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Nov 16, 2009

Reviews of Blechacz's Chopin Concertos (Poland)

Review of Rafał Blechacz's CD "Chopin The Piano Concertos" by Jowita Dziedzic-Golec, RMF Classic

Original review (Polish)


Pianist far from glitz

Foreign critics called him an architect of sound. They say that "he wraps the audience around his ten fingers (he wins over the audience’s hearts with his ten fingers)," and that "whoever wants to understand Chopin, he must listen to Rafał Blechacz." They are right. Blechacz, similarly - though with his right way - as Krystian Zimerman used to be, discovers Chopin afresh. He gives music of our nation’s composer, by no means of self-centered music. You could say that it is clean, not out of order and pianistic art at the highest level.

After the success of the previous two CDs (with recordings of Chopin's Preludes and Sonatas by Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart), the artist decided to celebrate the coming Chopin Year 2010 with the recording of two piano concertos by Fryderyk Chopin. The pianist was accompanied by the excellent Concertgebouw Orchestra, which last year acquired the title of world's best orchestras under the baton of Maestro Jerzy Semkow. This is the third album of Rafał Blechacz for Deutsche Grammophon, and from what I remember the fourth at all, because the first was released with other colors. Well, with the new album, the pianist once again confirmed that his success was no accident. It shows how very matured - despite his young age - he is as an artist.

Chopin was also very young when writing these concerts, even younger than Rafał, he composed them at the age of 19 and 20 years old. They were his first really significant works after completing studies. After publicly presented for the first time in March and October 1830 in the National Theater, the concertos met with great appreciation. Mauricy Mochnacki wrote in Kurier Polski (Polish courier): "Indeed! Making his name widely known, who in his youth begins so". They combine his virtuosity and romance.

Brilliant style reached its apogee in them, but at the same time it was, to say goodbye for good. Chopin’s Concertos with concerto in G minor by Mendelssohn and A minor by Schumann are actually the essence of the Romantic concerto.
The question: for pianists what is the most important in these concertos?
Rafał Blechacz answers: "a sense of their emotional nature, the emotional nuances.
And he added: "We must allow ourselves some freedom of interpretation, depending on an inspiration that appears at a given moment and a given location.
Therefore the environment is also important: atmosphere of the hall, and rapport with the conductor is even more important." As for the place, the registration of that album was made in the Concertgebouw hall and there his live concert was held, where Rafał Blechacz completely won the hearts of the Dutch audience.

It has been four years since Rafał Blechacz decisively won the 15th Chopin Competition. The modest 20 yearl old from Nakło has already toured for a considerable amount of concerts throughout the world and made progress of good deal with the phonographic tycoon. But fortunately it is still the same Blechacz - far from the glitzy pianist.
Jowita Dziedzic-Golec, RMF Classic


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Another review by Dominik Górny

Original review (Polish)


Music which believes in goodness

Skillful playing the compositions of Frederic Chopin creates music where others failed to render feelings of human soul – the sounds on the latest album of Rafał Blechacz thought its echo.

The renowned pianist interprets passion of Chopin's sound, allowing us not only to hear them, but truly experience.

In music lies the truth about man
CD "Chopin - Rafał Blechacz” is the third in the achievements of the young pianist album recorded for the prestigious label "Deutsche Grammophon". Artistic publishing program creates one of the most admired and "picturesque" piano concertos by Chopin: in E minor and F minor. Forefront of their sound brings out the piano, which with all its sound unveils the mysteries of the concert hall in Amsterdam - Concertgebouw.

Of the most importance in his secrets is expressed in the fact that it is the most favorite concert hall for Rafał Blechacz. He chose it as the dream place to record an album shortly after winning the Chopin Competition in 2005, when he performed, inter alia, the concerto in E minor, which is recorded on his current album. It is also unique in this view that Blechacz has not yet recorded for Deutsche Grammophon "concertos accompanied by orchestras. Listening to the harmony that is achieved in dialogue with the piano, it is easy to recognize that this is a dream orchestra and conductor, with whom the pianist understands well each other. Understanding and common artistic inherence are given to the listeners of the CD, convincing them how the notes can attain the fullness of happiness only when they do not have a sense of loneliness. Unification of sounds gives even the sacred word presented by Chopin's compositions - a single sound can not create a concerto, in the same manner a lonely man, without reference to what he hears in the heart of his fellows, is unable to see the full dimension of the beauty given by God.

Soul of Chopin Concerto
Music "crowned" by the sounds of the Royal Orchestra under the baton of Jerzy Semkow makes you want to listen to the story. The artists who transformed music characters in sounds, read the notes as if they were Chopin's diary. It can bring up the impression that the piano is a narrator and orchestral instruments are protagonists of events. Immediately recall the times in which the two concerts were created. When composing them, Chopin was less than twenty years old, and his life, spent with friends, was "sunny" - just like a musical interpretation of Blechacz, who reflects the romantic nature of the works of Chopin.

With successive sounds flowing from the CD, we feel as if we were wandering along with Chopin in villages of Mazowsze, where the rhythm of life inspired the music of his teenage years. And exactly about their delight and hope, Blechacz narrates with his playing. We sincerely listen to the joy of "words" of his piano, who appreciate the spiritual depths of more than a show of virtuosity.

The secret of Chopin's music is Polishness
Rafał Blechacz - as he himself admits - listens to the "heart of compositions". Because of that we are getting closer to the intentions of piano concertos, which allows us to "remember" Polishness. All through Krakowiak "dancing" in the sound of Concerto in E minor or Mazurka, whose motives are revived in Concerto in F minor. What's more, Blechacz’s individual distinction, by means of the "Polish" style of piano playing, exuding the love of his native land. From this perspective, Rafał Blechacz - world-renowned pianist, is valued precisely for his "Polish-ness". It is not surprising, therefore, that listening to his latest CD, we have the impression that he wanted to "play" the words that Chopin once wrote in letters: "Polish fields have left some yearning inside me – the birch beneath the window could not leave my memory."

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Thanks to Dana and Roman for the data.
Sorry for the delay of posting them.




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