Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz

Blog

Dec 29, 2008

How Rafał Blechacz practices playing piano (interview, Japan)

Excerpt from an interview given to Japanese music magazine “MusicaNova”, Oct. 2007;
Blechacz talks about how he practiced playing piano
Interviewer: Yudai Majima
-----------------------

Rafał Blechacz was born in Nakło nad Notecią.
In his childhood, his daily delight was to produce sounds with the upright piano at home.
At the age of six, he received a piano lesson from a teacher in the neighborhood for a year.
He was enrolled in a primary school in Nakło and started attending Arthur Rubinstein Music School in Bydgoszcz.
He studied under Jacek Polanski for six years.

“Prof. Polanski was really a great teacher.
First, my lesson began with Bach: Preludes and Fugues.
For classical works, I studied sonatas by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.
As I recall, the first concerto I played was A-major of Bach (Bach cembalo concerto No. 4 BWV-1055).
In addition, to improve techniques, I worked on short but effective pieces a lot;
e.g. Mendelssohn 6 Kinderstuche (Children’s pieces) op.72,
etudes useful for motion ability of fingers and short pieces of Moszkowski, a Polish composer.”

He says that he worked on such piano tutors as Czerny, Clementi and even Hanon.
From what I hear, there are few piano teachers in Germany and other countries who use Hanon recently.
But Blechacz says that he starts day to day practice with Hanon for warm-up even today.
His teacher gave him Chopin Etudes in addition to these tutors.
For example, he was involved in Etudes F-minor of op.25-2, three Nocturnes of op.9 and two Nocturnes of op.32 in relatively earlier age.

“Prof. Polanski used to spend very long time for my lesson.
When I was 12 or 13 years old, he devoted over three hours for me with a break of course in some days.
There were two pianos in the room and he was sitting at one piano and I was at another one and he showed me how to play first.
The teaching process was that it was not until I learned technical aspects of the work that he started to explain about interpretation.

I had relatively bigger hands compared to other students.
At initial stage of a lesson, my teacher made sure fingering looking at the score
and suggested changing fingerwork to be more suitable to me:
e.g. transferring some notes for the right hand to left hand.
He came up with various ways to make it easier.
I was working on more difficult pieces than other students
and my teacher figured out methods not tiring me.”

The teacher worked closely with Rafał to create beautiful sounds.
Rafał was taught how to render a “round” sound and how to finish a phrase.
I asked Rafał what is a secret of creating a round sound.



“First you need to have good ears.
And you always quest for good sounds.
After going through the process, the good sound will come out.
You also relax the tension in the body; you move arms as if making circles;
the relaxed (carefree) movement is going to help create a better sound.
My teacher showed a good example of the ideal sound;
I modeled him and made utmost to acquire the excellent sound.
In those days, I was ten years old when I would always think about how I could render a better sound
whether it is forte or piano.
Even a forte must not be noisy or discordant;
I was always concerned about generating a stately sound.


While attending a regular primary school, Rafał Blechacz attended Arthur Rubinstein Music School in Bydgoszcz a few times per week after school.
He received two lessons every week (one lesson lasted for two to three hours)
and academic classes of music history and other music related subjects.

“I was a busy child. Apart from the schools, I practiced piano at home and did homework,” smiles Rafał.
His way of talking is decent and honest; he looks straight at me when answering questions.
I believe he has been well disciplined.

At Arthur Rubinstein Music School, he completed the first stage course at the age of 12;
he then stayed in the second stage course (equivalent to lower secondary school) for four years until the age of 16
although the teacher in charge changed when he was a senior.
After that, he was enrolled in Feliks Nowowiejski Music Academy located just across the street
where he studied under Prof. Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń.

“I spent quite an extended period of time with Prof. Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń.
I first began with pieces of impressionists, Debussy in particular under her tutelage.
The contact with such works helped me deepen the sense of color and shade that sounds create.
It also was useful to make my repertoire of Chopin larger.
I was also able to learn to diversify sonorous expressions and establish musical interpretations.
I practiced with an upright piano at home in those days but after the Hamamatsu competition I obtained the first grand piano.
It facilitated the study of sounds”.

Blechacz won the 2nd prize at the 5th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2003 when no first prize was awarded.
Yamaha had lent him a grand piano three months before the competition
as the musical instruments company had learned that Blechacz was making utmost for the competition.
After the competition, he was able to buy his own grand for the first time.

“The sounds produced by the grand were totally different from the upright,
which delighted me very much rather than hesitating me.
Any kind of grand could have made me happy in those days.
I was overjoyed by the fact that the grand was at my hand at any time and I worked harder since I got it.
I spent almost all the time for practice.
I had only three months to use the borrowed piano and I tried to make the best use of the opportunity.
I always played the piano except for sleeping.
Actually, I wanted to play it through the night
but my parents told me to be considerate of the neighbors and they wanted to sleep at night.
So I gave up the practice at night reluctantly. (laugh)”

When he was young, he was affected by such giant figures as Rubinstein and Paderewski as well as Zimerman,
adored and admired them.
Now he is realizing the dream in his early days to become a pianist playing at concerts all over the world.

“I would like to advance my career as a pianist of broad repertoire
who plays music of not only classical and impressionist composers but contemporary works
rather than playing Chopin’s works only”.

(The end of the interview)

-------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------
Jay Nordlinger posted "Salzburg chronicle", a comprehensive review on Salzburg Festival of this year on "The New Criterion" site.
It includes the following brief description of Blechacz's recital on Aut.15:

The young Pole was Rafal Blechacz, born in 1985—winner of the Chopin Competition in 2005.
They say he is a wunderkind, and they are not wrong.
Blechacz takes evident delight in playing, and he makes you grin along with him.
He is slim, slight, handsome, boyish—with tousled hair.
He often tucks into a piece like a hungry tiger.
He offered a mixed program, the kind that instrumentalists play when they’re first starting out—too bad they discontinue the practice (usually).
He went through Bach, Liszt, Debussy, and Chopin.
He has fabulous fingers, for sure.
But what he sometimes lacks is just what Zimerman has—even specializes in: cantabile.
Will that come in time? Perhaps.
Just about the best playing he did all night was in his final encore—Chopin’s Waltz in C-sharp minor.
Young Blechacz reminded you why the piece became popular in the first place.

The whole review of Salzburg chronicle


J. Nordlinger's review on Blechacz's Salzburg recital in detail for "New York Sun" as of Aug. 19
↑Its Japanese translation (password please.)


About the reviewer: Jay Nordlinger

Dec 26, 2008

Blechacz Chopin with RSB broadcast Dec.28

Blechacz Chopin with RSB broadcast Dec.28Reminder
Rafał Blechacz's Chopin piano concerto No.1 in E minor with Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra on Dec.20
will be broadcast by Deutschlandradio Kultur on Dec.28 at 20:03 (local time).

Please select from Flash, WMP, MP3, etc... under Live-Stream on the right side of the page.

Program commentary page (German)

---------------------------------------
Reminder
On Dec.29, Blechacz's recital at Salzburg Festival will be broadcast by
MRD (Germany)
at 20:00.
Please click radio hören.

