The great Romanian pianist, Radu Lupu, passed away earlier this week. According to his manager, Lupu “died peacefully in his home in Switzerland from numerous long-term illnesses.” He was 76 years old.
In 1966, Radu Lupu was awarded the first prize at the second Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He went on to win first prizes at the George Enescu International Piano Competition and the Leeds International Piano Competition. Lupu’s playing was filled with depth, nobility, and consummate musicianship. In a 2002 interview Mitsuko Uchida said that Lupu was unmatched in terms of the “range of color” and “unbelievable control of his playing.” Another pianist, Nikolai Lugansky, said that Lupu “possesses the rare power of letting the music speak for itself.” For most of his career, Radu Lupu was averse to granting interviews for “fear of being misunderstood or misquoted.”
Here are five recordings which showcase the artistry of Radu Lupu:
Brahms: Intermezzo In A Major, Op. 118, No. 2
Mozart: Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor, K.466
This concert performance from March 21, 1996 features Radu Lupu with conductor Dmitri Kitayenko and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra:
Schumann: Kinderszenen, Op. 15 (“Scenes from Childhood”)
This performance of Robert Schumann’s magical collection of thirteen pieces is an excerpt from a studio album recorded in 1993:
Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
Here is another concert performance from March 15, 1975. Jean Fournet leads Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra:
Schubert: Impromptu in A-flat Major, Op. 142
This excerpt comes from Radu Lupu’s landmark 1983 recording:
Radu Lupu’s complete discography is available at Discogs.com.
This article first appeared on The Listener’s Club.