Radu Lupu, considered by many to be the pianist’s pianist, has died at his home in Switzerland following a long illness. As a musician he regularly shunned interviews and came in time to reject both the recording studio and even radio broadcasts. From 1993 onwards, his modest discography acquired legendary status while his increasingly limited appearances became landmark events. Known for his focused technique and his crystalline, yet colourful sound, his performances of Brahms, Schubert, and especially of Beethoven, have been frequently referred to as definitive.

Radu Lupu Radu Lupu in Hanover, 2018. Photo © Reinhold Möller

In an interview in 2002, fellow pianist Mitsuko Uchida remarked in particular on Lupu’s combination of control and the range of colours he could command. “I heard him in Vienna, at a competition that he was participating in,” she recalled. “I remember then thinking to myself, ‘This guy is the absolute, most talented musician that I have ever encountered in my life.’ That was what I thought at the age of 16. And I must say I still remain thinking so,...