Program
Johann Sebastian Bach: Italian Concerto BWV 971
Franz Liszt: Waldesrauschen, La leggierezza and GnomenreigenClaude Debussy: Estampes
Frederic Chopin: Nocturne op. 62
Frederic Chopin: Sonate B-minor op. 58

----------------------------------------

 Catradio.com (Cataluya Radio, in Barcelona, Spain) will broadcast an interview with Blechacz
on its program "Solistes" de Catalunya Música
on Jan.4 at 23:00 (Spain local time).
Program description page

This is the Home page of "Solistes".
Past interviews are archived here, and you can hear any of them.
(This is a weekly program appearing at 23:00 every Sunday.)
I suppose the broadcast on Jan.4 will be also available on this page. (I'm not 100% sure).

I found from the archive that the interviews are conducted by Catalan,
the official language in Catalonia autonomous community (Barcelona included).
But the voice of interviewed artists remains and can be heard
although it is voice-overed with Catalan interpreter's voice.

------------------------------------

Readers are reminded that the scheduled broadcast are subject to sudden change/cancellation.

Dec 23, 2008

Diapason D'or/ RSB member saw Chopin in Blechacz

On Dec. 21 Rafał Blechacz received the actual replica of the French prize Diapason D'or
from the Deutsche Grammophon representatives in Berlin.

They accepted it on his behalf in November in Paris, because he couldn't be there
and brought it to Berlin this Sunday, December 21, 2008, to hand it over to him.
(Thanks to R.F. for the info.)

Rafał Blechacz's first CD from DG "Chopin Preludes"
is one of the winners of Diapason D'Or l'Année 2008 (Best of the Year).

Amazon's site of awardees.

------------------------------------------
 One of the violinists of Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
who played Chopin Piano Concerto No.1 in E-minor with Blechacz
on Saturday
describes the stage of the day in her blog.

You can see the pictures of
1 Blechacz in practice before Generalprobe
2 Maestro Janowski before the rehearsal
3 Zubin Mehta and Berliner Philharmoniker (she attended their concert on the same day after her orchestra's concert.)


(Her remarks)
"Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (RSB) held a concert at Berliner Philharmonie yesterday.
Rafał Blechacz, the piano soloist, performed the Chopin concerto
with more concentration and freedom of expression than in the rehearsal.

His way of expressing is equivalent to those great piano masters in their seventies and eighties.
I felt as if I were listening to the interpretations of Claudio Arrau or Dinu Lipatti in their golden days.

So wonderful Blechacz is!☆☆ No doubt he will further grow up to be a great piano maestro.

On finishing the final notes of piano, a storm of bravos and applauses broke out from the public
and Blechacz sprang up from the stool.
...while, our orchestra was still playing the remaining three or four measures (laugh).

It was the first kind of experience for me.
The soloist was so great that the audience could not wait for the ending of the concluding symphonic part.

I was under the impression that Chopin himself was sitting there and playing his own music.

The role as the medium for the composer and the composer's music.
Probably this is what Blechacz is trying to be about.
His dedication to this role brought out the music so pure and clearly.
Each of all notes is infused with life.
I haven't so deeply moved for a long time".



Reviews on Blechacz Chopin concerto No.1 in Berlin

A review posted on The Berliner Zeitung (German center-left daily newspaper) on Dec.22, 2008.

The pianist Rafał Blechacz debuted in Berlin with the RSB
Jan Brachmann

Merciful heavens - He plays the piano beautifully! Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz is just 22 years old.
Three years ago - when he was still 18 - he won the International Frederic Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
Deutsche Grammophon - ie the Universal Group - has already produced two CDs with him.
He is sought after. But what does he? Pulls back.
They say that he prefers playing the organ in his Polish homeland community to demonstrating his piano play in the world.
He gives only about 40 concerts per year.
The Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin (RSB) led by Marek Janowski, got one of them:
On Saturday Blechacz gave his Berlin Philharmonic debut with Chopin's First Piano Concerto in E minor op 11.


This concerto is delicate in many ways, which is shown here once more.
How is the first movement of Allegro Maestoso risoluto?
Majestic and resolute is really only the orchestral opening.
It stands like an armed cherub in front of a spacious paradise that follows.
Chopin wished that this movement is played "with moderate strength and guts."
This year an exemplary recording (Mirare) appeared with the pianist Boris Berezovsky and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris under John Nelson.
Courteously taut, but slim in the tone of the soloist, the orchestra strings occupy sparsely and thus the woodwind soloists are valued - you can hear this concerto on the CD.

Janowski, however, had many strings of RSB gathered in the hall.
That made the sound wonderfully soft, removing fog -
but it made particularly difficult for the solo bassoonist and the solo hornist to demonstrate the work appearing as favorite vehicles of the piano..
Blechacz also adopted - what is appropriate here - some freedom in tempo, requiring Janowski high adaptability.
The conductor has been very cautious and had much experience to respond,
but in smaller orchestra such a maneuver would have been played out probably even more happily.

"With moderate strength and guts" - Blechacz lays the accent on "moderate".
He is a player with the finest nuance.
His pianissimo, particularly at the end of the second movement, really was beautiful for crying.
And he did Rubato, therefore with Chopin, when stretching, essentialy grabbing basic rate of compelling sense for what the moment requires.
However where strength was used, he sometimes lacked reserves;
at highlights (climax?) where you may have deduced, he continued to fracture and contrast.
Blechacz was celebrated wildly.
The applause placed already as the orchestra still had two bars to play
while Blechacz already jumped from the stool. Sometimes beautiful, something.

With moderate strength and guts, without all showing-off,
then followed by "Ein Heldenleben" by Richard Strauss.
Janowski led shrewdly and accurately through a score of fully good-natured irony.

Original review (German)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another review from Berliner Morgenpost on Dec.23

That was a bold combination: "Ein Heldenleben" by Strauss and the 1st Piano Concerto by Chopin.

Where are the contact points here?
That Chopin fairly bad instrumented and his romantic concerto sounds is compact and suitable for a monster piece in 1900?
Or that Chopin had much success in the women's world so far and a 'woman's living hero' led?

Rafał Blechacz, Poland's new miracle pianist, decided to deny this connection anyway.
He played the E-minor concerto by Chopin without salon buzz, without sentimental fuss,
that usually betrays itself through speed fluctuations and extreme dynamic spreads.
With Blechacz, there is not any decadence, and everything is clear, powerful, light and sunny.
He has that noble, intensive sound at his disposal that only nonpareils (unparalleled persons) possess.
Admittedly one can become prominent also without this sound,
but for the ascent to the class of pianists with rare excellency and personality, it is indispensable.

The 22-year old, completely unpretentious Blechacz is only at the beginning of this ascent.
However it's already certain that he will reach the goal.
Because the fantastic balanced attack he executes, an ability to balance between the big picture and the minuteness speaks itself amusingly on his behalf.
Small fuzziness seemed only in the chords movement.

The Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin acted even stronger after it - and at the same time pleasant tempers.
(The rest of comment on Strauss "Heldenleben" -"Hero's Life"- omitted.)

The real "Hero" of this concert was called Rafał Blechacz.

Berliner Morgenpost on Dec.23 (German)

--------------------------------------------------------------
To all the fans of Rafał Blechacz's piano,
Best wishes for a peaceful and blessed holidays
and much peace, love and joy to you all in 2009.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Dec 22, 2008

Reincarnation and Refinement - Blechacz in Berlin

A review on Rafał Blechacz's performance
of Chopin Piano Concerto No.1 in E-minor at Berliner Philharmonie on Dec.20

written by Matthias Nöther as of Dec. 22.
on the site of Der Tagesspiegel ("The Daily Mirror"), a liberal German daily newspaper.
The same review was also carried in the printed paper.
---------------------------

Classical Music;
Reincarnation
and Refinement

The information on the program
- when playing piano, Rafał Blechacz is as if Frédéric Chopin was born again" - that is, well, just a nice claim.

