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Jun 19, 2008

Blechacz Recital in Prague in June, 2008

Rafał Blechacz held Recital at Dvorak Hall of Rudolfinum, Prague on June 4, 2008.



Some Japanse fans had an opportunity to attend the recital.


The followings are some of their comments.

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(Comment #1)
This was the first time that I listened to Rafał’s playing Mozart.
From the very beginning, the first movement of Sonata k311 had a great impact on me.
Dazzled by rapidly changing scenes at extremely quick tempo, I had an impression that Rafał is a young child excitedly playing with an overturned toy box.
Sometimes I was wondering if he was too much playful.
But I think that he tried to express the bright first movement in a more lively, spirited manner.
I was anxious what follows in the second and third movements.
It turned out that the next movements settled down right and I felt he played them quite lovely.



The Japanese fans were already shown his interpretation of Debussy “Estampes” during his Japan tour last year.
Generally, my impression of it remains unchanged.
His rendition stays clear consistently from “Pagodas” with loose reverberation through to “Gardens in the Rain” with technical accomplishment.
His coloristic rendering implies more primary colors than I expect.
Personally, I wish it had more neutral colors, but I think this is how he is inspired at this moment.

Then I had the opportunity to listen to Variations of Szymanowski for the first time since Hamamatsu Piano Competition.
Compared to five years ago, Rafał played them more passionately and devoted all body and soul to the pieces, especially towards the end of the finale without fear of making mistakes.
I felt that he has enhanced the empathy with the work of his compatriot composer.

After the intermission, the second half of the program was Chopin, Rafał’s strength.
Nearly a year has been passed since his recording of Preludes with Deutsche Grammophon.
Isn’t there any other pianist in the world who has played Preludes in live concerts for the past year more intensively than Rafał Blechacz?
And no pianist remains unchanged in the way he plays over time or depending on the conditions.


I had an impression that Rafal’s performance was quite different from the recorded ones.
For recording, he played the works meticulously, giving sensitivity to all shades of each of Preludes; for live performance, I felt he had more of a macro viewpoint, giving priority to entire flow of music and played them all quite dynamically.
He was a kind of too excited into the second half of Preludes.
However, my personal feelings are that I cannot stay away from his enthusiastic live performance and quietly hope that he will record live version of Preludes in the future.
I am asking to myself which version is his choice now if he is given another chance of recording Preludes?

The moment Rafał finished the 24th Prelude of op-28, the whole audience rose to their feet to give him a big applause.
This scene was not witnessed in Munich hall last year when Japanese fans including myself attended Rafal’s recital.
Rafał rewarded the affectionate audience with Chopin’s waltz op-64-2 (his favorite).
The warm enthusiasm of the people prompted him to play another encore, Mazurka op-56-3, putting an end on the performance gently and settling down people’s excitement.
(Reviewed by Mr.A.K., a long standing fan of Blechacz. Has attended Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw since 1990. Has a discerning musical ear, especially the ear of piano music.)

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(Comment #2)
“The purpose of the concert is to give joy and freshness.”(From the site of 2008 Italian Tour)

“There shouldn't be too many concerts. …to show something new every now and again.
This takes time and preparation. "
(From the site of Dutch Radio which broadcast Concertgebouw Recital of 7.10.2007)


While listening to the recitals in Vancouver, San Jose and Prague on June 4, I often remembered these words.

The hall in Prague had a lot of sound reflection and it was not helpful for swift passage of Mozart. (my personal impression)

Also, the opening remarks by the sponsor were too long. I was wondering if it may distract Rafał’s concentration for starting the performance.

What I saw was that Rafał was making every effort to overcome inconveniences in a given environment.
Szymanowski was not perfect compared to North America, but profoundly moving.

After the break, Japanese Fan Club members were seated in the first floor.
(I was in the first raw with some of my friends.) We were able to feel closer to Rafał’s heart.
We tried to send encouraging energy to Rafał.

The standing ovation was the evidence that the music he created that night deeply moved the people in the hall.
I was extremely happy to be a part of the audience.
The recital was very very good.

Dzienkuje!(Thank you) Rafał.
We are proud of you.
(By Akiko, author of this site. Also loves orchestra music conducted by Jansons, Alan Gilbert and Norrington. )
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(Comment #3)
In the first half, I was on the balcony. I felt the sound traveled too much in the hall.
In the second half, I was seated in the middle of the first floor, and felt that the atmosphere of the historic hall exactly fits well with Blechacz’s musicality.
I foresee, therefore, that Blechacz is going to have to make his music appealing to the audiences in distinguished, first-rate halls around the world.
So my view about the hall is different from Akiko.

But we are united in that we will continue to support Blechacz full-heartedly as he is going to reach the top of pianist world.
I was fascinated by Rafal’s personality.
I sincerely hope that I will see him again. Thank you!
(By Ms.Y.T, a piano teacher. Has visited many prestigious concert halls around the world.)

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