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Jul 10, 2009

"I never abandon contact with piano" - Blechacz interview (Poland)

Netbird.pl Kultura posted on July 7, 2009, an interview with Rafał Blechacz.

Original interview (Polish)


"I would never abandon contact with piano", says Blechacz.

Rafał Blechacz, the winner of the Chopin competition in 2005, 
talks about his love of music, magic of concerts, and plans for the future. 


Rafał Blechacz says that he has never - even in the earliest years -experienced the collapse of his interest in music. 
Not only that, it was never the story of coercion by parents for forceful exercise on the instrument. 
He says that when he was a child he already knew what he wants to do in the future, 
and the ability to exercise for uninterrupted hours on instrument left people in profound astonishment. 

This does not mean, however, that he allocated his time only for playing the piano. 
As he stressed, his growth proceeded correctly - he played with ball and he traveled by bicycle. 

At some point, however, music became prevailing and piano became his indispensable element. 
A simple fact played the biggest role in selecting future road 
- the young musician deeply loved playing for other people. 


The pianist remembers that he enjoyed days when he would hold concerts.
He played accompaniment for ceremony equivalent to the holy mass,
and in the air an exciting atmosphere was rising. 

"The silence prevailing in the room fascinated me before I started playing. 
The very silence in the room before the first touch of the keyboard is a sign of transmission of specific emotion, 
which is to take place in a moment. 
At that moment I am aware that I can interact with the people seated in the audience.
And in the end I am rewarded with the popular applause", Blechacz reports. 

In this respect, little has changed until now. 
Satisfaction by the listeners is the highest award for the musician and mobilization to improve his skills. 


The musician recalls that in his family there was a long tradition of amateur music. 
His grandfather belonged to a music team of accompanying local celebrations, 
and father and uncle played the piano. When Rafał Blechacz came to this world, the piano was waiting for him at home. 

The boy loved climbing at the piano to tap melodies and his parents understood it quickly. 
At the age of five he was sent to the music center in Nakło first, and then to the School of Music in Bydgoszcz. 

Perhaps the musician's children would follow the similar way. 
But for now he doesn't plan to start his family yet. 

In addition to music, he absorbs studies 
- from 2008 he has carried on doctoral studies at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Nicolaus Copernicus. 






Rafał Blechacz talked about friendship, which connects him with Krystian Zimerman. 
After the triumph in Chopin competition they spent together seven days,
during which commonly they played Chopin, Debussy and Beethoven, 
and Zimmerman found for Blechacz thirty CDs, which should be thoroughly studied. 

This type of intimacy becomes major tradition in the world classical music. 
Suffice it to say that at the time of his success Zimmerman stayed for a week at the Arthur Rubinstein. 
Of course, in addition to friendship in an environment of professional musicians, there is also competition. 
The young pianist however - is not troubled by this. 

“I think that's great, since there are different music interpretations. 
Listeners thus have a choice. As in the gallery of images. 
And every artist has his own public” - he adds. 

It is important, however, that the musician does not exceed a certain limit 
- he would play for the audience but not to the taste of the audience. 
The pianist emphasizes that he also makes it pleasure playing for himself, 
away from the great concert halls. 

If he has to stop concerts, though it would be difficult for him, he would bear it.
However he would never abandon contact with the piano.



Piano, although it is love for Blechacz's life, it doesn't exhaust all his interest in music. 
He says that he is tempted to take a baton at his hand as even Zimerman or Barenboim did. 
The pianist is of the opinion that knowledge about conducting helps in the interpretation of music compositions 
and allows a soloist to put more requirements on orchestras accompanying him during concertos. 

Blechacz stresses that he also loves playing the organ, but after the Chopin competition he has less time. 
The sound of organ and performance in the church, in his view, form the soulful aura and great sense of peace. 


Krystian Zimerman once said that one day Blechacz will have to replace him, taking over the pianistic baton. 
The musician doesn't hide his satisfaction and offers these words. 

"It is very nice words. Verification of the appropriateness of my artistic way" - he says. 
And he adds that it also means a pretty big commitment that he should take. 


The conversation with Rafał Blechacz was published in the "Wprost Light" dated July 12, 2009.


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When Rafał Blechacz mentions his interest in conducting orchestra, I recall remarks that a gentleman in the audience shared with me for his playing concerto in F minor by Chopin in NY last year.

"...the second performance by Rafał on Saturday was excellent too
and the orchestra and the conductor were even more in love with his style, 
his approach he demanded in his gentle and convincing way. 
The public was nailed to the chairs, stunned with awe and admiration..." 

This gentleman recently described for me why (or how) Rafał Blechacz's playing strikes chord in people's heart:

"......I couldn't forget Rafał playing it at New York Philharmonic under Marin Alsop. 
His rendition was so brilliant, spontanesous in a sense, with perfect proportions 
bewteen piano and forte, between quietness and fervor. 

Rafał extracted from the piece all its effervescence, its spark, and - at the same time - its seriousness and elegance, 
so ideally that one couldn't think or rather feel that such a genius composer as Chopin would intend otherwise..

...what I am trying to say, is that the whole playing of the piece from the beginnig to the end 
should be an even and proportional realization of a concept to communicate the entire aesthetics assumed in the piece. 
And then a listener is being captivated, immersed more and more in the beauty of the piece 
as the playing progresses, to be left off in awe at the end. 

And Rafał is a master of this". 

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