Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz

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Jan 31, 2009

Review on Blechacz's CD "sonatas" + preview of 2009 Japan tour (Japan)

"Sinfonia", monthly journal for the members of The Symphony Hall; Osaka, Japan
offered in its Feb. edition a special column about Rafał Blechacz
written by Ms.Yoshiko Ikuma, a music journalist.

Ikuma expresses her expectations for Blechacz's recital to be held at The Symphony Hall
on Feb.22, 2009, the final leg of Blechacz's Japan Tour
as well as her joy of listening to Blechacz's music.



Graceful and fresh; his pianism sounds deep in our hearts

“Entering the Chopin Competition had been a dream for long years.
But it really came home to me how difficult for a Pole to join this competition.
I was in anguish days and nights with the doubt if I could demonstrate fully what I have.
It was a struggle against myself rather than I was concerned of someone else.
I offered prayer to the Lord every day so that I can keep my composure.
In order to concentrate myself on my performance, I’ve never listened to other contestants”.

This is how Rafał Blechacz poured out his true feelings soon before his victory was announced
at the 15th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in October, 2005…….

From the very beginning, people spoke of Blechacz’s play as if Chopin himself plays.
He never bangs keys; strikingly beautiful pianos are deeply rooted in his profound expression.
The rhythm is light and the tone is fresh; making us feel that the piece was just created now.
But deep inside the performance is tinged with the traditional sound,
reminding us of the days when Chopin lived, quietness and aroma of romanticism.
While other contestants showed off aggressive, speedy and dynamic Chopin,
Blechacz created his own world: the space of tranquility and peace.

“I used to play the organ in my parish church.
I began piano at the age of five and since then I couldn’t separate myself from piano.
I would play J.S. Bach very often and I have kept playing Chopin as beloved and respected composer.

When Chopin lived, the time passed slower and people’s lives were quieter;
they had composure to think about things thoroughly.
The music of those days did not require them to be aggressive or run at full speed.
I want to maintain Chopin’s music in such a manner.
I would like to offer the music that can heal listeners’ hearts and minds.
It would be terrific if I could play to let their hearts absorbed in the beauty of music".





His attitude towards music has been consistent.
When I saw him for the first time, he looked quiet and self-restrained.
Gradually, however, I noticed changes.
Recently, he is more humorous, and jokes appear here and there as he speaks.
He has worked with distinguished conductors and orchestras in Europe and made his debut in America successful.

Furthermore, he made a spectacular debut at Salzburg recital, welcome by a storm of applauses by discriminating audience.
When I saw him the next day for interview, he looked unconcerned and said,
"I enjoyed it!”,
showing mental strength of not overwhelmed by the big stage.
He rather smiled, “I was pleased to see that all the seats were occupied”.
I saw a pianist who had stepped out into the wider world.

Blechacz has been given various advices from Krystian Zimerman, the compatriot pianist whom he respects,
making a steady growth as a musician.
He has devoted himself to practice to the extent that surprises his mentor.
I believe that the strenuous efforts that could be described as “severe” have made his performance on the big stage successful.

Zimerman says,
“Rafał is a great talent.
I say so not because he is a compatriot or the winner of Chopin Competition like me but because he is truly gifted.
When I listened to his play for the first time, I was fascinated.
I sensed the awesome talent latent in him.

I was sure that it must be matured gradually, through practices and through actual stages.
Musicians’ caliber is honed through live performances on the stage.
The stage could be a very small one at the beginning.
You can start from small and gradually step forward.
You should not try to expand your repertoire thoughtlessly.

You take time to face yourself, your heart and mind and increase the repertoire as you grow.

Sometimes, however, the winner of the international competition is not allowed for such a timeframe for gradual, slow development.
He could be inundated by a flood of requests.
It made my life very difficult at initial stage.

Therefore, I hope that Rafał will not take the similar negative paths
and go straight through the royal road.
This is what I often tell him as my advice”.

Zimerman highly evaluates the way Blechacz lives and faces music –
his sincerity, quiet passion, respect for composers and their works and down-to-earth attitude.
Zimerman hopes that Blechacz’s modus vivendi should have synch with the way as musician.
The two musicians meet on various occasions.
They have deepened friendship as colleagues of music rather than senior and junior.





Blechacz has launched the second album “sonatas” from DG.
He selected the pieces of Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart.
All the three sonatas are full of energy to give you emotional uplift as well as rich poem.
They are played in the Blechacz way that you cannot expect of from other musicians.

What fascinated me most is the 4th movement of Beethoven’s sonata No.2.
Strings of ascending graceful sound pearls intensely knock at the door at the depth of my heart
– the door to guide me to the world of impressive, beautiful music.
His sounds linger in me and I cannot resist the temptation to listen to his music again and again.
Actually, I cannot tell how many times I listened to this movement.

