Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz

Blog

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

Nov 14, 2008

Blechacz Saint-Saens webcast on Nov.16 (Spain)

Rafał Blechacz's piano concerto performance will be webcast
on Nov. 16, 19:00-21:00 (Spain local time).
by R-TVE's Radio Clásica.


Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto no. 2 with Orquestra Simfónica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya (OBC)
conducted by Víctor Pablo Pérez
@ L'auditori de Barcelona.
The concert schedule (Nov.14,15,16) is here.

R-TVE's program page is here.
Please click on Nov.16 (16 of Noviembre) of the calendar on the left side
and you will see the program of the day.

The radio webcast page is here.
Please click on "Radio Clásica En directo" on the right side to hear the program.

I thank Shizuka (US) for the info♪ 

Quite a lot of enthusiastic reactions have been coming out to this news.
Please excuse me in case of a sudden change/cancellation of the program
and/or poor reception of the streaming data.


↑ Only Gerhard: Pedrelliana and Brahms Simfony No. 2 were webcast in the end.
The broadcaster explained that they were not able to go through the procedure
to obtain the permission of broadcasting the piano concerto from the soloist.
To supplement, Saint-Saëns' concerto No.2 performed by Pascal Rogé was used. (Nov.17)




To Japanese audience
ラファウ・ブレハッチのサンサーンスピアノ協奏曲2番(バルセロナ交響楽団)が
スペイン国営放送TVEのラジオサイトで聴けます。
日本時間11月17日午前3時から5時まで。(現地時間16日19時から21時まで。)
急なプログラムの変更・通信不良等もありえますので、あらかじめご承知おきください。

Blechacz Chopin @Festival Hall sparkled-Guardian

Andrew Clements gives a favorable review on "Guardian" site to Chopin piano concerto E minor
that Rafał Blechacz played with The Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit on Nov. 11, 2009
at Royal Festival Hall, London.

"...Blechacz's approach was more supple, and stayed poised and focused even in the heat of the first movement's development.
There is nothing contrived about his playing;
he seems utterly instinctive, with a wonderfully natural sense of rubato through the long-spun phrases of the slow movement,
and exuberance kept perfectly in check in the finale...."


Please read the full text of the review.




---------
Message from A.K., a member of Rafał Blechacz fan club in Japan.
He has been one of the warmhearted supporters of Rafał since 2003 Hamamatsu competition.

"For the past few months,I have been occupied by my job and had no time to spend for music.
But one day I was able to listen to Rafał's Chopin concerto F minor in NY and it healed me through to the bone and heart.
I strongly believe that his performance was fulfilling to the discerning American audience.
I sincerely hope that Rafał will perform well again in Barcelona".

Nov 11, 2008

We wish Blechacz a success in London & Barcelona

Rafał Blechacz this week♪

Tue 11 Nov 2008, 7:30pm
Chopin piano concerto No.1 with London Philharmonia Orchestra
concucted by Charles Dutoit.


@Royal Festival Hall, London

Program site is here.


Nov.14, 21:30
Nov.15, 19:00
Nov.16, 11:00
Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto no. 2 with Orquestra Simfónica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya (OBC)
conducted by Víctor Pablo Pérez


@ L'auditori de Barcelona, Sala 1

Program page is here.
I'm personally interested in OBC, because the current Music Advisor is Eiji Oue, a Japanese conductor whom I respect.
Eiji Oue directed the 1st Pacific Music Festival orchestra in 1990 on behalf of Leonard Bernstein
who suffered from the lung cancer and passed away soon after the festival.
Eiji Oue's sunny, open atmosphere suits very well with Barcelona.

--------
Víctor Pablo Pérez (conductor)


Born in Burgos. He studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid and at the Hochschule fuer Musik in Munich, as well as in various centers in Italy and Austria.

