Dinu Lipatti biography still in print

Lipatti cover The only biography of Dinu Lipatti published in English is still available. ‘Lipatti’, written by Grigore Bargauanu and Dragos Tanasescu, was first published in 1971 and has been edited several times to reflect new information about Lipatti that has come to light. It is currently available by Kahn & Averill publishers at this link. This book is heartily recommended for any Lipatti fans who wish to learn more about the pianist. It includes biographical details, with extensive quotes from letters, as well as separate sections about Lipatti as an interpreter and as a composer.


Dinu Lipatti’s Repertoire – Solo Piano and Two-Piano Works

The following is a list of the works that Dinu Lipatti is known to have played in public. It is based on existing concert programs and letters that give evidence that Lipatti actually played these works in concert – his private repertoire was larger. Occasionally, the list – originally compiled by Lipatti biographer Grigore Bargauanu and the collector Marc Gertsch, with a few additions made now – lacks some detail in terms of exact works: for example, Lipatti played at least six Chopin Preludes, but exactly which ones he performed are unknown. Many of the works – particularly the four Beethoven Sonatas and the Schubert B-Flat Sonata! – are from his early performing years in the 1930s; he played the Waldstein throughout his career, however, and not only in the last few years of his life as his recording engineer Walter Legge erroneously reported. Some of the works that he did play in his later years include Bach Prelude and Fugues, Schumann’s Études Symphoniques, Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin, and Chopin’s Fourth Ballade.

It is an enticing list that makes the lack of more recordings by this unique artist all the more regrettable. Let us hope that some other concert broadcasts or private recordings will be found!

Works for Solo Piano and Two Pianos

Iberia, Book 1 – 1. Evocación
Iberia, Book 1 – 2. El Puerto
Iberia, Book 2 – 3. Triana
Navarra (transcribed by Lipatti)
Petite serenade

Two Dances
Two Pieces Op.18

Chorale in G Major, BWV 147 “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” (arr. Hess)
Chorale Prelude, “Ich ruf zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ” BWV 639 (arr. Busoni)
Chorale Prelude, “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland” BWV 659 (arr. Busoni)
English Suite No.3 in G Minor, BWV 808
Italian Concerto, BWV 971
Partita No.1 in B-Flat Major, BWV 825
Pastorale in F Major for organ, BWV 590 (transcribed Lipatti)
Phantasy in A Minor, BWV 904
Preludes and Fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier (at least 4)
Prelude and Fugue in E Minor for organ, BWV 533
Siciliano from Flute Sonata, BWV 1031 (arr. Kempff)
Toccata in D Major, BWV 912
Toccata in C Major, BWV 564 (arr. Busoni)

Allegro barbaro
Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm (Mikrokosmos Vol.6)
Sonata for Piano

Piano Sonata No.7 in D Major, Op.10 No.3
Piano Sonata No.17 in D Minor, Op.31 No.2
Piano Sonata No.21 in C Major, Op.53 “Waldstein”
Piano Sonata No.23 in F Minor, Op.57 “Appassionata”

Concert Polka for Two Pianos

Capriccio in D minor, Op.116 No.7
Intermezzo in A Minor, Op.116 No.2
Intermezzo in E-Flat Major, Op.117 No.1
Intermezzo in B-Flat Minor, Op.117 No.2
Intermezzo in E-Flat Minor, Op.118 No.6
Intermezzo in C Major, Op.119 No.3
Variations on a Theme by Haydn for Two Pianos
Waltzes Op.39 for Two Pianos (Nos. 1, 2, 5, 6, 10, 14, 15 – and perhaps others)

Five Preludes

Variations for Keyboard

Various Pieces for Keyboard


Ballade No.4 in F Minor, Op.52
Barcarolle in F-Sharp Major, Op.60
Étude in G-Flat Major, Op.10 No.5
Étude in C Major, Op.10 No.7
Étude in F Major, Op.10 No.8
Étude in E Minor, Op.25 No.5
Étude in A Minor, Op.25 No.11
Mazurka in E Minor, Op.41 No.1
Mazurka in B Major, Op.41 No.2
Mazurka in C-Sharp Minor, Op.41 No.4
Mazurka in C-Sharp Minor, Op.50 No.3
Nocturne No.8 in D-Flat Major, Op.27 No.2
Polonaise in E-Flat Major, Op.22
Polonaise in F-Sharp Minor, Op.44
Polonaise-Fantaisie in A-Flat Major, Op.61
various Preludes Op.28 (at least 6)
Rondo in F Major, Op.5
Scherzo No.1 in B Minor, Op.20
Scherzo No.3 in C-Sharp Minor, Op.39
Scherzo No.4 in E Major, Op.54
Sonata No.3 in B Minor, Op.58
Waltzes Nos.1 through 14
Waltz Op. Posth (which one is unknown)