But it may make you ponder:
Did Chopin actually play the famous Krakowiak (Kraków dance), the final Spring dance of his first piano concerto,
as played straight out as Blechacz,
without the dainty agogic postponements and accelerations, which are often the studied sound?

Blechacz makes it different, dry and better in this philharmonic concerto.

Nestled so pleasantly in the antiquated sound of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,
with soft timpani and rounded brass,
Blechacz has sympathetic sobriety,
and he keeps the individuality of piano part that he owns
if the pace of ideas between piano and orchestra must be evened out several times by Marek Janowski
later in the second movement.

(remarks about the latter half of the program: Richard Strauss omitted.)

by Matthias Nöther

Original review (German)



Polish Radio reports Blechacz dazzled Berlin.
Blechacz told Polish Radio that it was a great experience for him to perform at that legendary venue,
connected with such great musicians as Herbert von Karajan.

On February 9, Blechacz is billed in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 at the Suntory Hall in Tokyo
with the Berlin Radio SO under Janowski.


----------------------
Polish fan Dana attended this concert at Berliner Philharmonie on Dec.20.
She says that Rafał's Chopin E-minor was a remarkable success.
and he appeared again and again on the stage after the concerto.
He played Mazurka op17-2 for encore.

Dana says;
"When he played Mazurka, I was looking at the faces of young musicians of the orchestra.
They concentrated all their attention listening with admiration and delight;
they remained as still as a stone with their heart carried away.
Rafał took them away with him in a journey from Berlin to Poland; Polish fields and villages.

He played the concerto so beautifully as always.
I love in particular the third movement that made me feel like dancing.
Rafał has the highest sensitivity to Polish dances and songs".

Dec 21, 2008

Blechacz made a great success in Berlin

Rafał Blechacz played Chipin Piano Concerto No.1 in E-minor with Berlin Radio Smphony Orchestra conducted by Marek Janowski at Philharmonie - Großer Saal, Berlin at 16:00 on Dec.20.

Wiesław Wawrzyniak, a Polish Radio correspondent in Berlin reports
that Blechacz's performance was enthusiastically accepted by the audience.
He interviewed Blechacz at Philharmonie after the performance
and the interview was broadcast via Polish Radio, Program I, in the news magazine
at 22:00, Dec. 20 (Poland local time).


The following Radio dispatch was fed to me by Mr.Roman Frackowski, a friend of the correspondent.
Let us appreciate him for the good news.
---------------------------
PR IAR Blechacz Filharmonia koncert 12 20 08

Berlińska publiczność gorąco przyjęła występy młodego polskiego pianisty Rafała Blechacza.
Laureat pierwszej nagrody konkursu chopinowskiego sprzed trzech lat po raz pierwszy wystąpił dzisiaj w berlińskiej Filharmonii.

Wielominutowymi brawami berlińscy melomani nagrodzili popołudniowy występ polskiego pianisty.
Rafał Blechacz zagrał pierwszy Koncert Fortepianowy Chopina e-mol z symfoniczną orkiestrą berlińskiego radia pod dyrekcją Marka Janowskiego.
Był to pierwszy występ młodego polskiego pianisty w słynnej sali berlińskiej Filharmonii, choć nie pierwszy jego koncert w Niemczech.
Rafał Blechacz występował już w ostatnich dwóch latach na deskach Herkules Saal w Monachium i na letnim festiwalu w Zagłębiu Ruhry.
Laureat konkursu chopinowskiego jako drugi obok Krystiana Zimermana polski artysta ma też ekskluzywną umowę z renomowaną firmą nagraniową Deutsche Grammophon.

Wiesław Wawrzyniak – Polskie Radio - Berlin
------------------------
(The dispatch says approximately the following.)
PR IAR Blechacz Philharmonic concert 12 20 08

Berlin audience enthusiastically accepted performances by the young Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz.
First prize winner of the Chopin competition three years ago appeared today
for the first time in Berliner Philharmonie.

The audience in Berlin rewarded the afternoon performance of Polish pianist by applauding for long minutes.
Rafał Blechacz played Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marek Janowski.

It was the first performance of young Polish pianist in the famous Berlin Philharmonic hall,
but not his first concert in Germany.
Rafał Blechacz already occurred in the last two years on the stages of Hercule Saal in Munich
and at the summer festival in the Ruhr Valley.
The winner of the Chopin competition as the second Polish artist next to Krystian Zimerman
also has an exclusive contract with a renowned record company Deutsche Grammophon.

Wiesław Wawrzyniak - Polish Radio - Berlin
------------------------
(Japanese)
ベルリンの聴衆は若いポーランド人ピアニストラファウ・ブレハッチの演奏を熱狂的に歓迎した。
ショパンコンクールでの優勝から3年、彼は初めてベルリン・フィルハーモニーで演奏した。
夕方の演奏会で、聴衆はポーランド人ピアニストの演奏に長時間おしみない拍手を贈った。
ラファウ・ブレハッチの演奏はショパンピアノ協奏曲第1番ホ短調、ベルリン放送交響楽団、指揮はマレク・ヤノフスキ。
若いポーランド人演奏家にとって、栄誉あるベルリンフィルハーモニーホールは初めての舞台だが、彼はドイツでは既に何度も演奏している。
この2年の間に、ミュンヘンのヘラクレス・ホールや、ルール渓谷の夏のピアノフェスティバルでも演奏した。
ポーランド人として、クリスティアン・ツィメルマン以来となるショパンコンクールの覇者は、名高いドイツ・グラモフォンと独占契約を結んでいる。

ヴィエスワフ・ヴァブジニャク-ポーランドラジオ-ベルリン


Bankier.pl posted the same article.

Polish Radio posted the same article.

bankidlawszysichi.pl also posted the same news.

Dec 20, 2008

Blechacz's Haydn, Saint-Saens & Salzburg (audio)

KRO, Dutch Radio Distributor, has an archive of radio programs of classical music.

The KRO site provides two Rafał Blechacz's performances in the Netherlands.

↑The link was deleted on Dec. 28.


Please enter "Blechacz" in "zoeken" box and click on "zoek" (search),
then three programs will appear. The first two are active, the third one in not.
Please click on the arrow on the right side of each program, and a new window will open and start the program.


1. Haydn piano sonata E-flat major, Hob.XVI 52 @Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Oct.7, 2007

2. Saint-Saëns piano concerto No.2 op22
with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons
@Amsterdam Concergebouw, Aug.21, 2008
The program is preceded by Blechacz's Chopin Preludes (CD).


I will keep this link open for one week until Dec.27.

The information was notified to me by Jan, a Dutch fan. I offer my deepest gratitude to Jan.

-----------------------
On Dec.29, Blechacz's recital at Salzburg Festival will be broadcast by
MRD (Germany)
at 20:00.
Please click radio hören.