He is considered one of the best orchestra conductors of the Spanish musical scene.
Since 1986, artistic director of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra,
since 1993, chief conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Galicia.
Also conducted orchestras such as the Philharmonia of London, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dresden and Munich Philharmonic, the Orchestra of Radio in Frankfurt, Jerusalem Symphony, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, among others.
Recently embarked on an intense recording activity for works by Shostakovich, Mozart, Prokofiev, Dvorák, Falla, Albéniz or E. Halffter, among others.

Also launched a pioneering work in the recovery of the works of Catalan composer Roberto Gerhard,
conducting the first complete recording of his symphonies.

In January 1995, made a tour of several cities in Germany and Austria in which it was presented with the Symphonic Orchestra of Galicia.

In 2001 participated in the Religious Music Week Basin, with the Symphony Orchestra of Galicia and the Choir of the Community of Madrid, with works by Mozart and Cruz de Castro.

↑ Source article of the conductor's bio is here (Spanish)



Sagrada Familia (Expiatory Temple of Holy Family)



Parc Güell (Guell Park)

Nov 9, 2008

Reviews on Blechacz CD "sonatas" (Belgium site)

Liliane Weinstadt is an artists management agency for Belgium and Luxemburg.
The web site of this agency provides artists' infomation including reviews.

Reviews on Rafal Blechacz on the site are available here.
You can read reviews on his recordings/performances by vaious media from around the world.

Let me describe the first two reviews from the site about Blechacz's latest CD "sonatas".


from www.klara.be (Belgium, in Dutch)
The program is Viennese Classic this time, with sonatas of the three great masters: Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart.
Blechacz plays the often quite solid late sonata by Haydn in a bright and playful manner, almost skittish.
And what a refined touch, what a beautiful, slim and yet full piano tone you hear here.

In Beethoven's 2nd sonata, the good humor and joy dominate the performance.
Blechacz gives the scherzo a lightness and, in the trio, even a little robust angularness.

The Mozart sonata KV 311, with a remarkably quick opening part,is full of grace and virtuosity,
a virtuosity that always speaks freely the musical language.
by Bart Tijskens


from www.klassik.com (German)
Each phrase an experience - Rafal Blechacz plays piano sonatas: Haydn - Beethoven - Mozart
... Haydn (Hob XVI: 52) E-flat Major Sonata: ... a picture of sound with unheard clarifications and purity, a range of velvety to powerfully shinning colors and a precise articulation of absolutely rare value.

Also in Beethoven's A Major Sonata op 2 / 2, his performance infuses an incredible energy from beginning to end; it remains ominpresent in both lyrical and dramatic passages.
Dynamics and agogics starting with astounding intelligence, mated with exceptionally cultivated attack let each phrase turn into an experience of immense intensity and exalted beauty

Mozart's concluding D-Dur-Sonate KV311 is also a musical and creative climax seamlessly to the next.
Runs turn into glistening pearl chains in the first and final movements here, always transparent and balanced out to complete an impressive addition to the sonic puzzle.

The andante is, with all its inherent emotional warmth, he added his 'con espressione ' in all respects right.
One simple conclusion is this: one must have heard this CD easily, but more importantly, it is - at least from my perspective - without if and but, the best of breed superlative.
by Thomas Gehrig

----------


Talking about Klara, Klara-Muziekprijzen 2008 (music prize) will be selected on Nov. 8.
Blehcacz has been selected as one of the nominees for his CD "Chopin Preludes".

Klara site is here (Dutch).
English of the site (machine translated).

Nov 7, 2008

Blechacz's voice - Reportage in Apr.'06 (audio)

Audio file titled "Człowiek słuchu" :Man of ear (hearing) (Polish)
From a reportage broadcast in April, 2006.
Please click on "Człowiek słuchu" to hear the program.
Voices of Rafał Blechacz, his mother, his teachers, etc... can be heard.





↑This photo is from a different program.
On Jan.18, 2007, Blechacz gave a news conference before touring in Poland starting the next day.
You can read an excerpt from the press conference in English.