Arabesque (No.1 or 2)
Estampes No.2, “La soiree dans Grenade”
Étude pour les arpèges composés (and possibly others)
L’isle joyeuse
Images Book 1 No.1: “Reflets dans l’eau”
Images Book 1 No.2: “Hommage a Rameau”
Preludes (various)

Capriccio in F Minor, Op.28 No.6

Piano Sonata No.1 in F-Sharp Minor, Op.24 No.1
Piano Sonata No.3 in D Major, Op.24 No.3
Suite No.2 in D Major, Op.10
Variations on an Original Theme for two pianos, Op.5

De Falla
Ritual Fire Dance

Impromptu No.3 in A-Flat Major, Op.34
Nocturne No.1 in E-Flat Minor, Op.33

Concertino for two pianos

Suite No.3 in D Minor, HWV 428

Jewish March Op.8

Two Dances

Two Bagatelles

Compositions of childhood
Romanian Dances for two pianos
Three Dances for two pianos
Phantasie for piano solo
Sonatina for left hand
Suite for two pianos

Concert Etude, “La Leggierezza”, S.144
Concert Etude, “Gnomenreigen”, S.145
Harmonies du soir
Mephisto Waltz No.1
Sonetto del Petrarca No.104

Deux pieces impromptues, Op.19

Piano Sonata No. 8 in A Minor, K.310
Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K.448

Duettino concertante for two pianos

Sonatine Op.8

Two Dances

Six Nocturnes

Miroirs No.4, “Alborada del gracioso”
Miroirs No.5, “La vallee des cloches”
Le tombeau de Couperin
La Valse for two pianos

Piano Sonata in E Major, L.23
Piano Sonata in G Major, L.387
Piano Sonata in D Minor, L.413
Piano Sonata in B-Flat Major
Piano Sonata in F Major
Piano Sonata in G Minor

Impromptu No.2 in E-Flat Major, D.899 No.2
Impromptu No.3 in G-Flat Major, D.899 No.3
Piano Sonata No.21 in B-Flat Major, D.960
Allegro in A Minor for two pianos, D.947

Blumenstück, Op.19
Carnaval, Op.9
Études Symphoniques, Op.13
Novelette No.2 in D Major, Op.21

Danse russe (from “Petrouchka”)
Sonata for piano

Invitation to the Dance for two pianos

Dinu Lipatti’s Repertoire – Chamber Music

It is a little known fact that Dinu Lipatti was a skilled and enthusiastic chamber music performer. In his teens at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, he had a trio with his fellow students Ginette Neveu and Antonio Janigro. He would tour Switzerland in 1947 with Janigro but it doesn’t seem as though he played with Neveu again, a real loss for posterity, especially since both of them were EMI recording artists. While he recorded his godfather Georges Enescu’s second and third Violin Sonatas with the composer performing, he didn’t officially record any chamber music from the mainstream repertoire. However, he did record six works with Antonio Janigro as a test for Walter Legge in May 1947, but these were never released in his lifetime and only a few shorter works were found and issued in 1994 (this will be the subject of another post).

Below are all of the chamber music works that Dinu Lipatti is known to have played in public, and his private repertoire was doubtless larger: violinist Lola Bobescu spoke of them having played a Mendelssohn Trio together.

Sonata No.3 in E Major for Violin and Piano, BWV 1016
Sonata No.2 in D Major for Cello and Piano, BWV 1025

Sonata No.6 in A Major for Violin and Piano, Op.30 No.1
Sonata No.7 in C Minor for Violin and Piano, Op.30 No.2
Sonata No.10 in G Major for Violin and Piano, Op.96
Sonata No.3 in A Major for Cello and piano, Op.69
Trio No.4 in B Major, Op.8

Liebeslieder Walzer Op.52 for Two Pianos and Singers
Sonata No.1 in E Minor for Cello and Piano, Op.38
Trio No.1 in B Major, Op.8

Nocturne in C Sharp Minor for Cello and Piano, Op. Posth.

Sonata No.2 in F Minor for Violin and Piano, Op.6
Sonata No.3 in A Minor for Violin and Piano, Op.25
Impressions d’enfance (Suite for Violin and Piano), Op.28

Sonata No.1 in A Major for Violin and Piano, Op.13
Sonata No.2 in E Minor for Violin and Piano, Op.108
‘Après un rêve’ for Cello and Piano (after Melodie Op.7 No.1)

Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano

Sonatina for Violin and Piano
Fantaisie cosmopolite for Violin, Cello, and Piano

Sonata in G Major for Violin and Piano, K.379
Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano, K.526?