Every time I feel stress or have some troubles, I close my eyes and listen to this music.
I then gradually sense brim of romanticism by Beethoven though Blechacz’s pure and unpretentious expression.
I then feel that the smoke in my heart is expelled.
The joy in the process is beyond description.

This piece of Beethoven is included in the program of Blechacz’s recital in Japan tour.
How blessed we are!
In addition, all the other works in the program of Mozart, Chopin and Szymanowski, his compatriot composer and his biggest respect
are the ones that he has been meticulously playing for years.
I am confident that he will demonstrate through his performances how enriched his life is now, physically and mentally.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Jan 28, 2009

Producer of Acros Fukuoka welcomes Blechacz

Excerpt from the monthly journal for the members of Acros Fukuoka (Fukuoka Symphony Hall), Japan

Rafał Blechacz will perform at Acros Fukuoka on Feb.6.

Japan tour 2009 schedule
Blechacz's remarks on Beethoven concerto No.4

------------------------------------------------------------------
His piano is "graceful", "elegant" representing the "true class" - the entire jury applauded enthusiastically


Rafał Blechacz -- I heard of the name for the first time in 2003 at the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition.
The arts promotion company that I worked for then was involved in the management of the competition,
so I got more occasions to hear his name from among my colleagues saying,
“there is an excellent pianist entering the competition” as he promoted from the first to second and upper rounds.

The result was that Blechacz was awarded the second prize with Aleksandr Kobrin where no first prize was awarded.
His lovely appearance with chestnut curly hair and the way he speaks bashfully impressed me vividly.
When lisening to his piano, I found that he does not easily rely on techniques
but carefully sings music and it left me a good impression.
The anecdote that he did not have a grand piano then and had one leased from Warsaw city
and finally able to buy his own with the prize money at Hamamatsu also gave me a favorable impression,
and I thought that it expresseed well his personality (which is deeply related to his musicality).

One of my colleagues was charmed by his talent in Hamamatsu.
(S)he maintained the contacts with Blechacz since then
and attended the 2005 Chopin Competition in Warsaw.

Behind the scenes of the prestigious international competition was
that many “major” managers from around the world rushed to the venue
to try to find out the promising “marketable new product”.
(Of course, there were some managers who are more conscientious and purely appreciated the talent of the young pianists.)

Once people began talking about the possibility that Blechacz may win,
a battle got started among the managers to try to win his management right.
(It was like a battle by goblins and monsters in an old tale.)
The result was that my colleague luckily turned things aroung for his (her) favor
and obtained the right to manage Blechacz related events in Japan.

Now in Acros Fukuoka, Blechacz is going to perform piano concerto No. 4 by Beethoven.
It is one of the masterpieces of the composer with light, elegant and refreshing features
compared to his other grave and serious pieces.
I believe that the selection fits extremely well with musicality and personality of Blechacz,
and I’m really looking forward to the performance.

Blechacz’s victory at the Chopin competition, synonymous to Poland was for the first time in 30 years since Krystian Zimerman.
His predecessor will appear at Acros Fukuoka in May this year.
People say that the gracefulness of Blechacz is a common attribute with Zimerman.

I strongly recommend that you will enjoy both of the performances by these excellent pianists;
the master and the new star from Poland.

By Tatsuhiko Komaki, Producer of Acros Fukuoka

Jan 27, 2009

BBC Music magazine review on CD "sonatas"

From BBC MUSIC
December 2008


For his second disc for DG the immensely gifted Rafał Blechacz plays three sonatas from the first Viennese school
– late Haydn, early Beethoven, first-maturity Mozart.
It may not be an ideal choice for collectors,
but the results confirm Blechacz as one of the most finely honed pianists of his generation.

What is most immediately striking is the crisp buoyancy of Blechacz’s articulation,
reinforced by the upfront clarity of the recorded sound,
which has a characteristic ‘ping’ that suits much of the music.
The DG engineers avoid any hint of soft-focus glow,
but the resulting sound at times lacks depth and intensity of tone.

The playing itself is full of flair and charm.
In Haydn’s late E flat Sonata Blechacz is less regal than some (Brendel, Schiff),
but his playing sparkles with wit and character.
With brisk tempos he conveys both serious intent and huge enjoyment,
giving the music shape and driving momentum.
Only in the slow movement does one sometimes wish for more weighty expression.

The Mozart brims with joie de vivre (joy of living), displaying a classical poise and subtlety of expressive range.
And Blechacz also revels in Beethoven’s exuberant A major Sonata;
Paul Lewis (on Harmonia Mundi) may bring greater symphonic grandeur,
but Blechacz is more vivacious and playful.
His approach may well evolve over time,
but for the moment this is a young man’s view of a young man’s music.
Do hear him.

