Radu Lupu is 75

Radu Lupu is 75


norman lebrecht

November 27, 2020

…. this weekend, and we miss him terribly since he retired.

Here’s a fabulous 70th birthday tribute by Kirill Gerstein:

As he plays, Lupu projects a state of deepest contemplation and responsiveness to the inner life of a musical composition. Motivic repetitions become perceptible as rhymes, the structurally important is differentiated from the ornamental, the stretching and contracting of musical time acquires an internal logic and a living, breathing musical structure emerges. The force of volume has little effect on these musical processes. Instead they become audible through Lupu’s intense attentiveness to the piece. It appears to us organically rich in content, without any need of extraneous effects.

Ferruccio Busoni once wrote about the musical art: “It is practically incorporeal. Its material is transparent. It is sonorous air. It is almost Nature itself.” Hearing Lupu conjure air into music in this way feels magical, and to be in the presence of an artist so engrossed is a most intimate, almost voyeuristic experience. … Read on here.



  • CYM says:

    The gentle smile of David Zinman tells all about the angelic genius of Mozart. Simplicity, Charm and Depth, Lupu tells it all. What a pianist !!! What an orchestra !!! SPLENDID

  • John Humphreys says:

    Only heard him live once – a hastily arranged, minimal publicity recital in Oxford’s ‘Holywell Music Rooms’ a few years ago. A haunting experience and an honoured entry into Lupu’s inner world. A private journey shared – no histrionics, no playing to the (small) gallery, just music making of the highest order.

  • Pedro says:

    Simply the best ( with Argerich).

  • Charles Clark-Maxwell says:

    It’s such a shame Mr Lupu didn’t record more. Especially when you hear about Bareboim having just recorded his 5th (!) cycle of Beethoven sonatas.

  • Eyal Braun says:

    Surely one of the greatest pianists ever. Sad that he stopped recording in the mid 90th – and much of his repertoire stayed unrecorded. Some of it emerge on youtube in recent years.

    I was lucky enough to hear him in many recitals and as a soloist with the Israel PO (Mozart K.503, K.595 and the double concerto with Barenboim, as well as Beethoven’s 3rd , grieg and Schumann ).

    The most unforgerttable was a recital in which he played Schumann’s Kinderscenen, Davidbundlertanze, Schubert D. 845- and -as encores – Schumann’s Arabesque, Brahms’ Intermezzo op. 188 no.2 and Schubert Impromptu D. 935 no. 1. The greatset solo piano recital I have ever attended.

    • Ted says:

      My best experience with Lupu in Israel was in 1987:
      He replaced Pnina Salzman in a short notice and played Mozart k.491 after an ultra short rehearsal during the intermission.He and the IPO gave a unforgetable performance.It was a transcedental experience.

  • Novagerio says:

    La multi ani Maestro!

  • A.L. says:

    Sadly paywalled

  • David J Hyslop says:

    Huge talent .

  • M McAlpine says:

    I agree. The recordings he made (I have the solo ones for Decca) are really fabulous. If he could have been persuaded to have allowed mics into his live performances

  • Nigel Goldberg says:

    Lupu’s Schubert cycle at the QEH in the 80’s lives in my memory to this day. The sound ! What a great artist, one of a kind.

  • M2N2K says:

    Whether performing concertos with him or listening to his recitals, the quality of his playing that I consistently admired most was a profound sense of meditating and creating the music on the spot as if together with the composer, revealing the pianist’s clear individuality but always tempered by his deep respect for the text. A truly fine musician.

  • Stereo says:

    I was lucky enough to be playing in the RLPO when he won the Leeds piano competition. Simply wonderful playing. We all knew in rehearsals he would win.

  • Melisande says:

    The first recording of Radu Lupu was in 1970 on the Decca label with Brahms Intermezzi and still is an enduring treasure. Around that time Lupu as well as Vladimir Ashkenazi (also first recorded on Decca) visited the Netherlands. During a nice and vivacious talk at an well-known restaurant next to the Concertgebouw I was very impressed by these two ‘guys’, who radiated humor and their sincere love for music.
    May 2017 I attended Radu Lupu’s last recital at the Concertgebouw and was again captivated by a truly great artist. How privileged mankind can get during lifetime!

  • Stereo says:

    Was in the RLPO when he won Leeds. Truly magical performance. Have never forgotten it.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    I wish Radu Lupu the best of health, but when I heard him play in San Francisco in the early 2000s, he sounded distracted and uninvolved. I would hazard a guess and say he was burned out. I think it was wise of him to retire when he chose to.
    I’m very glad he recorded as much as he did, though. When he was great, he was great.

  • Douglas Cairns says:

    A wonderful pianist. I know there are some live recordings available online but I regret that – so far as I know – he did not commercially record Schubert’s Sonata D850 in D Major. From a concert I attended, I still have in my mind’s ear the magical rondo finale and the way he gradually wound down “the merry-go-round” at the end. I think Clifford Curzon made a comment about the idea that however jolly toy merry-go-rounds are, there is an innate sadness about them.

    • Douglas Cairns says:

      I am delighted to find that there is a Romanian company recording available (only as a download at present) from 2004 in which he plays the sonata D850 in good sound – just discovered this after typing my first note and I felt sure you would all want to know! There is also the Emperor Concerto on the same disc and to judge by the final scales of the rondo it’s quite exciting.

  • French horn says:

    The best I have heard in concert so far !