Leipzig shock: Lupu cancels

Leipzig shock: Lupu cancels


norman lebrecht

April 05, 2018

You remember the trouble they went to in order to find him a suitable conductor?

So Radu Lupu rehearsed last night and this morning with Cristian Macelaru and the Gewandhaus Orchestra through a nasty cold.

Then he decided to cancel.

Martin Helmchen is being whisked in.


  • José says:

    Lupu played the best concert of my life (so far). Musikverein, 2012, Schubert and Franck. What a night.

  • Rob says:

    Wow what’s going on ?

    • Been Here Before says:

      Give the man some slack. He is 72 – although still one of the great ones!

      • PETROS LINARDOS says:

        Indeed, people get sick sometimes.

        Eighteen years ago I heard Lupu at a recital where he quite a few mistakes, even though musically he was superb. I suppose he would have minded his mistakes more than most of us in the audience. I later heard from the concert hall’s piano tuner that he was sick and tempted to cancel.

        • Been Here Before says:

          To paraphrase my old piano teacher, I would say that Lupu’s wrong notes sound better than most of other pianists’ right ones.

          I had an opportunity to hear him in September 2010 when he played Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with Marek Janowski and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva. He was superb, but I would say that temperamentally he is better suited for the Concertos No. 3 & 4. This was an intimate and understated reading very much lacking heroic element. As an encore he played a Mozart sonata and received a standing ovation.

          • PETROS LINARDOS says:

            I’ve heard a similar statement about Alfred Cortot.

            I definitely thought along those lines at that concert, and so did others I spoke with. That said, on another occasion a few years ago when I heard Lupu in prime form, he sounded clearly better than at the recital when he was sick. So, if he cancels, we should respect his choice.

            By the way, at the better occasion I heard him played Beethoven’s 3d concerto. Indeed, it was a hell of a good fit for his older personality.

            For a young Lupu having fun, check this out, especially around 2:28.

          • Been Here Before says:

            Radu Lupu playing with a cigar and fez – I never thought I would see this. Thank you! Well, people change as they age and so did he. Mind you that this was 44 years ago, he was not even 30 at the time. That is an all star cast on the video – amazing!

            You are very lucky to have seen him so many times. I have a recording of him playing Beethoven’s 3rd with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1971. So he did play it even at the beginning of his career.

        • PETROS LINARDOS says:

          Young Lupu having fun with another seven famous pianists:

          • M2N2K says:

            Was Radu Lupu channeling Friedrich Gulda with that distinctive headgear?

          • Petros Linardos says:

            I see it as a reference to the Ottoman Empire. They were playing a spoof on Beethoven’s Turkish March. He came from a territory of the former Ottoman Empire. Actually so did Gina Bachauer, who was Greek, but I couldn’t possibly imagine her acting as a comedian at that event.

            Besides, I am not sure whether Gulda was into head gear in the early 70s. I’ve seen that more from the early 80s on.

          • M2N2K says:

            You are probably right, but I still like my “incorrect theory” better.

  • Caravaggio says:

    Isn’t Lupu a notorious canceller? Or at least was during his heyday?

    • M2N2K says:

      It depends on your definition of “notorious”. An occasional canceller would probably be a more accurate description.

  • Sue says:

    I saw the Labeque Sisters perform in Australia in 1988. One of them had a hideous cold and her nose ran through the entire performance, onto the keyboard. It was just awful for her. Then she started to sneeze!!

  • Joel stein says:

    Polling has canceled this weekend in Boston, as has Eric Owens-but Jonas Kaufman showed tonight…

  • Joel stein says:

    Pollini-auto non correct

  • M2N2K says:

    At his best, RL always impressed me as someone who is meditating rather than “performing” at the piano. It felt as though he was composing the notes right there at the spot and every musical turn was becoming a revelation. A uniquely marvelous musician.