"I felt that something unusual was happening, that I had never heard the piano played like this."
May 20, 2006 11:14 AM Subscribe
"The sound was not of this world, it hovered in space like some celestial blessing". He could play the piano ”before he had learned to smile”, his mother said, and he gave his first concert at the age of six. He studied under Alfred Cortot, Charles Munch, Paul Dukas, and Nadia Boulanger. He was an esteemed teacher and critic at 19, an international phenomenon at 24. He escaped from his native Rumania to Switzerland in 1943 with his fiancée, a joint capital of five Swiss francs in their pockets. After the war, just as he had arrived in the pantheon of great performing artists, Dinu Lipatti was diagnosed with leukemia. In September 1950, near death, despite the urgings of his doctors Lipatti insisted upon one last recital at Besançon. As his wife recalled, this was the only way Lipatti could bear to take his leave of the world. Lipatti was so weak he could barely walk to the piano. But once he began playing, he became transformed. After performing 13 waltzes, he could no longer muster the strength necessary to perform the final selection. So he substituted Myra Hess's piano arrangement of Bach's 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring".(page with sound). Three months later, Lipatti died at the age of 33. After Lipatti's funeral, his old mentor Cortot wrote: "There was nothing to teach you. One could, in fact, only learn from you."
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