How many music-lovers aged under 50 have even heard of Lipatti, I wonder. He was Rumanian and lived from 1917 to 1950, continuing to give recitals when obviously at death's door from a combination of leukaemia and rheumatoid arthritis. It's a genuine tragic-romantic story but it needs no sentimentalising because this contemporary of Richter and Michelangeli easily stands comparison with either of them. It would be a rough but reasonable generalisation to say that he is the same kind of player as they are -- super-virtuoso but not in the 'exhibitionist' (said with no disrespect) tradition represented by Horowitz and continued by Cziffra, another contemporary. Lipatti was nearly as fastidious and perfectionistic as Michelangeli himself, and I urge any lover of great playing who does not know these performances or this performer to get hold of these accounts of the Grieg and Schumann at this modest price, however many others they already have. The Grieg is big, majestic and forceful, not unlike Michelangeli's version in a sense. For all it amounts to, the Grieg concerto has been luckier than it deserves in the interpreters it has found. Schumann's is another matter, a lovely and most loveable romantic masterpiece. In this Lipatti resembles nobody! The intermezzo has the beautiful lyric tenderness and smoothness that Lipatti was famous for, the central andante in the first movement is as full of affection and Innigkeit as I have ever heard, but the thing that makes the real impact in both the outer movements is the tremendous pace Lipatti takes them at. If that sounds wrong to you, all I can say is hear it for yourself. It's hard to put the effect into words, because no other version known to me is really similar and I doubt if there is a similar version anywhere. The opening chordal flourish will lift you out of your chair, the upward-rushing crescendo at the end of the exposition is stupendous (is this really the Schumann concerto we're talking about? Yes, and I bet Schumann would have loved it), and the finale, taken very fast, is a tumbling glory of great fingerwork, superb diablerie and enormous sensitivity at the same time, although I think I detect a creeping increase in tempo. Michelangeli is more 'mainstream', definitely slowish and I would say one for collectors rather than for anyone looking for a safe version. The Richter performance I have is the nearest to Lipatti's in overall approach, but the recorded quality is not all it might be. My general recommendation for a version that is both 'standard' in its approach yet full of personality and individual touches is by Serkin, but it may not be currently available. I also have a special affection for Backhaus's bucolic reading, though it may be even harder to locate by now. My own special favourite, and also in the Grieg, is by Cherkassky, cool and reflective, exquisite in the central andante of the first movement and with wonderful crystalline fingerwork, but also difficult to find these days. But when all is said and done, look at the price of this Lipatti disc. Treat yourself.