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Dinu Lipatti in the Spring of 2011

Thursday, 21 April 2011 , ora 10.23

The Spring edition of the British publication Classical Recordings Quarterly has on its front cover the picture of Dinu Lipatti. The vast article inside its pages, written by Mark Ainley, the passionate Canadian researcher regarding the musical heritage left by Dinu Lipatti, agreed to give us an interview on this subject. We initially asked him whether the idea of dedicating the current edition of the magazine to the renowned Romanian pianist, born in spring, on March the 19th, was his own.

Indeed, I proposed an article about Lipatti to the magazine- not for this spring, but for the previous one, when we celebrated 50 years since his death. Because my article was too long and the editor of the magazine did not agree to cut it short, he kept it for the next number, namely the present one, from the spring of 2011.

Which are the main aspects contained in your article?

Lipatti is known throughout the entire world, primarily through his recordings; he never left Europe and he died very young. There appeared a sort of fanatic behaviour regarding his style of interpreting and his recordings. Searching his recordings, his concerts which have not been recorded yet, have taken an interesting twist, transforming into some sort of detective story, a kind of quest for a lost painting of Da Vinci.

I have had the possibility to search through EMI archives, in 1990; I read an important part of the mail of that time regarding Lipatti's recordings, the ones made during his life and those edited after his death. I discovered many interesting information about his renditions- the ones already done and the ones which were a simple project, and I also looked for live recordings which have not been transferred on a record.

Can you reveal us some of the novel details published in the Classical Recordings Quarterly magazine?

Of course. One of the famous stories about Lipatti, referred to the fact that his producer said that Lipatti would not record Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1 or Beethoven's Imperial, because he would need 3 or 4 years to prepare them. It is a story completely untrue. In reality, Lipatti had agreed to record Tchaikovsky's Concerto together with Herbert von Karajan in 1949. However, the project had not been continued, as Columbia Records already had an American version of this concert in its catalogue. Walter Legge, Lipatti's producer, planned to set a recording with another pianist, Witold Malcuzynski.

It also seems that Lipatti had asked for the possibility to record a Beethoven's concert. This fact contradicts the assertion that Lipatti did not want to record anything from the creation of the German composer - the concert which he asked for was exactly The Imperial, which he had played two seasons in Bucharest in 1940 and 1941, and he had it in his repertory. There is also a note saying that Lipatti intended to record a Beethoven concert in 1949. There is no doubt that he was unable to carry out the project because of his health, but the desire remains - despite the stories that have circulated for decades and claimed that Lipatti did not want to record Beethoven.

I am sure you have come across this question at each interview you give; however, as it is the first conversation with me, I cannot give it up: what is the source of this interest for Lipatti?

I was in high school when I first listened to a record of Lipatti, at the school library. I was intrigued by the title of the album which seemed pretty morbid to me -"Lipatti s Last Recital": it sounded very threatening and mysterious. I asked my music teacher who Lipatti was and she answered "Oh, he is the pianist of the pianists". I continued by reading about him, and, the more I listened to his records the more did I realize that he had a special way to interpret music, even if my ears did not have much training at the time.

We searched for numerous records with Lipatti and when I found out that he had also sung the Waldstein sonata, my favourite sonata of Beethoven's creation, which he had found on any of Lipatti's records, I started writing to different broadcasters asking if anyone had this record. Although more than 20 years have past and we have had no luck so far, I hope and trust that it will be found.

What other projects related to Dinu Lipatti are still in progress?

We created and activated dinulipatti.com website, a page where I want to post as many links with Lipatti's recordings through youtube clips or audio clips, and also as many articles about Lipatti. I would like this page to be useful for those who want to communicate about their findings of documents about him - photos, room programmes - to become a sort of online repository.

I am still looking for Lipatti's unknown recordings and there are negotiations in progress to edit them and get them out on the market. For example, I found such a print done with the cellist Antonio Janigro, which includes a part of a Beethoven cello sonata. I want to make sure that these records are well mastered and then released, so that all music lovers have access to them.

Maria Monica Bojin
Translated by Anghelescu (Bobe) Anca Maria and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC Bucharest University