Program
Johann Sebastian Bach: Italian Concerto BWV 971
Franz Liszt: Waldesrauschen, La leggierezza and GnomenreigenClaude Debussy: Estampes
Frederic Chopin: Nocturne op. 62
Frederic Chopin: Sonate B-minor op. 58

Internal orchestration by Blechacz (Switzerland)

Codexflores, online Magazine for all areas of classical music in Switzerland
posted a review on Blechacz's CD "sonatas" as of Dec.12.
---------------------------------------

Blechacz plays classical piano sonatas

Rafal Blechacz, the winner of the prestigious Warsaw Chopin competition in 2005
won a year later the exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon
and recorded the first CD- naturally - of Chopin works, all of the Polish National Préludes.

Now he pushes an album with three piano sonatas representative of the Viennese Classical.
This seems like a contrast to the romantic character pieces, but only in the first moment.

Because with the recording of Haydn's Sonata in E-flat Major Hob XVI: 52, Mozart's Sonata in D major K. 311 and Beethoven's A major Sonata No. 2 op.2,
the pianist is basically on track of searching the roots to the cosmos of Chopin's sound,
but this is exactly the fruit of intensive discussion of the traveling virtuoso with the piano music of the 18th Century.

First, the sleek and intimate sound of waltz, nocturnes and Préludes for the bourgeois salon was abstracted.
The sound effect of classical sonatas is much more dominated by large, angular and well-contoured color.

This time - Blechacz suggests in the CD booklet - he attempted mentally to 'orchestrate'" the work
to get clarity on articulation, pedaling or timber.

After playing through an "imaginary instrumentation", interpretative doubts were mostly dispelled.

Then he knew what passages have to be played with "warm cello sonority",
yet another phrase would be an imitation of the clarinet,
and some sounds in the lower voices clearly evoked a bassoon.

An interesting approach.
How far blechacz has provided the interpretations for the listeners to notably feel it may remain open.

But even without the reinsurance in the inner sound that serves the pianist as signposts through the allegros, adagios and Rondos,
Blechacz makes a conclusive, text-just and well-balanced impression in the Viennese school.

The Chopin award winner keeps the classical proportions (a formal style) and isn't captivated by emotionalism,
not even in the case of the "Largo appassionato" by Beethoven.

With a nearly sober access, he rather finds himself into an emphatic expression,
which could manifest more compellingly the contours of the emotional expression of the music.

As Blechacz describes himself, this most emotional movement is consistent with his doctrine:

"The march at the begining with his hint of horns and bass Pizzicato comes into stately width.
The theme resounds later with an organ-similar sonority in minor".

In this case, it is quite interesting to look at his interpretation of these characterizations to listen to. (wb)

Rafal Blechacz: Sonatas, Joseph Haydn: Sonata in E-flat Major Hob XVI: 52: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sonata in D major KV 311, Ludwig van Beethoven: A major Sonata op.2 No. 2 Deutsche Grammophon 477 7453, Hamburg 2008.

Original review (German)

-----------------------
To understand German articles, usually I use two translation software then do proof-reading, comparing the two supplemented by my knowlege of contexts.
If I cannot get the idea of a segment after this, I look up all the words of the relevant part. Sometimes, however, I'm still in the dark and need help from a native-speaker. (Thank you Johanna for the help!!) 
-----------------------



Blechacz is going to play Chopin piano concerto E-minor
with Berlin Radio Smphony Orchestra at Philharmonie - Großer Saal, Berlin at 16:00 on Dec.20.

I saw a blog written by a violinist of the orchestra.
She says that the orchestra had a rehearsal with Blechacz, and she was close to tears on hearing the first note he played.

"What I've heard is the true music.
I felt as if I were hearing the perfomance by a master pianist.
But the young man sitting and performing in front of me is just 20-plus years old.
He is never about showing off his technique. How wonderful!" the violinist says.

Dec 17, 2008

Blechacz "Saint-Saens v2.0" (a live reporting)

Blechacz "Saint-Saens v2.0" (a live reporting)In relation to Rafał Blechacz's Saint–Saëns piano concerto G moll op. 22
that he performed on Aug. 21 at Amsterdam Concertgebouw with Royal Concertgegouw Orchestra,
the following is what the reporter said at the end of Blechacz's SS
when broadcasting this concert live via Dutch Radio 4.
----------------------------------

 "a performance of the second piano concerto of Saint-Saëns in G opus 22 with Rafał Blechacz
with the Royal Concertgebouworchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons.

Blood-coagulating (breathtaking) from time to time and very amusing sometimes.
The audience reacts really enthusiastically as you can hear.

A little boy I would hardly say: he is just 23 years old.
He enters the stage again and receives a big bunch of flowers.
He waves friendly to the audience ... thanks the orchestra...he climbs the stairs again*..
it would not surprise me when he comes again from the stairs with the conductor..
light, cheerful music this piano concerto of Saint-Saëns, ideal for a summer evening in Amsterdam Concertgebouw..."

"Rafał Blechacz returned again and he is going to sit at the piano for a
encore....."

(And after the encore, the reporter says:)

"A small person this Rafał Blechacz is, but he is a great performer of the music of Frederic Chopin.
That's why he won all the rewards/ prizes at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw three years ago."

(* In Concertgebouw, the performer appears on the stage by coming down from the door at the balcony floor by stairs.)
-----------------------

I believe you can feel how it was a fantastic performance.
This segment was sent to me by Jan, a Dutch fan of Blechacz who attended the concert at Concertgebouw
and translated this segment from Dutch into English.
Thank you very very much Jan for the valuable input.

On that day, I was listening to this concert via Dutch Radio 4 live broadcast at home in Tokyo.
It started at 3:00 am (JST).
It was really an enthralling experience and I had my heart beating faster when I heard "A" - tuning by the orchestra at the beginning.
The reporter's voice as well as the performance still linger vividly in my memory.


-----------------
"blood-coagulating" is an unusual but effective word to express the unusual beauty and joy of piano expressed by Blechacz.

Usual terms people often use to describe his piano are; pure, beautiful, profound, noble, magical, etc....
in addtion to words related to his exceptionally high technique.

Sometimes, however, I see some new kinds of adjectives used in reviews such as;

wild and sensual (de Volkskrant, Oct. 07 about Amsterdam recital)
sexy (Classical Voice, May 08 about San Francisco recital)
bold, masculine, devil-may-care (=carefree) style (NY Sun, Aug.08 about Salzburg festival)

--suggesting that Blechacz always changes the way he performs to show something new to audiences.

Dec 14, 2008

Blechacz Saint-Saens concerto Dec.26 (audio)

Camille Saint–Saëns piano concerto G moll op. 22
performed by Rafał Blechacz with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
directed by Andris Nelsons @ Concertgebouw, Amsterdam on Aug.21 this year
will be webcast by Polskie Radio 2

on Dec.26 at 12:05 (Poland local time).

Program page of Polskie Radio 2
Please click "słuchaj w internecie" on the left hand, then it will turn to the streaming page.

Information from Dana, and thank you Dana, as always♪

**Readers are reminded that the sheduled program is subject to change/cancellation without prior notice.


---------------------

"........Zatem moja wolność artystyczna jest już znacznie szersza.
Istotnym momentem był recital w Concertgebouw w Amsterdamie - fantastyczna sala, znakomita akustyka i wspaniała publiczność.
Magiczne miejsce...."

".......my artistic freedom is now much broader.
An important moment was a recital in Concertgebouw in Amsterdam - the fantastic room, excellent acoustics and wonderful audience.
Magic place......"

