Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Jul 4, 2009

Polish critic admires Blechacz and RCO @Amsterdam

(2nd posting as of July 4 at 3:10 am CEST)

"Great Blechacz conquers Amsterdam."

Jacek Hawryluk of Polskie Radio reports Blechacz's great performance of two concertos by Chopin
with RCO at Amsterdam Concertgebouw on July 2.
It was posted on Gazeta Wyborcza site.

Hawryluk admires both Blechacz and RCO
and explains in detail the recording process of Blechacz's third CD from DG which will continue until July 4.

Original review by Jacek Hawryluk on Gazeta Wyborcza (Polish)

Because of my shortage of Polish vocabulary, this is a "round-up" version in English.

As of July 3 @ Amsterdam

The two Chopin concertos in one performance - Rafał Blechacz in the morning records a new album for the prestigious German label Deutsche Grammophon, and in the evening shows to the public exactly what he is working on.

“The audience here was my audience”, - said Blechacz after the concert, clearly relaxed, who was in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, one of the most famous European concert halls; it was his fourth appearance there.

Holidays in full, nevertheless for a Thursday evening the turnout was 100 % - already standing ovations after the Second Concerto in F minor, Op. 21, which was played first. After the Concerto in E minor, Op. 11 there was a real euphoria, similar to that which I remember from the Chopin Competition in 2005, when our pianist overwhelmingly won.

From Tuesday (that was the pianist’s 24 birthday) recording sessions continued in the morning at Concertgebouw. Blechacz together with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra records his third album for Deutsche Grammophon. After Chopin's preludes and sonatas of Viennese classicals, Chopin again, because the forthcoming jubilee year in 2010 obliges it. On the new disc there will be two piano concertos, which Jerzy Semkow directs.

Trying to do additional "attempt", the artists have in common, showing the audience that what they are working. Each of the parts of Mozart's overture began - first the great, rapidly drawn to " The Marriage of Figaro", in the second part and even more driving, full of references to Turkey's " The Abduction from the Seraglio".

Even those small details were heard, that’s why the Royal Orchestra of Amsterdam in December was recognized by British critics of "Gramophone" for the best orchestra in the world (ahead of Berliners and Vienna Philharmonic). The performance clear and evident, each of individual sections of the orchestra is heard, presenting the impeccable intonation. The very pleasure that the conductor must also feel - just to take a quick look at the instrumentalist and understand at once.

Blechacz and Semkow started from the second concerto in F minor, which is chronologically the first. It was heard that, at the disposal of such a great team, they both wanted to take full advantage of it. Polish conductor directed orchestral parts with a broad gesture, allowing Amsterdam instrumentalists to play on their own. The sound thus made was full, saturated and really symphonic. Semkow gave orchestra full authority (this proposal completely different from the one proposed in 1999 by Krystian Zimerman with Polish Festival Orchestra, putting these compositions on chamber).

Blechacz on his part proved himself well in this concept – he is a virtuoso with noble enthusiasm and thoughtfulness; not playing according to a pattern, nor spoiled by routine; bursting with freshness and optimism; even ideal characteristics for the performance of Chopin's early works.
You could hear him still appropriately searching for, trying, testing tempo rubato (especially in the finals). Middle, free part Blechacz exquisitely played - the sound was delicate, romantic, almost made for such stories of intimate incidents. In krakowiak from Concerto in E minor, he played on the dance rhythms, as if whispering the orchestra about how the phrase should be.

They end the recording sessions on Saturday.
"Now the painstaking work is before me," smiles Blechacz.
" Selecting the best portions and filing them in whole. And I will do trial listening and make suggestions. I would also like to participate in the preparation of the final disc in Germany".

The pianist with the precision in his construction over the repertoire perhaps succeeded from Krystian Zimerman, who usually almost obsessively monitored the recorded material.

Musicians of Royal Orchestra "Concertgebouw" seem like Rafal. A close relationship between them was felt.
“How they play!” Blechacz complements.
“French horn was played beautifully, so were bassoons and flutes. It seems to me that the central parts were excellent. In the concert there was a very spontaneous atmosphere, but in the recording session their rules govern".

World premiere of the Concertos will be September 18. If they become like during the Thursday evening in Amsterdam, we will have with them a lot of fun. Although ... Starting the evening with the Concertgebouw, we all had in minds the mazurka that the pianist played beautifully for encore. And if we can persuade the producers of Deutsche Grammophon for the complete mazurkas? In the past it was not.

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