Tag Archives: alfred cortot

HISTORIC MUSICAL MOMENTS: Clara Haskil: Schumann – ‘Abegg’ Variations, Op. 1


[youtube.com/watch?v=UqOvdlthl8E]

Clara Haskil: Schumann – ‘Abegg’ Variations, Op. 1

Clara Haskil (7 January 1895 – 7 December 1960) was a Romanian classical pianist, renowned as an interpreter of the classical and early romantic repertoire. Haskil was particularly noted for her performances and recordings of Mozart. Many considered her the foremost interpreter of Mozart in her time. She was also noted as a superb interpreter of Beethoven, Schumann, and Scarlatti. Haskil was born into a Sephardic Jewish family in Bucharest, Romania and studied in Vienna under Richard Robert (whose memorable pupils also included Rudolf Serkin and George Szell) and briefly with Ferruccio Busoni. She later moved to Paris, where she started studying with Gabriel Fauré’s pupil Joseph Morpain, whom she always credited as one of her greatest influences. The same year she entered the Paris Conservatoire, officially to study with Alfred Cortot although most of her instruction came from Lazare Lévy and Mme Giraud-Letarse, and graduated at age 15 with a Premier Prix. She also graduated with a Premier Prix in violin. Upon graduating, Haskil began to tour Europe, though her career was cut short by one of the numerous physical ailments she suffered throughout her life. In 1913 she was fitted with a plaster cast in an attempt to halt the progression of scoliosis. Frequent illnesses, combined with extreme stage fright that appeared in 1920, kept her from critical or financial success. Most of her life was spent in abject poverty. It was not until after World War II, during a series of concerts in the Netherlands in 1949, that she began to win acclaim. Well regarded as a chamber musician, Haskil collaborated with such famed musicians as George Enescu, Eugène Ysaÿe, Pablo Casals, Joseph Szigeti, Géza Anda, Isaac Stern and Arthur Grumiaux, with whom she played her last concert. While renowned primarily as a violinist, Grumiaux was also a fine pianist, and he and Haskil would sometimes swap instruments. She played as a soloist under the baton of such conductors as Ansermet, Barbirolli, Baumgartner, Beecham, Boult, Celibidache, Cluytens, Fricsay, Giulini, Inghelbrecht, Jochum, Karajan, Kempe, Klemperer, Kubelík, Markevitch, Monteux, Münch, Paray, Rosbaud, Sawallisch, Solti, Stokowski, Szell, among many others. One of her most prominent performances as a soloist with an orchestra is recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 20 and 24 in November 1960 with Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux conducted by Igor Markevitch (issued on CD by Philips Classics under No. 464 718-2); this recording features an unusually slow, pensive performance of K466’s part III and a very subtle, highly lyrical and yet, in some way, vigorous playing of K491’s part II. Haskil died from injuries received through a fall at the staircase of a Brussels train station. She was to play a concert with Arthur Grumiaux the following day. An esteemed friend of Haskil, Charles Chaplin, described her talent by saying “In my lifetime I have met three geniuses; Professor Einstein, Winston Churchill, and Clara Haskil. I am not a trained musician but I can only say that her touch was exquisite, her expression wonderful, and her technique extraordinary.” (Swiss Radio interview, 19 April 1961.) The Clara Haskil International Piano Competition is held biannually in her memory. The brochure reads: “The Clara Haskil Competition was founded in 1963 to honour and perpetuate the memory of the incomparable Swiss pianist, of Romanian origin, who was born in Bucharest in 1895. It takes place every two years in Vevey, Switzerland, where Clara Haskil resided from 1942 until her death in Brussels in 1960. A street in Vevey bears her name. The Competition welcomes young pianists from all over the world, who pursue the musical ideal that is inspired by Clara Haskil and which will always remain exemplary.”… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Ha…

A link to this wonderful artists personal Website: http://www.deccaclassics.com/cat/sing…

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Dinu Lipatti (1917-1950)- Chopin Valse Op. 69 n. 1 in A flat major (n. 9 Adieux)


English: Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti (1917-1...

Image via Wikipedia

Studio recording of 1950

Excepts from Wikipedia: Dinu Lipatti (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈdinu liˈpati]; 1 April [O.S. 19 March] 1917 – 2 December 1950) was a Romanian classical pianist and composerwhose career was cut short by his death from Hodgkin’s disease at age 33. He was elected posthumously to the Romanian Academy.

Lipatti was born in Bucharest into a musical family: his father was a violinist who had studied with Pablo de Sarasate and Carl Flesch,[1] his mother a pianist. For his baptism, which occurred not shortly after birth as is usual, but when he was old enough to play the piano, the violinist and composerGeorge Enescu agreed to be his godfather. Lipatti played a minuet by Mozart at his own baptism.[1] He studied at the Gheorghe Lazăr High School, while undergoing piano and composition studies with Mihail Jora for three years. He then attended the Bucharest Conservatoire, studying under Florica Musicescu, who also taught him privately.[1] In June 1930, the best pupils at the Conservatoire gave a concert at the Bucharest Opera, and the 13-year old Lipatti received a huge ovation for his performance of the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor.[1] In 1932 he won prizes for his compositions: a Piano Sonatina, and a Sonatina for Violin and Piano. That year he also won a Grand Prize for his symphonic suite Les Tziganes.[1]

He entered the 1933 Vienna International Piano Competition but finished second, because the jury considered him too young. Alfred Cortot, who thought Lipatti should have won, resigned from the jury in protest.[2] Lipatti subsequently studied in Paris under Cortot, Nadia Boulanger (with whom he recorded some of Brahms‘s Waltzes Op. 39), Paul Dukas (composition) and Charles Munch (conducting). He gave his first concert, at the École Normale, on 20 May 1935. However, three days before the concert, Paul Dukas died; in memory of Dukas, Lipatti’s first piece at his concert, and the piece he first publicly performed as an adult pianist, was J. S. Bach‘s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.[1]

Lipatti’s career was interrupted by World War II. Although he continued to give concerts throughout Europe, including Nazi-occupied territories, he eventually fled his native Romania in 1943 and settled with his wife (Madeleine Cantacuzene, also a concert pianist) in GenevaSwitzerland, where he accepted the position as piano professor at the conservatory. It was at this time that the first signs of his illness emerged. At first, doctors were baffled, but in 1947 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.[3] As a result, his public performances became considerably less frequent after the war.

Lipatti gave his final recital, which was recorded, on 16 September 1950 in BesançonFrance. Despite severe illness, he gave unmatched performances of Bach‘s Partita in B flat major, Mozart‘s A minor Sonata, Schubert‘s G flat major and E flat major Impromptus, and thirteen ofChopin‘s Waltzes. He excluded No. 2, which he was too exhausted to play; he offered instead Myra Hess‘s transcription of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, the piece with which he had started his professional career as a pianist in 1935. He died less than 3 months later, in Geneva. Lipatti is buried at the cemetery of Chêne-Bourg next to his wife Madeleine, a noted piano teacher. (from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinu_Lipatti)