By Tim Parry
Performance ☆☆☆☆
Recording ☆☆☆☆☆



The magazine delayed in delivery due to some logistic problem.
It should have been available in late November.

Blechacz's DG site references a part of this review.
Please click on PRESS on the left side.

Jan 25, 2009

Chopin year and others

Announcement of 2010 Chopin year program was issued on Jan.19.
Rafał Blechacz will appear on March 1, 2010
at the Ceremonial Opening Gala held at the Grand Theater-National Opera
with other artists related to Chopin competition
such as Ivo Pogorelić, Garrick Ohlsson, Janusz Olejniczak, Dang Thai Son and Marta Argerich.

Article of the announcement Gazeta wyborcza.pl (Polish)
machine-translated English of the same article ↑.



Empik, a major cultural contents chain in Poland, is going to select
the bestseller 2008 to be announced on Jan.28.
The best selling content will be selected in 21 categories
and Rafał Blechacz's "Chopin Complete Preludes" is one of the nominees in "Classiacal music" category.

Empik site (Polish)
English



I have a question.
Universal U.S. site says that Rafał Blechacz will have an event at
United Nations General Assembly Hall in NY on March 1, 2009 (←this year!!)
Is this real?
I couldn't find any other info about this event.

Another page of the same site of Universal.
If someone knows about details, please let me know, for fans in U.S., Canada, etc...

(I read an article last summer that Blechacz will perform at UN in 2010.)



I confirmed that this info is wrong. He will play at UN in 2010. NOT this year.

Jan 22, 2009

Rafał Blechacz's teachers talk about his childhood

Excerpt from "Aleś bracie narozrabiał, (Brother, you made a big fuss!!!)"
by Teresa Trojanska, Gazeta Wyborcza (Dec.19, 2005)

Interviews with those who discovered and nurtured Rafał Blechacz's talent when he was young.
This segment was translated from original Polish to English by Dana, a Polish fan of Blechacz
for a large community of Rafał Blechacz's music lovers.
Thank you very much Dana!!
----------------------------------------------------

Pay attention during journey where to put your hands.

When a door closes, you can easily crush a finger

We sit with Rafał's father arranging a list of persons who have contributed to Rafał's success.
Rafał's mother is bringing cakes.
Rafał recommends to try this pancake with whipped cream.
The flat in Nakło. Clean, cozy.
Yamaha takes almost a half of the room.
The piano Rafał received in the piano competition in Japan two years ago.
Yamaha as a prize of Chopin competition didn't arrive yet.


The priest Jan Andrzejczak:
-You will be an organist.


Which year was then? Probably in 1992.

-I went on Christmas carol. I preached the Blechaczes. Superb home.
Grandmother and grandfather, parents.
Little Paulina and Rafał who was then seven years old.

-Play me something, perhaps you will be organist in the future?

The priest Andrzej has pretty baritone, graduated from the secondary music school.
He began "God be with you and your spirit"

-How will you play it?

And Rafał played. The priest gives him again and again the new keys.
Rafał improvised.
The priest Andrzej has tears in his eyes.

-If I talk about Rafał, I am always moved.

It is exceptional chance in my life that will never happen again.

-It's necessary to place him at school- I said to the father.

He went to Bydgoszcz, where he was for several years like priest at cathedral.
He found an organist Prof. Krystyna Krynicka.

Krystyna Krynicka. Rafał has talent.

She came, totally disinterested. Heard Rafałl at the rectory in church.
Rafał came with father. He played on the old Förster with candlesticks.

-You harmonize very interestingly- she said to Rafał,
and said to his father that his son has talent.
And to priest that they could not leave the child in Nakło
and it's necessary to put the child at music school in Bydgoszcz.

In the middle of school year?

She went to J. Polanski who taught her daughter at Music School.

-We will go to Vienna and one place will be free- she said.
Polanski agreed to hear Rafał.


Courtesy Orlen "Rafal Blechacz"


Joanna Brzezinska and Jacek Polanski: You have already paid.

-A little bird- says J. Polanski about Rafał - Very tiny, very thin and he didn't touch pedals with his legs.

He heard Rafał together with J. Brzezinska.
Mrs, Janina, pianist, was the director of Section Keys Instrument, now she lives in Switzerland.

-Rafałl came with his father. He was eight years old but looked like a preschool child.
She didn't remember weather he talked something. Probably no.
He gave the impression of being a timid child.

- We asked him to play what he likes.
He played carol with his improvisation.
On this legato -she thought- you should have work for several years but he has it inside.

-Wow, what these little hands do on keys!!!-Polanski shows how Rafał played.

-He shifted one over the others extremely deftly.

To obtain sounds of union, melodiousness of legato, he didn't touch pedals, he did with hands, different tricks.

Brzezinska was impressed and cried.