Both the audio file and the picture have come from Dana. Dziękuję bardzo♪Arigatoh.

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.

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

Nov 5, 2008

"Newsweek" praises Blechacz's CD "sonatas"

Newsweek (Polska) has posted a review praising Rafał Blechacz's CD "sonatas - haydn, mozart, beethoven" on its on-line version.

The original article is here (Polish).


What is described is approxmately like this.↓


Rafał from magic world
The winner of 2005 Chopin Competition has accumulated more career
and it appears that his contract with the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label does not end
after recording the prescribed three albums.
Recall that in the first of these discs for 2007 was Chopin’s Preludes op.28
and the Polish pianist interpretation has gathered excellent reviews from the world.

The latest album impresses everyone including those skeptics who insist that it is safe for Blechacz to play Chopin only.
The pianist remarked in interviews that he deliberately tried to show a completely new page this time around
and therefore chose three sonatas of Viennese classics (Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart).

Each of them gives a different word, sound and mood.

Haydn’s impulsive sonata E flat major, Hob.XVI:52 is in particular stunning and pleasing.
The pearly technique, the ability to phrase and dynamics are so fabulous that it can exclaim
“Chapeau bas! (Hats off please)”.

And the way in which Rafał withstands the pause in the last movement
already allows this recording put next to the master performances by Sviatoslav Richiter.

In the early sonata A major by Beethoven op.2 No.2 (dedicated to Haydn),
he shows an astonishing imagination and extraordinary musicality.
(Especially in the second movement, Blechacz manages phenomenal colors).

In sonata D flat major, k311 by Mozart, finess and delicacy are shown but it is seasoned little by melancholic accent,reflections.

Rafał again activated the transmitter of his magic.
No way to resist it.

by Magdalena Talik
---------------

Talik writes more comprehensive review on merlin muzyka.pl. (Polish site)
English of the site (machine-translated).
This site includes a customer review written by a fan who is well known on Preludia site.



Dziękuję bardzo and thanks to Mr.Roman Frackowski and Dana for the information.

Nov 4, 2008

Review on Rafał Blechacz's recital in 2008 Salzburg Festival, CD "sonatas"

Three Reviews by Ms. Yoshiko Ikuma, Japanese music journalist


CD "sonatas - haydn, mozart, beethoven"
published by "Ongaku-no-tomo (Friend of Music)" Nov. edition, 2008


Fresh and limpid water drops are pouring out vigorously to fill the springs.
In the same way, his sounds fill our heart and mind with inspirations.

 How pure and crystal-clear the water is!
The works by Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart is given a new life thus captivating our hearts with excitement.

Completely refined technique, straightforward and unpretentious and right interpretations, lively rhythm
– everything is a testimony to the situation where Rafał Blechacz is now very much fulfilled, physically and mentally.

The three sonatas selected for the new CD are those Blehcacz has loved and performed for long years.

Outstandingly beautiful one is, in my impression, Beethoven sonata No.2 fourth movement.

He plays that graceful but technically difficult theme lightly as if humming a tune, picking up in tempo.
This natural way of playing the theme has seized my attention
and now I cannot pass a day without listening to it.

His Haydn lets me enjoy harmonic changes and the wonder of modulations;

and with Mozart, his expression of rhythm brings sense of happiness as if I am going up to Heaven.


Recital at Salzburg Festival on Aug. 15, 2008
published in Sept. edidion of the same magazine

“I am very happy to be able to play for the prestigious festival
I was relieved to see the hall was full”.

Says Rafał Blechacz after making a spectacular debut playing works of Bach, Liszt and Chopin in Salzburg.

Every year, a debut recital here draws people’s attention and this year,
 Salzburg had a waited debut recital by Rafał Blechacz.
He appeared on the stage of Großer Saal of Mozarteum with a mild, relaxed look.
He sat quietly in front of the piano with a gentle smile, and started playing “Italian Concerto” by J.S. Bach at once.