(Rafał Blechacz, excerpted from an interview (Outline in English) in Oct.2008;
reference to his Recital for "Master Pianist Series" at Concertgebouw on Oct. 7, 2007.)
------------------

Gilmore International Keyboard Festival held in Kalamazoo, Michigan.(April, 2008)
Parts of his recital will be broadcast Dec. 15 via Yellowstone Public Radio.

Dec.15
Chopin Preludes op-28 (excerpts)
@ 11 a.m. (Mountain dailight time)
Yellowstone Public Radio

Dec 13, 2008

World name settled - Blechacz (Denmark) (Holland)

Web site of "Politiken" (=Policy), a newspaper/multimedia company in Denmark,
posted a mini-review on Blechacz's CD "sonatas"
as of Dec.10, 2008.
------------


Young, world name publicized through piano work of art.

The young pianist Rafał Blechacz plays three Viennese classics in a semi-sparkling and balanced manner.

By Thomas Michelsen


Some CDs are wonderful and their strengths do not require many words, and here is a super simple example.

Three piano sonatas written by music history's three great Viennese classical composers
played so a semi-sparkling (Haydn in E flat major)
and hot, telling way (Beethoven's opus 2 No. 2 in A major and Mozart's K 311 in D-flat major)
that we should admire the Polish Rafał Blechaz for his second recording for Deutsche Grammophon.

Instead of Monday disease, it clears up again and again (←sorry this part is not clear).
After his over-prominent Chopin drew attention, Blechacz's name has now been firmly established.

Fine, balanced, delicate and extremely well-worked piano art from a new, young world name.


Original review (Danish)



In the spring 2009, Blechacz will play for recitals/concertos in Germany, Poland, France, Holland and Spain.

 I've been informed of the recitals schesuled in Holland by Jan, a fan of Blechacz there.
Thaaaank you very much, Jan, for such a precious information; some are new info for me.
He attended all the three Rafał's concerts at Amsterdam Concertgebouw
(Chopin E moll in Dec. 06, Recital in Oct.07 and Saint-Saëns in Aug.08);
super-fantastic!

Good news for those who live in Holland and neiboring countries, prawda?
--------------------

Recitals in Holland in March/April

March 23, 2009
The Jurriaanse Zaal, de Doelen, Rotterdam

March 25, 2009
Keizer Karel Podia-- Concertgebouw De Vereeniging, Nijmegen

April 24, 2009
Friesland Bank zaal, de Harmonie, Leeuwarden,

April 25,2009
kleine zaal, De Oosterpoort, Groningen

April 26, 2009
Rabobank Zaal, Eindhoven
-------------------

Program of April 26
Mozart - Sonate in KV570
Chopin - Ballade No.1
Chopin - Vier Mazurka's opus 24
Chopin - Polonaise opus 26
Chopin - Polonaise fantaisie opus 61

For other recitals, the program column just says "Mozart, Szymanowski, Debussy, Chopin".

English is acceptable when calling these theaters.


For the link to each of the concerts, please see Concert schedule page.

Dec 12, 2008

Blechacz's recital at Salzburg webcast (audio)

YLE Radio1 (Finland) will webcast Blechacz's recital at Salzburg Festival (Aug.15, 2008)
on Friday, Dec.12
at 20:40 - 21:30 (Finland local time)

Live streaming via Link to YLE Radio1

Program page (Blechacz's recital)
Program of Dec.12
Music program of this week

Program
J. S. Bach: Italian Concerto
Franz Liszt: Concert Studies
Claude Debussy: Estampes

Dec 11, 2008

Blechacz remarks on Beethoven concerto #4

The latest edition of the monthly bulletin of Fukuoka Symphony Hall (members' journal) has a column
that shows Rafał Blechacz's remarks on Beethoven piano concerto No.4.
Fukuoka is a big city located in western Japan.
He will perform this concerto with Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, directed by Marek Janowski
on Feb.6, 2009.

On line version of the intrview (Japanese)(日本語) slightly different from the printed version.



Asked what impression he has of Beethoven piano concerto No.4, Blechacz says:

"It is one of my favorite music.
Among other things, the atmosphere that the sound of the second movement creates reminds me of story of Orpheus, a hero of Greek myths,
who dared to rescue Eurydice from Hades: the land of the dead.

How the soloist and the orchestra sound together is elaborately calculated to make this music incredibly dramatic,
striking us with the fear on one hand and filling us with spirits of love and mercy on the other.

Overall, the piece offers the color of spring,
with trills, fast passage developments and sounds of high range,
but I think that the dramatic passages are also remarkably fine worthy to be admired.

I am profoundly impressed by the characteristics presented by this and other pieces by Beethoven".


Then Blechacz appreciates that in 2006, the audience in Fukuoka warmly accepted his performance in his first recital tour in Japan after the Chopin competition.

He says:
"The response from the audience plays an important role for life of each of us, the pianists.
In my life, it is extremely meaningful to share the beauty of music with the audience".

He also remarks that the good acoustics of Fukuoka's hall for its big size has impressed him a lot.

He says he is looking forward to the opportunity to deepen the ties with the audience there,
and hopes that the musical bonds will strengthen thier love of music.

"I'll see you in Fukuoka!"



Leaflet of the concert in Fukuoka, Feb.,2009

-------------------------------------------


Before, I've heard Blechacz said the 2nd movement of piano concerto #4 by Beethoven is very beautiful.
This article, I believe, helped me contemplate further this beautiful movement.

This year, I had several opportunities to experience music first-hand perfomed by distinguished musicians attending thier concerts:
Jansons conducting Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Sir Roger Norrington with Stuttgart Orchestra,
Krystian Zimerman with Chung Myung-Whun and.....Rafał Blechacz.
I feel I'm gradually expanding my capacity to love music thanks to direct contacts with such great performances.

Dec 10, 2008

Awards to Blechacz's Preludes (France, Germany)

Rafał Blechacz's first CD from DG "Chopin Preludes" is one of the winners of
Diapason D'Or l'Année 2008 (Best of the Year)
here
And here.


 The double CD set "Best of Klassik 2008" is issued
which includes music by awardees of the German Echo Klassik Prize of this year.
Blechacz's Prélude in C sharp minor is part of it.
Blechacz was awarded with "Instrumentalist of the year (piano)" for his "Preludes".
News of Blechacz awarded (June, 2008)
ECHO Klassik 2008 web site.

On line purchase of "Best Of Klassik 2008" is here.

--------
Prof. Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń, the teacher of Blechacz at music academy in Bydgoszcz became one of the awardees
who are recognized as important contributors to Bydgoszcz and whose autographs are shown on Długa Street.
The award ceremony was held last Saturday Dec.6, St. Nicolas Day.
Exactly a year ago, the first group of people were honored in the same manner including Blechacz.

The press release in English
There are many articles about this news but this is the only one I found written in English.

Related story about Bydgoszcz sign (Oct. 2008)


-------------

 BBC iPlayer has made available Chopin piano sonata No.3
played by Blechacz at his Salzburg recital in Aug. this year. (audio)
Blechacz's performance starts at 26':10"

(I will maintain this audio link for the next 7 days; until Dec. 17.)
(The link was deleted on Dec. 17.)

Dec 9, 2008

Integrity of Blechacz's music admired (Belgium)

A review on Blechacz's CD "sonatas" by Bart Cyprian
posted on Kwadratuur.be, Belgian music site as of Dec.8, 2008.

