From my archive, a review on Rafał Blechacz's recital at 2008 Verbier Festival on July 31, 2008,
written by Bertrand Bolognesi.
Original review (French)
Rafał Blechacz - Birth of The Poet
Three years ago, the prestigious Chopin Competition in Warsaw crowned
Rafał blechacz with the 1st prize and three awards,
a pianist born in 1985 in Bydgoszcz, Pomerania.
The young man is for the second time at the Verbier Festival today.
Having met through the recent disc by Deutsche Grammophon (Chopin, Preludes), we actually discover him,
this time through Italian Concerto BWV 971 by Johann Sebastian Bach,
which he offers an interpretation - intelligent and sensibly constructed.
The first movement features an elegant touch, nimble ornamentation, a little singing but without excess,
articulated in a nearly severe tactus that is contrary to generous tenderness.
The accentuation makes itself discrete, the execution like a lacework of the north meticulously elaborated,
beyond the proposed Italian promise.
This discretion, one will find it again in the slight delay hardly affecting the ends of phrases of the central Andante,
served by a round sonority and an inventive art of the nuance,
in a boundary of voluntary restraint.
While affirming his tension by the regularity of motifs,
the Presto gains the unusual and reasonable relief (=distinctiveness) of the left hand,
daring to give a deeply thought contrast although never spectacular.
Undeniably, the artist knows how to reveal polyphony through his inner qualities
that are imposed on him as a personal signature.
In fact, one will be less convinced by his Three Concert Studies by Franz Liszt.
Is it regrettable that the young musician has to prove his technique by the virtuosity
to legitimize his premier match in public, because the poetry that Rafał Blechacz's play aims at doesn't need such demonstrations.
That part of his Swiss recital could appear least interesting, with smooth Leggierezza,
Waldesrauschen more fortunately nuanced and very lovely Gnomenreigen too little fantastic.
It is impeccable, clean and prudent, no more than that.
From Pagodas one knows at which point the universe of Debussy agrees with the Polish pianist.
His affinities with the Estampes appear evident.
All is there, until this difficult antagonism of the indications of the score, evoking a lot
(calling the low register but not-outstanding, invention of a third hand, etc.).
He maintained an astonishing balance, finely founding the motifs.
For The evening in Grenada Rafał Blechacz is not misled:
it is a dream of Spain, an internal journey, a sleepiness of the lids toward the imaginary sound without vividness, which he proposes.
His conception affirms itself subtle, even a little intellectual.
It is a thick shower under a sunbeam that falls then on the Gardens under rain, unexpected sensuality.
The last clouds can be felt in the flout of trill of notorious regularity.
To finish, a river is called by the curious, aborted crescendo.
After the intermission, the artist dedicates the second part of this moment to his compatriot Chopin.
First of all with the Mazurka Op.50 where the Vivace in G major displays an intelligently contrasted burst,
dynamics and always imaginative.
The presence of the touch makes itself astounding.
The Allegretto in the A flat major will make us say that Blechacz has completely integrated this music
where appropriate with love as much as respect.
The fine percussiveness of the central part is intriguing.
Then he carries the song of the Moderato in C sharp minor very high, without making a lyric appearance, however.
More and more getting personal, the interpretation gains in inspiration.
Certainly this approach is not contradictory to the execution of the Sonata Op.58 n°3 in B minor
written in 1844 to the side of George Sand, in Nohant.
Definitely, Rafał Blechacz doesn't repeat the same, always engraving a new manner of what he has just made heard,
thus delivering the Allegro maestoso literally captivating, devilishly scrupulous but open and flexibly structured for generating every sound.
The Scherzo lets you guess a swiftness that could surprise you more in some years,
but that may remain a little monolithic yet.
The extreme regularity of the conclusion is expressive to it only.
The aerial ballade of the Largo breathes as rarely.
He unites rigor and grace, until the ultimate resumption that is achieved in bronze velvet,
with his fluid vocalizing pianissimo, his precise choices of touch, precisely faithful to the score.
The ample and deep choral suddenly breaks into the final Presto, of an equality of nuance and a stunning clarity, with a full-speed.
The air was nearly astonished by people's applauding to him so heartily,
that the artist offers a mazurka and Waltz in C sharp minor Op.64 n°2 in a play of the elegant sadness,
never charming nor pretty or heavily sorrowful, but on the contrary original and ingenious
at the clever middle part with the delicate half-tones.
Review on his recital at 2006 Verbier Festival
Blechacz that a French fan sees at 2008 Verbier
The style and the use of vocabularies by this reviewer were difficult for me, as you can see.
(I changed some words to avoid misunderstanding.)
But it is the only review on his recital at Verbier fof last year that I found and I wanted to share.