Since he was young, he has been playing Bach with the organ in the parish church.
“Italian Concerto” is one of the long-cherished pieces of Bach that he has played for long years and constituted his soul music.

He began playing the brilliant and shining first movement at quick tempo delineating the theme to the fore.

His poetry was demonstrated in the slow beautiful movement, reminiscent of an aria sung by a solo violin.

He played the rondo of the final movement buoyant and vigorously;
he was able to express the depth of sound—the feat he cultivated through playing the organ.

Next items on the program were: Franz Liszt concert studies: Waldesrauschen, La Leggierezza and Gnomenreigen;
Claude Debussy Estampes.

These works before the intermission were those that Blechacz played in his 2007 Japan Tour.
My impression was that he studied all the works further into details,
refined the way he plays them and demonstrated his deep insight into the music getting near the heart of the pieces.

He performed in an elaborate and delicate way as if he were an artisan who weaves threads into a tapestry,
paying attention to the smallest detail, thus inspiring the audience who made the hall full highly focused.

His genuine value was proved further by the works of Chopin after the intermission.
He played “Two Nocturnes op.62” and “Piano Sonata No.3” with the consistency and confidence worthy of the victor of Chopin competition
and drew a big applause with bravo from the audience of music connoisseur in Salzburg.

“I am very happy to be able to play for the prestigious festival
I was relieved to see the hall was full.
I have been practicing repeatedly the pieces that I played in Japan trying to advance them to the higher level”.

He spent the next day for giving interviews and looked fully comfortable and confident.
He has been inundated by the requests of holding concerts especially in Europe and America
but he limits the number of concerts up to less than 40 a year.

The sonatas of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven released in the new CD are the works that he has been studying and playing for long years.
(The new CD was just released by Universal Japan in September.)

He explains that he has selected these pieces considering the philosophical and internal depth of each work and organic linkage among them.

Actually, he just attended the recital of Pollini for the first time.
“ Listening to his piano prompted me to feel like working on Chopin Sonata No.2”, smiled Blechacz.

Going ahead, his agenda includes collaboration with Gergiev, Jansons and Pletnev.
When touring in Europe, he drives around by himself.




From the leaflet of Japan Tour 2009

A storm of applause offered by discerning Salzburg audience to Blechacz’s fresh and appealing pianism;
the storm is landing Japan again in 2009

Rafał Blechacz – now the renowned pianist after the sweeping victory at 2005 Chopin competition, winning the first prize as well as all the awards for performances of Mazurka, Polonaise and Concerto –has been continuing the comfortable advance.

He achieved phenomenal successes in major European cities of music such as Amsterdam, London and Paris.
He has displayed a performance in NY so impressive that he is invited for another concert.
Furthermore, he made a long-waited recital debut this summer in Salzburg Festival, the top of the world of music festivals with long history and tradition.
The list of performers of this year included such masterly pianists as Brendel, Pollini, Mitsuko Uchida and Zimmerman.

Blechacz appeared on the stage of Großer Saal of Mozarteum, the venue of his Salzburg debut recital at 7:30 pm August 15, 2008.
He looked relaxed and composed.
The good relax was reflected on his play; he showed a natural, sonorously singing and flowing pianism.

Although the performance is perfect, it is not stiff; I felt it refreshing and a gentle breeze blowing from somewhere.
As the pianist made himself at home, wholeheartedly enjoying playing music,
he let listeners freely absorbed in the merits of each work.

The bigger becomes a stage, the more Blechacz demonstrates his potentiality.
Rather than showing off techniques, he relies on his ability to express and depth of musicality.
He draws sighs of admiration and sometimes tears of inspiration.

I am the one who has been listening to his music since the 2005 Chopin competition
but it is the first time that I saw him playing so pleasantly.
There I caught a glimpse of how seriously he devotes himself to practicing in day to day life.
He limits the number of concerts up to 40 a year and finds it meaningful to step forward with the process of making progress alone.

