Rafał Blechacz toured in Japan in July 2004, in commemoration of his winning the 2nd prize in the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in the previous year.
The schedule was as follows.
July 4 Concerto with Hamamatsu Symphony Orchestra, Hamamatsu
July 5 Recital at Izumi Hall, Osaka
July 7 Recital at Nagoya Shirakawa Hall, Nagoya
July 8 Recital at Takaoka Life-long Learning Center, Toyama
July 10 Recital at Saitama Arts Theater, Saitama
July 11 Recital at Amarume Hibiki Hall, Yamagata
This is a review on Rafał Blechacz recital on July 5, 2004 @Izumi Hall, Osaka Japan, appearing in the Japanese music magazine contributed by Mr. Tomoo Shiraishi.
It is interesting to read, because it is before Blechacz became renowned in the world by winning the 2005 Chopin Competition.
Poster of Concerto in Hamamatsu in July 2004
Rafał Blechacz won the 2nd prize in the 5th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2003 (no 1st prize was awarded). Born in 1985, he is not yet 20 years old. Young , but his performance was really cool-headed.
Rather than getting himself absorbed in the music, he maneuvered the instrument philosophically and he seemed to observe and ascertain the effectiveness of his interpretations. The level of technical perfection was commendable.
He played Liszt Rigoletto Paraphrase and Chopin polonaise op53 in a spirited manner but the performance did not compromise the noblemess of music because of his objectiveness.
For Debussy before intermission, his style was to give gradation to the firm touch by frequent use of pedals. Overall, the sound was solid and the center of gravity was low. I felt that the first piece of Estampes with accumulated rhythms like a gamelan is suitable for him rather than light sound of Suite Bergamasque.
What pleased me most was Chopin after the intermission. The flawless rendition of Nocturne op62 was brilliant. But what intrigued me more was Mazurka op17. Is his approach Polish way to put melodies and characteristic rhythms softly on the abundantly reverberating bass? The way he showed a sensitive and shaky expression in A minor (op17-4) when the underlying bass was suddenly lost was really effective.
I do not think that Blechacz is a type of the pianist who performs any music shrewdly. But looking at the secure selection of music for the recital, it does not look like he has solidified the direction as a pianist. I am looking forward to watching carefully where he is going to from now on.
You can hear Chopin Mazurka op17 Blechacz performed in Aug. 2004 in Duszniki, Poland, next month of the Japan tour. here.