The original review is here. (Dutch)
---------------

CD talks

08/12/2008 - Release Year: 2008

'Piano Sonatas'
Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

In 2005, the young Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz at the age of 21 (←sic) won the prestigious Chopin Competition in Warsaw
for the first time since Krystian Zimmerman thirty years earlier.
The contract with Deutsche Grammophon presented the first CD - how could it be otherwise? - Music of his countryman Chopin.

For this second recording, Blechacz showed the classical repertoire with a piano sonata of each of the three great Viennese classics.
Beethoven's second sonata and Haydn sonata in E major (Hob. XVI: 52) dating from 1796 and 1794
and are therefore not so far apart.
Mozart sonata KV 311 is a five-ten years older. (←sic)

Rafał Blechacz enjoys winning over many quick draws in Haydn's sonata and keeps all parts light and subtle.
In some minor passages, we find sign of exotic 'Ottoman' aspects of 18 century,
a return to a popular style of music in Vienna of Emperor Joseph II.

In the second movement, he sings dreamily, but this is a dream which is typically Haydnese,
theatrical manner is interrupted by a few passages that direct the listener back firmly on the ground.

There is also much humor in the final, where Blechacz understands exactly
how Haydn may go with sudden runs and musical twists against the expectations of the audience.

Yet within a very classical idiom, Blechacz retrieves Beethoven's impulsive nature of the spirit
by proposing a performance in which, with no crude sound,
he demonstrates strong 'forward' thinking in many places in not a hasty manner.

Ostinato bass lines and a tight, not too slow pace of Beethoven's slow middle movement,
which Blechacz emphasizes a few climaxes with just enough drama and feeling by dropping a hard, hammer attack.

The finale gets a lyrical performance which proves how good Blechacz is at
letting his concert grand piano singing,
something also reflected in the bass in the final sizes of the slow part.




Mozart sonata sounds canty shamelessly from the first note,
as if this sonata is nothing more than toys in Rafał Blechacz's hands.

The sad middle movement is such a simple innocence - what the score says is played without any intrusive rubato -
that you as a listener will just admire Blechacz's musical integrity.

The same honesty is in the final, which speaks of a pure happiness that Mozart only could have been describing.

This is and will remain a delightful musical performance of three classical sonatas: the poker where no others will win.
Moreover, the way he subtly gives to Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn their own character is certainly worth the effort.

Bart Cyprian

Dec 7, 2008

Review on Blechacz's CD "sonatas" (Austria)

A review on Blehcacz's CD "sonatas" by Ernst Naredi-Rainer,
posted at Kleine Zeitung site (Catholic newspaper, cirsulation is 800,000) as of Dec.5, 2008.

The original review is here (German).


(What the reviewer says is approximately like this:)
As with his brilliant debut at the Salzburg Festival on 15 August this year,
with his second CD, Rafał Blechacz provides listeners with his very personal interpretations,
which are sometimes driving with agogics in his spell.

The Pole, born on June 30, 1985, with the four other prizes supplementing victory at the prestigious Chopin Competition in Warsaw in October 2005
catapulted in the international limelight,
dedicated his second album to the Viennese classical music
and draws contrast between the last sonata (Hob XVI: 52) by Joseph Haydn
and the early A major Sonata, op.2 / 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
with an insightful connection to explain how great the influence of the mentor on the lad in Bonn was .

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's D major Sonata, KV 311, complements the sophisticated program
that the young pianist masters with an astonishing sovereignty.

Rafał Blechacz has a profound technique, but he's obviously not about his virtuosity to demonstrate,
if he deals with breakneck pace to Haydn E-flat Major Sonata,
which he plays with sparkling wit and sparkling humor.

He radiates enormous energy in his presentation of the second piano sonata by Beethoven,
where he consciously shows contrast in dynamics span, albeit sometimes with seemingly little stiff in left hand.

Blechacz distinguishes himself not only by his striking dynamic diligence.
You are more impressed by the delicacy of his finely shaded attack, the rich colors of his rendition and the pedaling operation (Pedalverwischungen) for the clarity of his incredibly precise, subtly phrased lecture.

When playing Mozart, his runs are pearly,
and also, the vocal and spatial approach proves in the Andante
that he can let the phrases sung with an emotional warmth to order,
that touches directly to the heart.


Joseph Haydn: Piano Sonata in E flat major, Hob.XVI: 52,
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata in A Major, op.2 / 2,
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Sonata in D Major, KV 311th
Rafał Blechacz (piano).
Deutsche Grammophon, 1 CD.



-------------

This French blog is the only one I found so far writing about
Blechacz's performance of Saint-Saëns concerto No.2 in Barcelona in Nov., 2008.
What the author says is approximately like this.
(I don't know who the author is.)

....then after the piano was installed, Rafał Blechacz entered into the stage,
slender and so young, but already smiling and very professional in the attitude of the concert.
He offers us a beautiful interpretation of the Second Concerto of Saint-Saëns, Artur Rubinstein's favorite,
and for which I have always had a weakness
despite, or perhaps because of Blechacz's melodic facilities.
After four reminders, he offers us a beautiful mazurka, explaining how a young man of barely 20 years won the last Chopin Competition in Warsaw. 

Dec 6, 2008

Blechacz's Chopin No.1 broadcast Dec.28 (audio)

Rafał Blechacz will perform Chopin piano concerto E minor with Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
directed by Marek Janowski in Berlin on Dec.20, 2008.
Venue and direction info.


The entire concert will be broadcast by Deutschlandradio Kultur on Dec.28 at 20:03 (local time).
Please select from Flash, WMP, MP3, etc... under Live-Stream on the right side of the page.

Program commentary page (German)


 The news was brought up by Yewon, a Korean fan of Blechacz.
Kamsahamnida and thank you very much!

Readers are reminded that the planned broadcast program is subject to a sudden change/cancellation.


Philharmonie - Großer Saal, Berlin



Blechacz will perfrom Beethoven piano concerto No.4
with the same orchestra under the same maestro in Feb., 2009:
Feb.6 in Fukuoka City, Japan
Feb.9 at Tokyo Suntory Hall


For Polish readers, reviews have been added in Blechacz's official web site (Polish)
on concerts in Salzburg, NY and Dortmund.
Dziękuję and thank you Dana for the input.
The original reviews have already been posted on this "Preludia" site in English.

Nov 29, 2008

Review on on Blechacz's CD (US, Ireland)

Customer review @amazon.com (US) on CD"sonatas".
The customer seems to be a serious listener, although her (his) pronuciation of Blechacz is not right.

The Irish Times as of Nov.28 picked up the CD from DG at its Classical.

Rafal Blechacz (piano)

Deutsche Grammophon 477 7453 *****

Rafal Blechacz, who took the first prize (and the four other special prizes) at the 2005 Chopin Competition, has been accorded unusual plaudits. Heis described as the kind of player who might restore the good name of competition winners, and his debut recital in London even prompted a leader article in the Guardian . Here Blechacz adds to the lustre of his reputation with stylish accounts of sonatas by Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart. His playing shows a remarkable combination of grace and substance. The touch is mostly light, always subtly graded, and the fingerwork as fleet as you could wish. Yet the remarkable slow movements of the Haydn and Beethoven are given their full expressive weight. www.tinyurl.com/5b9s4r MICHAEL DERVAN



----------------------------------------------------------
I became interested in looking into the Internet for news/articles of Blechacz in autumn last year.
I found mountains of info mainly from Europe.
Fist I picked up something written in English and gradually reached out for other languages.
It was not until in April this year that I found articles from US when the CD Preludes was made available there.
Recently, a growing number of info are seen in US and other regions and I sense an "expansion" of his popularity.
Regrettably, Japan and some Asian markets don't make decent information on classical music available onto the Internet.
(language barrier..)


