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The most immaculate Chopin pianist that ever lived?

Exclude the composer and his close rival, Franz Liszt.

Which recorded name springs to mind when you reach for the complete waltzes? This one, right?


Lipatti died at a very young age in 1950 of Hodgkin’s Disease. His Chopin is a recorded legend.

But who knew that he was also a composer? Rumanian pianist Luiza Borac did, and her intriguing exploration of Lipatti’s music is my Album of the Week on Sinfini.


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  1. Actually, I love that recording, but I think of Cortot or Kocszalski for Chopin before anyone else.

  2. And yes, I do know about Lipatti as a composer–a fine, sensitive musical language and “demeanor.”

  3. Petros Linardos says:

    Anyone who owns Lipatti recordings and looks at his biography can notice that he was also a composer. His teachers included Nadia Boulanger and Paul Dukas.

  4. Why “Chopin” after “Immaculate”? Listen to his “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desire”. The rightness of tempo, of tone, phrasing, linkage from statement to statement. It makes us realize how narrow are the options of perfection. All in just a couple of minutes. In his “Last Recital”, even the warm up runs over his keyboard are musical. Imagine how different our record shelves would be stocked today if he has lived to 80.

  5. Martin Bookspan says:

    The very first concert I attended by a professional orchestra was a 1937 Boston Symphony concert. It was not Koussevitzky who conducted, but a Guest Conductor——-Georges Enescu. The only specific item I remember is the Mozart “Haffner” Symphony, which I knew because I played in the second violin section of my music school’s symphony orchestra. But another work on the program which brought me almost to uncontrollable laughter, was a work with a prominent part for E flat clarinet. Its composer? Dinu Lipatti!

    • Could it be 1939 – since this is when Enescu conducted a work by Lipatti with the BSO?

      The piece is part of an orchestral suite by Lipatti called Tziganes. In fact a recording by Enescu of this movement does exist, and was very briefly issued on Tahra in a CD that publishes a concert in Besancon dedicated to Lipatti and conducted by Enescu (on the same CD there’s a marvelous performance by Enescu of Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta.) The whole suite also exists in a performance by Ernest Ansermet published some years ago by Archiphon.

      OK, mr. Bookspan: you have opened a can of worms. Please tell us everything about your memories of Enescu as a performer. Thanks!

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