‘Pièce en forme de Habanera’ for Cello and Piano

‘The Flight of the Bumblebee’ for Cello and Piano

Trio No.1 in B-Flat Major, D.898

Dinu Lipatti’s Repertoire – Piano and Orchestra

This is a list of works for piano and orchestra that Dinu Lipatti played in public over the course of his career, starting in his teens. His private repertoire was larger – he prepared Ravel’s Left Hand Concerto, for example (his score is filled with detailed fingerings) but he never played it in public. But, contrary to popular belief, he did play Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto – twice, both in Bucharest in the 1940-41 season.

Lipatti recorded only three of these works commercially – the Grieg, Schumann, and his own Concertino – but we now have recordings of 9 out of the 23 works for piano and orchestra that he performed. Let us hope that more broadcast recordings of these other works will surface!

This list will be amended to include dates of known performances of these works based on concert programs in private and official collections.

Works for Piano and Orchestra

Bach-Busoni Piano Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052
Bach Concerto for Two Pianos in C Minor, BWV 1060?
Bach Concerto for Two Pianos in C Major, BWV 1061
Bartok Piano Concerto No.3
Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 in E-Flat Major, Op.73
Chopin Andante Spianato and Polonaise for Piano and Orchestra, Op.22
Chopin Piano Concerto No.1 in E Minor, Op.11
Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op.16
Haydn Piano Concerto in D Major Hob.VIII:11 (cadenzas by Lipatti)
Lipatti Concertino in Classical Style, Op.3
Lipatti Danses Roumaines for Piano and Orchestra
Lipatti Symphonie Concertante for Two Pianos and String Orhcestra
Liszt Piano Concerto No.1, S124
Liszt Piano Concerto No.2, S125
Martin Ballade for Piano and Orchestra
Martin “La danse de la peur” for Two Pianos and Orchestra
Mozart Concerto for Two Pianos in E-Flat Major, K365
Mozart Piano Concerto No.9 in E-Flat Major, K271
Mozart Piano Concerto No.20 in D Minor, K.466 (cadenzas by Beethoven)
Mozart Piano Concerto No.21 in C Major, K.467 (cadenzas by Lipatti)
Ravel Piano Concerto in G Major
Schumann Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op.54
Stravinsky Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra

Scheduled Lipatti Work Projects

Before he died, Dinu Lipatti mapped out his proposed repertoire for the coming years. This information was only published in the booklet accompanying the memorial release of his Columbia recordings in a 5-disc set in 1955 and then on my previous website. The thought of Lipatti performing these works is tantalizing to say the least, and the unorthodox programming also gives great insight into his unique approach to music:

Summer 1950
Brahms – Concerto in B-Flat Major
Stravinsky – Capriccio [i]

Summer 1951
Recital No.7
Bach – Prelude and Fugue in A Minor
Haydn – Sonata in C Minor
Beethoven – Sonata in B-Flat Major, Op.106
Chopin – Sonata in B-Flat Minor, Op.35

Summer 1952
Beethoven – Concerto No.4 in G Major
Franck – Variations Symphoniques

Summer 1953
Recital No.8
Bach – Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue
Bartok – Suite Op.14
Beethoven – Sonata in D Minor Op.31 No.2
Brahms – Variations on a theme of Handel

Summer 1954
Tchaikovsky – Concerto in B-Flat Minor [ii]
Hindemith – Concerto [iii]

Summer 1955
Recital No.9
Bach – Italian Concerto
Stravinsky – Sonata
Liszt – Sonata
Debussy – 12 Preludes

Summer 1956
Chopin – Concerto in F Minor [iv]
Lipatti – Concerto [v]

Summer 1957
Recital No.10
Bach – Three Preludes and Fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier
Chopin – 12 Etudes Op.10
Bach – Three other Preludes and Fugues
Chopin – 12 Etudes Op.25

[i] Lipatti had actually performed the Capriccio in the 1930s and was no doubt refreshing it here. It is interesting to note that a critic in Bucharest wrote that he found Lipatti’s style of playing more suited to the Capriccio than to the Mozart Concerto he played it with that night.

[ii] It is likely the fact that Lipatti planned to study the work in 1954 that led Walter Legge to say that Lipatti needed four years to prepare the work, though it is possible Lipatti might have said something along those lines as well. However, there is correspondence indicating that Lipatti had agreed to record the work with Karajan in 1949, but as Legge had already discussed recording the work with Malcuzynski, the project was nixed.

[iii] It is unclear if this is The Four Temperaments or if Hindemith was planning on writing a concerto for Lipatti. The two artists had performed together in Lucerne in 1947.

[iv] Walter Legge had written that he first heard Lipatti in a rehearsal for Chopin’s F Minor Concerto. In fact, he never played it and it must have been the E Minor Concerto.

[v] In a recorded interview with Henri Jaton on August 23, 1950, Lipatti stated that he hoped to write a piano concerto (starting at 3:50 in the presented audio clip)