Imagine what it would’ve been like to sit in the late afternoon with a cup of tea, listening to him, in the next room, practicing.
Dinu Lipatti (1917-1950), piano
Mozart, Sonata No. 8 in A Minor, K. 310,
Recorded live in Besancon, France, 9/16/1950
More? Here. And here.
As the date of his appearance in Besançon approached, Lipatti was becoming more and more ill [Hodgkin’s lymphoma]; nevertheless, in the days before the recital he wrote to his teacher Florica Musicescu and also to Paul Sacher that his health was fine. The morning of his performance, he practiced on the Gaveau piano in the Salle du Parliament without any problems. That afternoon, however, he developed a strong fever, and his doctor begged him to cancel; Lipatti did not want to consider this but admitted that he didn’t think he could perform. The organizer of the recital was contacted by telephone, and when he stated that the hall was already full, Lipatti made the decision to play. After some injections, he walked robot-like to the car that transported him to the hall. He took each step deliberately, with such difficulty that he decided that he would not leave the stage between pieces. The Radiodiffusion Française cancelled the live transmission of the recital, fearing the worst, but recorded the performance for future broadcast.
The hall was packed, with additional seating behind the piano . . . The concentration of both the artist and the audience members is palpable in both the photographs and the recording of the recital, with enthusiastic applause greeting each work.
Despite other planned concerts later in September and in October, Lipatti did not give another public performance.