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Radu Lupu retires
#2882937 08/24/19 05:16 AM
Joined: May 2001
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I heard him play only once that I can remember. A Carnegie Hall recital a long time ago where his last piece was the Schubert Sonata Op. 42. Anyone hear him live in concert?


From International Piano Magazine

Josephine Miles

Radu Lupu retires
11:38, 21st August 2019

Radu Lupu will formally retire from the concert stage at the end of the 2018-19 season

The 73-year-old Romanian pianist has suffered frail health for the past couple of years, resulting in frequent concert cancellations.

Lupu gave his final London appearance in February 2019, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4 with the Philharmonia Orchestra under conductor Paavo Järvi – an event reviewed by Jessica Duchen.

‘The unique quality of his playing lies in the touch itself,’ wrote Duchen. ‘It’s the transparency of tone, the cushioned finesse of it, and the way he turns a phrase that, in a matter of a few notes, suggests a deep, empathetic humanity and a profound love for the music.’

Lupu shunned the limelight and rarely spoke to the press, but an interview from 1992 reveals his attitude to performance: ‘It is richness of experience and fantasy, and the ability to transport. The artist should have his own voice. Everyone tells a story differently, and that story should be told compellingly and spontaneously. If it is not compelling and convincing, it is without value…’

A student of Florica Musicescu and Heinrich Neuhaus, Lupu won first prize at no fewer than three international competitions: Van Cliburn (1966), George Enescu (1967) and Leeds (1969).

Keith Clarke, former editor of Classical Music magazine, wrote: ‘It was sad to learn that Radu Lupu will be closing the piano lid for good at the end of this season. At his solo debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1969, he played so quietly at times that people at the back of the hall almost needed to lean forward and cup their ears. It was magical – a singular approach to the music and such extraordinary lyricism.

‘Working for Decca gave me a rare chance to interview him in 1971. We had to meet in the afternoon, he said, as he didn’t like getting up in the mornings, which gave me my first question: He had an 11am Edinburgh Festival recital booked for the following week – how was he going to play that? “Very badly,” he yawned.

‘A quarter of a century has slipped by with no recordings, and ill-health has seen concert cancellations, so it should be no surprise that he has decided enough is enough. But he should not slip away without a salute to an artist who seemed to see so deeply into the music and was able to give us all a glimpse of what he saw.’

Re: Radu Lupu retires
pianoloverus #2882938 08/24/19 05:26 AM
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"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Radu Lupu retires
pianoloverus #2883412 08/25/19 05:44 PM
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Yes, I heard him live in recital at Carnegie Hall sometime in the 70s. I don't recall what he played, sadly, but I want to say Brahms and Schubert. I remember I was in the first row, center-left...got the ticket at the last minute. I remember this because I could see the sweat on his brow and hear him huffing and puffing at times. He played wonderfully and has always been one of my favorites. His recording of Brahms's late piano works are some of the best, IMHO.


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Re: Radu Lupu retires
pianoloverus #2885125 08/30/19 10:42 AM
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I had a feeling that it would very likely be his last concert so I attended to that London concert in February. I started going to Lupu concerts only recently, after discovering a few amazing live recordings from the '90s and early 2000s' on YT (the 2006 recital in Genova is one). In the last decade Lupu's playing has become less remarkable overall, with memory lapses and frequent technical flubs, but his legendary tone and phrasing were still very enjoyable in the more technically approachable repertoire.


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