Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Nov 6, 2009

Krystian Zimerman performed "Rhapsody in Blue"

Krystian Zimerman performed "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conduced by Paavo Järvi five times in Japan (Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya and Nishinomiya) from late October to early November.

Intrigued by the interesting piece and combination of the orchestra and the soloist, I went to the concert in Yokohama on November 3.

It was not a typical piano concerto in that the piano was one of the parts of the symphonic piece.
I was deeply impressed by Zimerman who was perfectly relaxed and enjoyed his time on the stage dazzling us with super excellent cadenzas although I felt a difference of nature between his fine, sophisticated piano playing and the loud sound of the American orchestra.

Zimerman played the 3rd Prelude by Gershwin for an encore.
The way he began playing the encore was humorous - after taking curtain calls several times he appeared again, happily trotting to the piano with a big smile and abruptly began playing before his bottom touched the stool.

The following is an excerpt from the short interview included in the concert booklet.

"Candide" Overture by Leonard Bernstein
Divertimento by Leonard Bernstein
"Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin
Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" by Antonín Dvořák

Interviewer: Katsuhiko Shibata, music writer

Krystian Zimerman plays Rhapsody in Blue?
Unexpected selection from my image of Zimerman who stoically goes into the depth of serious piece to refine it perfectly.

Zimerman says;
“It is for the first time since I was 15 years old to play this piece on the stage. Oh, don’t calculate how many years ago it was. (Note by Mr.Shibata: It is for the first time in 37 years.) Actually I have a large repertoire. What I play for concerts is only 10 % of that. It looks like that the listeners have a specific image of me so it is enjoyable to perform a piece which they don’t anticipate from me.”

The selection is a part of his intensive activities in Japan of recent years.

“I have been expanding music activities in Japan for the past two and a half years. The biggest trigger was that I have my house built in Tokyo. Now for me performing in Japan is no longer overseas tour; I hold a concert at a place I live in. Under such circumstances, I would like to extend the frame and axes of my activities, performing a wide range of works from Bach through to contemporary music, including collaboration with orchestras and chamber music.

I began with Brahms with Gidon Kremer (2007), followed by Concerto by Witold Lutosławski (2008).

This year, I played for recitals of serious works including Bach, Beethoven and piece of 20th century.
What's next? I thought about it and came to George Gershwin’ s work, the amalgamation of Jazz and symphonic music.

In spring 2010, I will perform Chopin recitals with sonatas No.2 and No.3 at core. 
In autumn 2010, I would like to play pieces of Robert Schuman commemorating his 200th birthday like Chopin and piano quintet composed by Louis Vierne, a pupil of César Franck.”

As for George Gershwin Zimerman says that he has already played Three Preludes for Piano and believes that Jazz has firmly established the image of its own in music history. So how does he feel about Rhapsody in Blue?

“It’s a great music as a symphony piece. Gershwin was highly talented and it is really regrettable that he passed away so young. His works are on a large extension of Jazz but I faithfully follow what he wrote in the score. From this viewpoint, his music is different from Jazz which is often accompanied by improvisation.”

The audience is looking forward to the collaboration with Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

“I have worked with Paavo many times. His baton is accurate and sincere. But he is a conductor who makes everyone enjoy. I will work with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for the first time but the piece we’ll play is the one instilled in their blood, so I have no concern.”

Zimerman's new CD of Grazyna Bacewicz is not yet released here.
It will be released on November 20 under the current plan.

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