“I would like to advance the quality of my performance further.
I believe that I need to be integrated with the pieces in order to let the audience fully enjoy them.

I never bring a work onto the stage if I have a small doubt about playing it.
It could be dishonest to the great composer if I dare to bring it out.
 Now I really enjoy the process to squarely face each piece to try to finish it on my own.
It gives me a kind of pleasure that otherwise I could not obtain”.

Blechacz considers important his way of life and sense of value.
How much attention he receives or how busy he becomes, he has been consistent in the attitude toward life.
He makes it his motto not to change his play; the true nature remains the same although the quality continues to advance.
I believe that this is the unshakable personality of Rafal Blechacz.

His pianism colored by the form of statuesque beauty is made possible by the strenuous efforts he makes every day.
To his traditional, classical and refreshing interpretations, the discerning audience in Salzburg gave storms of applause.

Blechacz is now devoted himself to Vienna classical composers and Szymanowski.
Their works are to be played in his 2009 Japan Tour program.
I am looking forward to seeing inspiring moments that touch deeply our heart and mind.

-----------
 Ms. Yoshiko Ikuma is a renowned Japanese music journalist and Blechacz watcher.

I remember when I saw Blechacz for the first time on TV program, tears appeared in my eyes.
I was surprised (I did not know who the pianist was), and tried to find why.

Ms. Ikuma's writing was quite helpful to understand Rafał Blechacz's piano
and I came to know that this is a process "common" to many people, young and old, men and women --even jurors of the competition had tears when hearing Blechacz's piano.

Please see Ikuma's essay for Blechacz's recital at Mibu during 2007 Japan Tour.
This recital at Mibu was for me the first Blechacz's solo recital.
When he appeared on the stage, I felt a gentle breeze blew across.

Nov 3, 2008

Blechacz Salzburg recital webcast Nov.11

Rafał Blechacz's recital at Salzburg Festival on Aug.15, 2008 will be broadcast
by Polskie Radio (Poland Radio) dwójka (Program2)
at 15:05 (Poland local time) on Nov. 11.

Polskie Radio program site is here.
Please click on "Słuchaj w internecie" (hearing via Internet) on the left side,
and the "dwójka (Program2)" will start the broadcast.



Dziękuję bardzo and thanks to Dana for the information,



(To Japanese audience)
ラファウ・ブレハッチのザルツブルク音楽祭でのリサイタルが、ポーランドラジオで聴けます。
11月11日、午後23時05分(日本時間)より。
上記リンクをクリックし、画面左、上から3番目の"Słuchaj w internecie" をクリックするとそのまま聴けます。


 On the same day, on Nov.11, Blechacz will perform Chopin concerto No.1 with London Philharmonia Orchestra
conducted by Charles Dutoit at Royal Festival Hall, London.

Please see London Philharmonia Orchestra program site.
(The program is quite attractive!)

In London, Blechacz will hold an evening recital at Wigmore Hall on April 22, 2009, according to Guardian.
He made Wigmore debut at lunch time in April, 2007.

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〕 

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

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〕 

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

 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.〕
---------------

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.

Nov 2, 2008

Loud-voice Japanese critic endorses Blechacz CD

Sankei Newspaper posted a short review on Blechacz's CD "sonatas-haydn, mozart, beethoven" on Oct.12, 2008,
by Koho Uno, an influential Japanese music critic/conductor.

Original Japanese site is here.

"I cannot recall an example that I was so amazed by a pianist in recent years.
I’m talking about a new CD by Rafał Blechacz, the winner of 2005 Chopin Competition in Warsaw (Universal Music).
The recording is a collection of sonatas by classical composers: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

What impressed me most was Mozart sonata No.9, k311.
What a fine and beautiful first movement!
With the comfortable tempo of allegro,
his exhilarating brilliant, charming and matched tones are enjoyably dancing about.

I have never ever heard a pianist with such a natural and marvelously even finger flows.

