Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz

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Nov 7, 2008

Japanese critic review on CD "sonatas" (3)

Blechacz proved his authenticity with Vienna classical music
----reviewed by Koji Shimoda
“Record Geijutsu (=music, arts) October, 2008 (published on Sept. 20)

All these three work are simple but extremely difficult to play.
“I am fascinated by the simple beauty of, for example, Haydn.
Generally, works of classical composers are very close to my sensitivity,”
said Blechacz in the interview of November, 2007 edition of the same magazine.

Nearly three years passed swiftly by after his sweeping victory in the 2005 Chopin International Piano Competition by winning the first prize and awards for best performance of a polonaise, a mazurka, and a concerto.

He has already released the second disc from Deutsche Grammophon.
The first recording from DG was Chopin’s Preludes in which he expressed highest level of nobleness.
The second disc is, as Blechacz announced, contains three sonatas of classical music by Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart.

Looking at these three works, apparently they are simple but difficult in reality.

Haydn’s sonata Hov XVI-52 is the most significant work of all the sonatas by Haydn.
It begins with the first movement profound and brilliantly with E flat major
to express the glory of God as the key,
followed by the second movement of prosaic beauty and the magnificent third movement.
Very worth listening to.

Beethoven op2-2 is his sonata No.2 and it requires the most difficult technique among Beethoven’s early works.
It is the work calling for extremely sharp fingers and sense of rhythm.

The same is applied to Mozart K311.
It is a compact sonata but has many passages of unstable positions.
A player should not relax his attention.
I was first of all impressed by the sophisticated taste of Blechacz who selected these three sonatas for recording.

Pianist of high competence nurtured in deep-soiled and well-cultivated academic breeding ground
In the previous interview of last year in relation to the release of the first CD Chopin Preludes, Blechacz said,

“I have no intention to make listeners surprised or shocked with the CD.

What I would like to do is to represent with the instrument what I have read from the score,
putting my highest respect to Chopin into it”.

He maintains this attitude for the three major maestros of classical music.
For recording, his basic position is to gradually record works that he has studied and played thoroughly.
He has kept the principle for recording the three sonatas.

The three sonatas are the works students in music academies in Poland play quite often.
I believe that even for Blechacz, they are part of the repertoire he has matured for long years.
On the CD, he plays them naturally and not losing freshness as well.

If I talk about his Haydn, it is good from the very beginning in a way to demonstrate the theme resolutely.

The interpretation is sprightly like a sweetfish in the spring, gripping firmly the style of Haydn: clear and crisp rhythm, distinct contrast of Dynamik (dynamics), and color-classification of articulations.

Probably the edition he uses is Peters Edition.
Peters of Haydn is the edition that has been used for long years in Poland, and I think he used it for the recording.

In Beethoven, he sprints gallantly in the first movement.
He flawlessly handles counterpoints.
There are some parts technically difficult, but the way he plays them is dazzling: he never lets us notice the difficulty.

The second movement is ruggedly honest and very like Beethoven.
Blechacz plays it in a way that the composer has come back, walking slowly step by step in deep contemplation.

I have been fulfilled by terrific touches of Blechacz: the scherzo of the third movement is enjoyable; his fourth movement is eloquent.

For Mozart, Blechacz takes a classical approach giving special consideration to articulations.
He doesn’t accelerate the third movement too much.
The elegant and noble expression like a minuet finale often appearing in Haydn’s sonatas is comfortable.

The new CD of Rafal Blechacz proved that this young pianist is a player of high competence
well nurtured in deep-soiled and well-cultivated academic breeding ground for traditional classical music as well as romantic and modern/contemporary music exemplified by Chopin.

This sheds the brightest light on the future of this young, gifted man.

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 Please see Blechacz's interview with Koji Shimoda in 2007 (1) and (2)

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