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Mar 18, 2009

Review on Blechacz's concert in Japan (1)

Review by Takaakira Aosawa
on Beethoven's concerto No.4 @ Tokyo Suntory Hall on Feb.12, 2009
and solo recital @ Tokyo Bunka-kaikan (cultural hall) on Feb.18, 2029

published by "Ongaku-no-tomo"(music friend), Japanese music monthly, April, 2009


Piano concerto No.4 by Beethoven
Flawless, clear-cut and crystalline
--Blechacz's sound advancing like a limpid stream



Every time coming to Japan, Rafał Blechacz has shown a stable growth.

The highest prize he obtained in 2003 Hamamatsu competition and the victory in 2005 Chopin competition in Warsaw were the starting of his international career.
I cannot believe that these were only a few years ago.
When I hear the performance by the 23-year-old now,
I could tell that he has spent some time to introspect himself to grow.

In his 2009 Japan Tour, Blechacz performed Beethoven’s piano concerto No.4 in G major
with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSB) directed by Marek Janowski.
He also held five recitals with the program that I believe he has taken time to mature.

Blechacz reportedly performed Chopin’s concerto No.1
with the same orchestra under the baton of the same maestro
for his Berlin debut in December, 2008.
For the latest Japan tour, he selected the fourth concerto from Beethoven’s concertos,
the optimal fit for the current Blechacz.

Since his inauguration as the music director and chief conductor of the RSB,
Janowski has maintained a close relationship with the orchestra
and highly acclaimed for enhancing the presence of RSB.
The maestro focused on Beethoven and Brahms in the latest Japan tour
and read into details of the music sharply and clearly.

On February 9, he conducted RSB with Rafał Blechacz as a soloist at Tokyo Suntory Hall.
Polished flawless, clear-cut and crystalline,
the piano sound by Blechacz progressed rapidly like a limpid stream
including the low-register range, although the volume is not powerful.

I wish there were occasions where he could demonstrate his quality as poet
by singing lyrical parts more slowly and naturally.

But because of maestro Janowski’s inclination for simple and brisk flow,
Blechacz rendered bright and lively performance.
The similar tendency was implied in his solo recital.

It could be safely said that Blechacz emphasized more characteristics of classicals
than dramatic and lyrical tastes of romanticism.


Leaflet of concerto with Janowski and RSB


Solo recital
-- I felt close to Blechacz and his sincerity

In the solo recital, Blechacz played Mozart sonata B flat major k570
and Beethoven sonata A major op2-2 before the intermission.

After the intermission were 4 Mazurkas op17 and Heroic Polonaise op53 by Chopin
and Variations op3 by Szymanowski, the compatriot composers that Poland is proud of.

I attended the recital at Tokyo Bunka-kaikan (cultural hall) on February 18.

Throughout the concert, Blechacz played sincerely, devoted himself to the pieces honestly.
It made me feel very close to him;
I felt as if I happened to hear him playing in his room
rather than attending the recital at the major concert hall.

He maintained equilibrium of both hands and deployed every sound right and precise.
Furthermore, he added cheerful beauty to the Mozart and sheer drama to the Beethoven.

In playing Mazurkas, he showed personal nature of the diary-like pieces.
His delicate, beautiful sounds produced internalized poems.

When playing more extraverted polonaise A flat major,
Blechacz was consistently noble as if playing for the salon rather than leaping ambitiously.

For Szymanowski, he counted on exquisite subtle changes to convey versatile expressions
rather than extending volume range.

He played Chopin’s Prelude E minor for encore of both solo recital and concerto.
The conscientious performance was the quiet testimony to the modest and honest personality of Blechacz.

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