Lipatti on...


On the lessons with Mihail Jora described in a letter to Miron Șoarec (December 24,1932)
I focus now on instrumentation; I read treatises brought for me from Paris and I try to get acquainted with the instruments – with their secrets, with their mechanisms… I would feel so happy if I could write, even this year, a concerto for piano and orchestra! For the time being, should inspiration be on my side, I will work on a suite for small orchestra. This will help me acquire some skill and prepare to strike out on composing for grand orchestra.

On the participation in the International Piano Competition in Vienna, where he came in second in another letter to Miron Șoarec (June 2, 1933):
What a hustle! Twenty candidates a day! I played the Adagio and the first bars from the Fugue, then I was asked for a bit from the first movement of Chopin’s sonata. The piano was horrible, an old-time Blüthner – still, both myself and Cuca Fotino (Maria Fotino, another of Florica Musicescu’s students) made it! Had you been present, you would have laughed for an entire week. Would you believe that they would stop you, in the middle of the work, when you were most enjoying yourself and were least expecting it, that they would argue between themselves over the works you play, and that they would ring a bell, like in a courtroom? […] Thank God, we maintained our composure, we continue to do it and we hope to keep on doing it many years from now.

On first meeting Paul Dukas, in a letter to Mihail Jora (November 19, 1934)
On my first lesson I played the suite Les tziganes. He found it a fine piece, except for some details. He said the orchestration in the first movement was cumbersome, because I had abused of the trombones, that there are bits which keep repeating, that the form doesn’t hold up, etc. He liked the second movement (“Idyll”) miles better; he added that “the material is of a good quality but it is not always well tailored”. He approved of the third movement the most, and he said that it has the finest orchestration of all, as well as the best design where the form is concerned. So that was the first lesson. For our second, today, I showed him the sonatina. He liked very much indeed: it is maturely conceived and solidly built, he said, and he admired the third variation (the Andante) particularly. At any rate he liked it more than he did the suite. (Which didn’t prevent me from mailing it to Bucharest, even if with less enthusiasm!)

I did some revising before sending it; for instance, in the “Idyll” I replaced, at times, the bassoon with the piano, and I added some woodwind to help the strings with their long notes. With regard to the works planned for this year, I pondered on what I could write and I still think a piano sonata is the best choice. I suggested this to my maestro and he gave me his full approval.

His opinion is that I am actually through with learning and he has nothing more to teach me here. Then he congratulated my teacher for the way he entered me in the secrets of composition. So the only thing he will still do for me is look with an awfully severe critical eye upon the works I will present him. And « awfully severe » is by no means an exaggeration, trust me!!

About composer and professor Nadia Boulanger, in a letter to Mihail Jora (January 26, 1936)
I see Nadia Boulanger two times a week at school and another two times at her home. These lessons give me so much pleasure that I don’t miss a word she says. She is, in everything, extraordinary.

Again about Nadia Boulanger, in another letter to Florica Musicescu (June 24, 1936):
Miss Boulanger gets more and more admirable! A couple of days ago she conducted the Philharmonic Orchestra from Paris in an extraordinary programme. I tell you honestly that I burned with indignation at the thought of all conductors who have the possibility of leading such grand works, in such a grand way, and yet they don’t. The limit to the narrow repertoire after Bach and up to Debussy. Nothing before Bach, and nothing of our times.

In a letter to Florica Musicescu, Lipatti speaks about his family (December 18, 1935) :
My brother, a great cinephile, is across the road at Sèvres – Pathé enjoying Laurel and Hardy. He collects photos of various artists, he is forever busily eating… and he wants to lose weight! Mother is always on the move: now she is in the house, now she is at the Châtelet for concert tickets - she is just, and in the same time, everywhere. I, much less skilled in such tours de force, sit at my table and write you this letter. Then I will play the piano.

On meeting George Enescu in Paris, in a letter to Florica Musicescu (October 19, 1935)
Some days ago I wrote several lines to maestro Enescu, asking if he could receive me so that I would play for him the Beethoven sonata. He was kind enough to receive me just yesterday. He invited me to sit down at the piano and I began playing […] He was conducting and giving me indications now and then as I went along, while I, hypnotized by maestro’s splendid interpretation, was feeling like I was playing a different sonata, and that, for the first time […] What expression, what generosity in each passage […] Yesterday was for me one of the most beautiful lessons. And maestro was so kind! He said I could go to him for advice, on performing and on composing, whenever I want. […] I will take advantage of my maestro’s kindness and I will thus play for him the E flat concerto. And what he will bring out of it, Lord!

On the premiere of George Enescu’s Oedipe, in a letter to Florica Musicescu (March 24, 1936)
Oedipe! Grand monument of the history of music! May our maestro live and bless us at least a hundred years, and may we many live times the joy we felt the evening of Oedipe’s first performance!

On conducting, in an interview: ”Talking with Dinu Lipatti” by Adrian Nicoară, Literary Universe, Bucharest, 1941
Conducting was one of my greatest dreams; I wasn’t able to fulfil it, though, as I have dedicated all my time to piano and composition – and they are difficult to balance as it is.

In a letter to Mihail Jora (November 4, 1943):
In Lucerne I had the joy and luck to meet Edwin Fischer. I completely fell under the spell of his overwhelming and interesting personality. He played for me, I played for him, and I discovered that the fact of having spent a couple of minutes near this music enthusiast was for me a true blessing. As we parted, he promised me I could go to him whenever I want: he would be there for any music advice I would be in need of.