Technically, he is an unusually proficient pianist!
That’s said, he is never unexpressive nor monotonous,
rather gets perfect score for “sophisticated”good taste.

More than anything else, his finest sensitivity when playing pianississimo is electrifying
and drove me crazy.

Usually I like to listen to the music with the possible highest volume;
but for Blechacz, I lowered the volume remarkably not to compromise his delicate, exquisite tones".

----------

Koho Uno is a music critic & conductor and famous for his straightforward criticism.
He flatly declares; this performance is good; that is bad.
He has been influential in creating demands for classical music.

Uno speaks with so-called "Uno language" which is not easy to translate.
For example, he describes Blechacz as,
"How abnormal his technique is!" and my translation for this is,
"Technically, he is an unusually proficient pianist!"

If I translate his essasy as it is, the resulting translation could be "abnormal".
Therefore, what you read is a mild version (but faithful to the spirit) of his review.
It is about the language barrier that I always feel in my job.

If I summarize Uno's thought, it could be,
"Ah, Rafał cool! This is the best performance I have ever heard in my entire life!"
but I had read in another interview that Rafał doesn't want to hear such a comment,
so I cautiously tried to avoid such a rough expression.

Sankei newpaper is a national newpaper, ranked 5th in Japan with 2 million copies as circulation.
(Sankei = industry and economy)
The tone is conservative.
The publisher is a part of the media/business giant, Fuji-Sankei Group.

----------
The article was sent to me by a Japanese fan. 
(I call her Ms. Wiewiórka. She is a piano teacher.)
Thank you for always infroming me and supporting the site♪

----------
 I created a "Picture gallery" page" with some links to the sites/articles containing nice pictures
some of which are not often seen on the Internet.

Nov 1, 2008

Stormy applause to Blechacz, Dortmund Konzerthaus

German newspaper "Ruhr Nachrichten" posted a review of Rafał Blechacz's recital at Dortmund Konzerthaus on Oct.30.

The reviewer is quite positive and says more or less as follows:


Firestorm of the heart -- by Julia Gaß, Oct.31
Rafał Blechacz – Poland hasn't produced such a great pianist’s talent as the young man probably since the times of Artur Rubinstein.

Young pianism master: Rafał Blechacz 

On Thursday evening the 23-year-old played in Dortmund Konzerhaus one of the most remarkable concerts in the “Master pianists” series. Mozart performed by Blechacz is original, its perception of Debussy most individual and interpretations of his favourite composer - Chopin – are spectacular.

Brilliant technique 
The Pole interpreted Chopin’s B minor sonata reaching its depth. The easily confident and brilliant technique of Blechacz wasn’t even for a while mere sudden key hitting as willingly practiced in the final by Japanese peer piano stars, but rather passionate storming of the heart.

In truth Blechacz is rather an elegiac interpreter, gentle virtuoso who can easily and exhaustively make complex structures such as the ones in Chopin’s C-sharp minor mazurka sound beautifully out. – He is an interpreter who is deeply lost in music not giving at the same time any impression of melancholy, singing cantilenes and his verve spreads distinctly out from under his fingers. Just like everything in his performance seems to be flowing.



Copperplate engraving and watercolour painting 
The young Pole is a careful pianist in love with details. In fast phrases of Mozart’s KV 311 Sonata he delicately produced tones and at the piano he was nothing more than a live wire – though, very much precise. 


 Blechacz embellished "Estampes"(“Woodcuts”) by Debussy using the right pedal. More than “Copperplates it ("Estampes") resembled watercolour painting in which the atmosphere of “gardens in the rain” was passed on also to Japanese “pagodas” and Andalusian rhythms of "Soiree". With Chopin locked in his heart Blechacz played “Variations” of his compatriot Szymanowski more passionately, a youthful work, in which an atmosphere of change is heard. He met with thunderous applause.




-----------
The original German review was sent to me by Mr. Roman Frackowski, NJ, US.
Danke schön!!
My sincere appreciation to him.