 I would like to be prudent in selecting the articles/news to be posted here
especially about audio contents,

trying to to strike a balance between people's wish to listen to his music
and interests (copyrights, etc...) on the side of the artist.

I therefore closed some pages out of the concerns mentioned-above.

(But I also hope to offer information to those who cannot attend his concert due mainly to geographic reason:
those fans who visit this web site living in some parts of North/South Americas, Oceania, Asia especially Korea and Hong Kong, etc...)

I'll also be careful about privacy aspect.

Nov 28, 2008

From a German magazine - Rafal Blechacz (2)

Excerpt from German magazine "RONDO", published in autumn, 2007
(The interview took place on the release of CD "Chopin Preludes".)

The original article "RONDO" (German) Please see page 1, 8 and 9.


Mazurka is in his blood.
"I go there with a naive approach" --Rafał Blechacz

RONDO: Mr. Blechacz, you are 22 years old. How many concertos do you have already in the program?
Rafał Blechacz: I play both of Chopin's Piano Concertos, Saint-Saëns' NO.2, Beethoven's No. 4,
even Bach's A Major - Concerto, I can offer. And then another five concertos by Mozart and
both of concertos by Liszt.

RONDO: How have you been good at Chopin's interpretationen?
Blechacz: There is a Polish Chopin tradition, but even my knowledge is insufficient.
I own CDs of Rubinstein and Paderewski. I also know Horowitz's.
I think the greatest contrast between me and the Chinese pianists Lang Lang and Li Yundi is
that they treat tempo rubato very differently than I do.
In my case, it is in a natural Chopin' piano process. I go there with a very naive approach.

RONDO: Your fellow countryman Krystian Zimerman left Poland long time ago.
Piotr Anderszewski has also once said to me:
"I have nothing to do with Poland." You stay in your country?
Blechacz: Krystian Zimerman was always my favorite pianist and a great role model,
although I never experienced in concert.
He wrote to me a letter after I won the Chopin Competition and was very helpful.
Recently, we have worked together for a week.
He has advised me not to leave Poland.
However, as a musician, we have many opportunities to see in Munich, London or Paris.
Personally, I need silence and seclusion of my small hometown.
I love it, I feel what I am, however, I need to travel.

RONDO: How is your life in Nakel (Nakło nad Notecią)?
Blechacz: It is a very small town with 20,000 inhabitants.
I live with my parents and my sister.
It is sufficiently calm and I have a sense of concentration.
I studied music in Bydgoszcz, the nearest place.
After I won the Competition, I had so much new repertoire to learn
that there was no time that distracted me away.

RONDO: Has the Chopin Competition overturned your life?
Blechacz: It has. I could be almost lost myself.
Interviews, concerts, travels! It was not easy for me.
Because I had no idea what offers were serious or even could be important.
I even did not know if "Deutsche Grammophon" a good company.
Now I have wonderful agencies everywhere, which explore everything for me.
I can put requests on concert programs and on a CD that I do per year.

RONDO: Have you ever been among audience to experience with concert pianists?
Blechacz: No. I have worked with Christoph Eschenbach and Mikhail Pletnev
concerts together.
But both have conducted.
Once I attended a concert of Mischa Maisky. I miss it.
During the Chopin competition, it was almost my strategy not to look at left and right,
and I was concentrated on my own. It was successful.

RONDO: Was that your idea?
Blechacz: Yes, and my teacher Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron has agreed with me.
She was already there in 1975 when the Krystian Zimerman won the Chopin competition.
She was my ears for the rest of the world.

RONDO: This means that when you generally occur in concert halls,
they do not see you even as a visitor?
Blechacz: I can not change it.

RONDO: Do you feel that you can continue this strategy you are familiar with?
Blechacz:For me, it is important to find my own interpretation. Therefore, I would accept any successful strategy,

RONDO: Which composer brings you sweat?
Blechacz: Schumann, but actually I like him.
What is not for me is modern music: Lutosławski, Penderecki, even much of Szymanowski.
At the moment my path leads me in the opposite direction to Mozart, Haydn and Bach.

RONDO: Do your colleagues of DG such as Hélène Grimaud and Lang Lang have different target from you?
Blechacz: Playing for the same, probably even more young audience.
I've always dreamed of performing throughout the world.
The fact that my CDs are available in shops in Japan and America makes me unspeakably happy.
Especially in Japan, I have a large fan base. They are crazy about Chopin.

RONDO: Do you have something that you have been practicing from your childhood?
Blechacz: I've actually had a lot of practices of music. In addition, I have played organ in the church.
I do it even today.
I've been religiously educated and have a preference for Bach.
I admit a maximum of 40 concerts per year, so that enough time remains left.

RONDO: What do you do when you are off?
Blechacz: Listening to music, playing organ and driving a car.
I have purchased a new car and drove it to Berlin.
Indeed my father sat at the wheel when the road conditions were bad in Poland.
I would also like reading Dostoyevsky, Leszek Kołakowski and that's enough already for my time.

RONDO: Do you have a girlfriend?
Blechacz: In Japan, I have several. One in every city.

RONDO: What music would you never play?
Blechacz: Chamber music. Maybe later, but at the moment, I must focus on solo repertoire and prepare for concertos.
Even Brahms is too serious and too difficult for me.
Rachmaninoff is still very far away.

RONDO: Do you have an idea of what Polish characters are specific to you?
Blechacz: The Poles are very melancholy. And also I think we have beautiful emotions.
We are constantly obsessed by bad weather, our health and other things which can not be changed.
Since I'm obsessed with music, I am perhaps even a melancholic musician.
Just funny: I'm actually quite happy here.

 The original German article was sent to me by Johanna weeks ago♪ 
(Danke schön!! )

From a German magazine - Rafal Blechacz

This month, I have been up to my neck in work and had almost no time to do other things.

I received a part of the article of "crescendo", a German classical music magazine some days ago from Johanna
and I'm pleased to show it on this site finally. (Thanks a lot and sorry for the delay!!)

Johanna says that the magazine likes Rafał's music and the topic of the latest edition was Exoticism.
They have asked different artists, including Rafał, about their most exotic musical experiences.

Rafał says:
"My childhood was not very exotic.
I come from Nakel (Nakło), a small town with about 20.000 inhabitants -
30 km away from Bromberg (German for Bydgoszcz) and hundreds from Warsaw.
There was never much going on.

My family and my piano were and are until now my home.
The most important thing for me is to be authentic.

When I am on a journey I like to go into churches because I love the organ music.

And I like going to the cinema.
Roman Polanski's "The pianist" has deeply impressed me, I have even got his sign.
This is of course not very exotic, is it?"

---------
The article promted me to remember another interview in which Blechacz talked about "The Pianist" and Polanski.

 She sent me another German article (interview) (weeks ago) which is quite interesting.
I wanna show it in a seperate page soon.


Universal Norway's ad of CD "sonatas", introducing three pieces (no review or comment).


