Ο Dinu Lippati στο «μικροσκόπιο»
Constantin Lipatti (from childhood called by the diminutive «Dinu») was born in Bucharest into a musical family: his father was a violinist who had studied with Pablo de Sarasate and Carl Flesch, his mother a pianist. For his baptism, which occurred not shortly after birth as is usual, but when he was old enough to play the piano, the violinist and composerGeorge Enescu agreed to be his godfather. Lipatti played a minuet by Mozart at his own baptism. He studied at theGheorghe Lazăr High School, while studying piano and composition with Mihail Jora for three years. He then attended the Bucharest Conservatoire, studying under Florica Musicescu, who also taught him privately. In June 1930, the best pupils at the Conservatoire gave a concert at the Bucharest Opera, and the 13-year old Lipatti received a huge ovation for his performance of the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor. In 1932 he won prizes for his compositions: a Piano Sonatina, and a Sonatina for Violin and Piano. That year he also won a Grand Prize for his symphonic suite Les Tziganes. He entered the 1933 Vienna International Piano Competition but finished second to Polish pianist Bolesław Kon (1906-1936), some say controversially. Alfred Cortot, who thought Lipatti should have won, resigned from the jury in protest.Lipatti subsequently studied in Paris under Cortot, Nadia Boulanger (with whom he recorded some of Brahms‘s Waltzes Op. 39), Paul Dukas (composition) and Charles Munch (conducting). At eighteen, Lipatti gave his recital debut in Paris at the École Normale. On 17 May 1935, three days before the concert, his friend and teacher, Paul Dukas, died and in his memory Lipatti opened his program with J. S. Bach‘s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring in the transcription by Myra Hess, the first piece he publicly performed as an adult pianist. Lipatti’s career was interrupted by World War II. Although he gave concerts across the Nazi-occupied territories, as the war grew closer he fled his native Romania with his companion and fellow pianist, Madeleine Cantacuzene, settling in Geneva, Switzerland where he accepted a position as professor of piano at the conservatory. It was at this time that the first signs of his illness emerged. At first, doctors were baffled, but in 1947 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease He and Madeleine eventually married in 1947 but Lipatti’s health continued to decline. As a result, his public performances became considerably less frequent after the war. His energy level was improved for a time by then experimental injections of cortisone and his collaboration with record producer Walter Legge between 1947 and 1950 resulted in the majority of the recordings of Lipatti’s playing. Lipatti gave his final recital, also recorded, on 16 September 1950 at the Besançon Festival in France. Despite severe illness and a high fever, he gave superb performances of Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B-flat major, Mozart’s A minor Sonata, K. 310, Schubert‘s G flat major and E flat major Impromptus, Op. 90, and thirteen of the fourteen Chopin Waltzes which he played in his own integral order. Coming to the last one, No. 2 in A-flat, he found he was too exhausted to play it and he offered instead Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, the piece with which he had begun his professional career only fifteen years before. He died less than 3 months later, in Geneva, aged 33. Lipatti is buried at the cemetery of Chêne-Bourg next to his wife Madeleine (1915-1982), a noted piano teacher.