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Nov 3, 2008

Japanese critic review on CD "sonatas" (1)

Reviewed by Jiro Hamada
published in Record Geijutsu (=music) Nov. 2008


Rafał Blechacz, a Polish starry pianist debuted with Chopin’s works from Deutsche Grammophon label
and gave the impression to us that he is a real talent by his natural, unpretentious performance.

In the second DG recording, the listed works are stark contrast to that with the sonatas by three major Vienna classical composers:
Haydn sonata XVI:52, Mozart sonata No.9 and Beethoven sonata No.2.
One sonata per one composer as you can see.

For a pianist believed to be starrily talented, it is a trial to reveal to the eyes of all the music lovers
how well he has been grounded in the real musical quality and achievements.
And this young pianist again passed the difficult test quite easily with impeccably calm, relaxed manner.

For Haydn E sharp major, he plays the whole sonata in a healthy and refreshing manner
whether in fast runs or slow and gentle fragments.
Furthermore, the performance full of poetic pleasures with graceful nuance makes me smile and astonished with respect.

The selection of late Haydn, mid Mozart and early Beethoven is a clever idea
by deepening a sense of unification of the CD.
As I listened to the sonatas, I found that the order of performance – Haydn first, followed by Beethoven and Mozart is reasonable.

His performance of Beethoven and Mozart is as good as that of Haydn and sparkles with extraordinary sensitivity.

I should keep my eyes more keenly on the 23-year-old talent.
〔The CD in strongly recommended〕 

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Reviewed by Tsutomu Nasuda

Rafał Blechacz, the winner of 2005 Chopin competition in Warsaw.
I attended his live concert and the unimposing, graceful musicality, combined with the performance filled with honest personality, gave me favorable impression.
I thought that the classical music should fit well with his fine and noble pianism.
With this expectation, I listened to his new CD.

He plays Haydn’s first movement with a comfortable allegro and marcato-focused articulation as is expected.
Accurate expression with a well-executed rhythm.
Sufficient contrast between dynamism and stillness.
He shows symphonic taste by incorporating diversified sounds.

He develops the second movement with a fluent style.
In finale, he showed an unexpected furiousness that I think is a little bit eccentric.

But basically, I think he is an honest and serious person.
He is consistent in performing music sincerely.
The Haydn’s sonata could have been played with more wit and humor.

The same applies to Beethoven.
His Beethoven is powerful and heroic.
He demonstrates abundant stocks of articulations,
but my impression is that they are not well connected to various sentiments and emotions.

In the second movement, the way to use the left hand is humorous and interesting, making this movement way individual.

In scherzo, his polished touch and crispy rhythm are quite comfortable.

The tempo of his Mozart is very quick.
The touch is as if rolling a round jewel and so beautiful, but too much mechanical and impersonal.

The middle movement demonstrates his exceptional talent with his fine sensitivity and well-controlled sonority.

The final movement gives affluent expressions by executing various articulations.
〔The CD in recommended〕 

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 Reviewed by Akira Mitsui (focused on the sound and recording quality)

Recorded at Beethovensaal, Hanover in July, 2008.
The second yellow label recording by Rafał Blechacz, the winner of 2005 Chopin competition.

Each of all notes is limpid, lustrous and refreshing, played by his perfectly controlled touch.
The beauty of marvelously even runs and clearness of pure tones are astonishing.

Also, what an elegant contrast between powerful forte execution and fresh piano!
〔I will give 93 scores out of 100 for the sound.〕
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This journal recommends the CD "sonatas" as "Selection of the Month".
In the same month last year, the same journal recommended the previous CD "Chopin Preludes" as "Special Selection of the Month", giving higher recognition than this year.

The same reviewers: Jiro Hamada and Tsutomu Nasuda wrote reviews on "Preludes" last year.

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