In this article, Mark Ainley summarizes some key findings of his 30 years of research into the recordings of the fabled Romanian pianist-composer Dinu Lipatti. As a teen in the 1980s, Ainley began his task of locating unknown performances of the pianist by writing to international archives. Over the years, through a helpful network of dedicated friends of the pianist and with the support passionate collectors and individuals in the recording industry, Ainley was able to slowly unearth precious one-of-a-kind recordings of the great Lipatti that had laid dormant since the pianist’s death in 1950 and arrange for most of them to be published.
The paper goes over Dinu Lipatti’s presence in Belgium, namely, in Brussels, by means of quoting some of the reviews published by the country’s French-speaking journals, found in the archives of the Royal Library of Belgium. The eight recitals and concerts Lipatti gave in Brussels between 1946 and 1947 were anticipated and afterwards covered by the press and were also seen as significant occurrences in the Belgium musical life. The reviews all highlight several of Lipatti’s specific traits: precision and clarity, unaffectedness and
gracefulness, emotion joined by a sober bearing and a marked respect for the work performed. Lipatti was also praised both for his superior intellect and his simplicity, his astonishing chromatic range and his delicate musicality, his technical and artistic perfection. To sum it up, Dinu Lipatti’s playing was seen by Belgium audiences, as one critic put it, as a true delight.
Lipatti, the artist who mastered the piano, for ever in search of precision, clarity of detail, perfection, was from early passionate about technics and dexterity. Always open to new ideas and discoveries, the musician was constantly close to the radio, the latest innovation of the time, with a revolutionary effect in the publicizing of classical music in the first decades of the twentieth century. At 16, just a month after he had first performed with the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra, Lipatti made his Romanian Radio solo debut on
March 21st, 1933, playing the Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 11 by Frédéric Chopin under Theodor Rogalski. We must insist on the fact that, until he left Romania and relocated to Switzerland, in 1943, the Bucharest Radio counted among the most significant cultural spaces in his evolution as a performer and composer. It was at the Romanian Radio that he recorded, in 1943, with violinist George Enescu; it was there that he used to perform live as a guest of its programmes (as distinct from his appearances in the concert season). And
it was still at the Romanian Radio that he gave a legendary performance on February 16th, 1943, under renowned Dutch conductor Willem Mengelberg.
Download as PDF