, which captured the essence of the pieces to a capacity seldom achieved.

After Lipatti’s death on 02 December 1950, he was posthumously elected to the Romanian Academy. Even so, many feel that, due to his early death, he never attained the recognition he deserved. Although his discography still circulates, online recordings are often difficult to find, being eclipsed by those of modern stars, the vast majority of whom fall immeasurably short of Lipatti’s aesthetic and technical standards.

Some months before he died, Lipatti wrote the following, as part of a lecture draft: “How right Stravinsky was when he said ‘Music is the present.’ Music has to live under our fingers, under our eyes, in our heart and mind with all that we can offer them … Alfredo Casella said, rightfully, that we must never respect masterpieces but love them, because one only respects dead things while a masterpiece lives forever.”





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