All Classical FM selected Blechacz's CD "Preludes" as one of the best classical CDs of 2008.
All Classical FM is Portland, Oregon’s classical radio station.
The release date of the CD was on April 22, 2008.

CD "sonatas" - this week's give away offered by Kansas Public Radio.

Nov 22, 2008

Debussy Estampes by Blechacz @Salzburg (audio)

BBC Radio 3 iPlayer provides performance of Debussy's Estampes by RafałBlechacz
at 2008 Salzburg Festival.
Blechacz's performance starts at 2:15 of the time scale.

I had the link to BBC iPlayer deleted (Dec.1)

You can see the whole program by clickin on "Show information".
(Presented by Penny Gore)

About BBC iPlayer

I will keep this page available only until the end of Nov.
From a viewpoint of protecting the value of the artist's performance,
I will put a period limit on audio/visual data except for those for promotional purpose.
For the same reason, the page Blechacz's piano (audio) will be closed after the end of Nov.

Nov 21, 2008

Review on Blechacz's CD "sonatas" (Denmark)

Rafał Blechacz: 'Piano Sonata of Haydn, Beethoven & Mozart'
reviewed by Jens Cornelius @ DR Forside (Danish site)

The Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz has many, many years to enjoy.
Although he is just 23 years old, he is a shrewd, poetic and brilliant soloist.
He emerged in 2005 when he became the first Pole since 1975 who won the great Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
Blechacz was so superb that the jury chose not to distribute any 2nd prize.

After his competitive victory, he recorded a single CD in Poland and then immediately had a contract with the international record label Deutsche Grammophon.
His first record for them was with Chopin Præludes and it gave Rafał Blechacz a gold plate after one day of sales in Poland - and platinum two weeks later.

On his new CD he plays completely different works.
Vienna Classical sonatas by Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart - there is no more classical than this one.

The three sonata are the works that Rafał Blechacz has played for years,
and he shows many interesting differences from and similarities to the major pianists.

For example. the sonata by the young Beethoven sonata was written when the old Haydn was Beethoven's teacher.
It is more virtuoso music than one might think,
but in Rafał Blechacz's view, the technically difficult passagess are not more impressive than the musical context.

Reason and clarity rather than bragging are characteristic of this CD,
as the English music magazine "The Gramophone" clearly calls Rafał Blechacz's CD the best so far.

Original article is here. (Danish)

(Blechacz performed Chopin concerto E minor with Tivoli Symphony Orchestra
on Aug.8, 2007.)

Another review by Jakub Puchalski (Polish).

------------
 Recital program for 2009 Japan Tour has been updated.

The current program
Mozart: Piano Sonata No.16 in B-flat major K.570

Beethoven: Piano Sonata in A-major Op.2-2

Chopin: 4 mazurek Op.17

Chopin: Polonaise No.6 in A-flat major, Op.53 "Heroic"

Szymanowski: Variations in B-flat Minor for piano op.3

Nov 18, 2008

UK Critic admires Blechacz @ Royal Festival Hall

ClassicalSource.com, a U.K.site for music info/reviews
posted a review on Blechacz's Chopin Concerto E minor
performed with the Philharmonia Orchestra directed by Charles Dutoit at Royal Festival Hall on Nov.11, 2008.

Colin Anderson, the reviewer spends a majority of the space
to admire Blechacz's "rich and lucid tone" and interpretation.


"The Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz, 50 years Dutoit’s junior,
is already on his second release for Deutsche Grammophon (sonatas by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven – 477 7453).

His wasn’t a particularly ‘native’ performance (coming more into his own in the Mazurka encore)
of his countryman's concerto
but he impressed on several counts

– the rich and lucid tone produced from the Steinway;
his Romantic and malleable approach that never threatened the line of the music;
an unexaggerated (not rubato-ridden) traversal that allowed the music to fall into reverie without sounding affected;

and there was no lack of unforced fire, either.


The first movement’s majesty was well-judged,
allowing ease and impetuosity to seam admirable foils within the grand design;

and if the slow movement was a little too spacious (and purple-prose), and the finale too fleet (something more pesante was needed),

there was much to admire in Blechacz’s honed and easeful technique always at the service of a mindfully conceived interpretation,

one that can only deepen further and,
hopefully, conjure some quieter dynamics
and be more accommodating of Chopin’s (often-underestimated) orchestral writing,
here vividly revealed by the Philharmonia and Dutoit".


Original article is here.

"When I am at home, I play the organ for the mass in the church" (Rafał Blechacz)

World career and the mass on Sundays 
Interview by Monika Willer, DerWesten (German newspaper)
Nov. 14, 2008


A serenade for the Pope -the young star pianist Rafał Blechacz dreams. 
He is regarded as a brilliant talent. 

Since Rafał Blechacz sensationally won all five prizes of the Chopin competition at once, 
the pianist is a sought-after guest on the concert stages of the world. 
In a conversation with our newspaper, the 23-year old pianist portrays how his everyday life changed 
through the fame and why he would like to play for the Pope. 

The music scene got used to dazzling young pianists, who perform like pop stars. 
Rafał Blechacz definitely doesn't want to belong to this kind. 
In the telephone interview with our newspaper, the Pole appears just as shy as clever; 
his piano performance inspires even the most famous older colleagues. 

"When I am at home, I play the organ for the mass in the church on Sundays" (Rafał Blechacz)


"It was always my dream to do such a career, with international appearances and recording contract, 
Rafał Blechacz tells. 
"My life has very much changed since I won the Chopin competition". 
It is a new situation for the whole family.  
The parents accompany him if possible at his trips, also the sister comes along, so often if she has time. 

Rafał Blechacz cannot hide from the international interest. 
Exactly in the piano circus, it often happens that a career immediately rises into the heaven like a rocket, 
then crash follows just as quickly.
The 23-year old knows this, and he could be a burnt young star without prudence. 

"At present, I give at most 40 concerts in the year. 
From 2010, I want to perform even less publicly in order to study philosophy at the university of Poznań. 
I need this".  

Just as thoughtfully, the pianist talks about the works, that he learns.
On his new recording, he introduces sonatas by Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart. 
Rarely, such a young interpreter can talk so precisely about music. 
"I would like to work out the particular relationships between these composers", he expounds. 

"Typical Beethoven characters already are audible with Haydn. 
For understanding Beethoven, it is very important that he was a student of Haydn, 
that he could use his influx in symphony, string quartet and piano music. 
In the sonata No. 2 from Op. 2, many typical quartet fragments are in, the symphonic thinking becomes clear". 

"With Mozart sonata k311 D major, vocal aspects appear. 
I would like to lay the table that in this piano sonata, the opera thinking is perceptible". 

So suggestively Blechacz analyzes compositions, dealing with other arts is so important for him. 
"I also love painting and literature, that are very helpful for the music. 
If I develop Debussy, I see myself in Monet picture in order to grasp the atmosphere". 

From the world star, no pretentious attitude is sensed. 
The highly-gifted interpreter remains solid with both feet on the earth. 

"When I am in Nakło nad Notecią at home, I play the organ in the church mass on Sundays. 
And after the mass, I play for the community a small concert of Bach.  

Also from these roots in the homeland and faith, Rafał Blechacz has a big desire. 
"I would like to be before Pope Benedikt XVI, to play music.  

Original article is here (German).


at the church in Nakło nad Notecią 
Sep. 2006
playing Chopin concerto E minor