- Jacek likes to exaggerate.- Joanna cried later when she heard how Rafał played Variations by Haydn for four hands with Jacek Polanski together.
And Sonata by Mozart sounded in a way that was rarely heard even from matured pianists.

-Very funny -she says- but after one of my concerts,
Rafał told his father that he would like to play like me.
And today -she laughs- I would like to play like him.

Dad asked J. Polanski,

-How much should I pay you for hearing?

-You paid already- answered Polanski. He wanted to teach Rafał.

It was necessary to go through the protocol of acceptance to school, also an entrance exam.
J. Brzezinska went to the director of school to accept Rafał to school immediately.
It doesn't matter to which class -first, second, eight, wherever is a place because he will finish it earlier before time.

Iwona Zyta and Barbara Jarecka: There are much talented children.

Dad waited in the corridor, and two ladies Iwona Zyta and Barbara Jarecka examined Rafał routinely.
It's necessary to verify his hearing and rhythm ability.
A pupil must also repeat something after teacher, must clap or tap or sing.
Are these good methods to assess a fairly gifted child?

During an entrance exam, you do not discover real talent rather
because very often they are very modest and aren't able to sell their skills at once.
Verdi didn't get into school in Milan.

-What will you sing? -Jarecka asked Rafał.

-I won’t sing- he answered.
Today he doesn't sing either.

-I am not a fan of singing-he says -I am ashamed to sing for people.

-Also, play something.
And he played several bars organ melody and two minuets by Bach, very simple ones.

-Concentrated, deeply into music- B. Jarecka remembers.

-So gifted a child I have never seen.

Also –reserves- there are many talented children.
How their future will be totally depends on teachers whom they will meet on their roads.

Rafał was admitted to second class and his teacher was J. Polanski.

Mom: I have endured it.

Rafał would be a girl. He was expected born on 5th of July, 1985.
All friends of Renata Blechacz said;

- It will be a girl, for sure.
So if a girl, Kigna is the only name; like a beautiful pupil at kindergarten where
Renata Blechacz worked.

On Saturday 29th of June, Mrs. Blechacz felt that it would be soon.
-No, no. I must endure, it must wait.
That evening her friend has married a French man.
She wore a dress for the wedding from Paris, all the people of Nakło wanted to see them.

-And I have endured- she laughs. She made wishes and came back home
and went to hospital. The next day she gave birth to Rafał. It was on Sunday.

-The boy. Let it be, it doesn't matter. Healthy? Thank God.
The first child. Weighed 2,950 grams.

-Of course, he was beautiful. He had black hair like my husband.
I called him

-I must give name to our child. You must quickly invent it.

-Michael- he said

-No, no

-Maybe Paul? Yesterday was the name day of Paul.

-Many children have this name now - said the midwife.

-At the moment let it be Paul and later we will change -said Mrs. Blechacz.

-It must be the name of saint. The boy must have his patron.
Patron must protect him from evil.

We were listening to radio 3 and suddenly we heard a name of the commentator:

Rafał; he had a beautiful voice.
-Listen, beautiful voice, nice name
and Rafał is the name of the archangel who protects travelers and sick persons.

Dad: Don't give up.

Krzysztof Blechacz didn't remember hard moments.
-None. A despair? None. A breakdown? None.

-It is good. Blieves the priest Jan Andrzejczak,
-because this is what you have in mind now.

-Many times, he said:
- You have to be strong, do not give up, you have to withstand and it is really worthy.

Educating a talented child is a challenge for the whole family.
The key is a good logistics and create a warm, secure atmosphere.

-Rafał would not have attained the success without help of his father,
says Anna Szarapka, the teacher of music theory.

-I wish each child has such a family and father; wise, cautious, caring for child without an exaggeration.

Rafał’s father has never shown any impatience or tiredness.
But he must have been tired, very tired.
He has been with his son for all the lessons, sometimes reading, often working
and always listened to comments of the teacher
so that later at home he could remind Rafał of them when he practiced on the piano.

Sommerfeld - on the occasion

At Blechacz's home there was always the piano.
The great-grandfather played, his name Josef, was the teacher at a village school near Nakło.
The grandfather Cyryl played on old piano "Rud.Ibach".

Uncle Roman plays very well so that he received the family piano and it went with him to Toruń.

Rafał's father likes playing too.
The piano "Sommerfeld" went to Nakło by chance.
A relative of grandfather, village school teacher went into retirement and had to move to the first level.
He found that the transfer of piano was without sense.

-We buy it- decided the father- Let it leave in family.
He was missing the piano.
The Sommerfeld appeared at home when Rafał was one year old.

The boy started interest in it when he was three or four years old.
He often came closer to it, touched keys, pressed, checked their sound, heard taped melodies.

-We ought to do something with him- said the uncle.

-But what?


Courtesy Orlen "Rafal Blechacz"



Music center without money

It is in 1990. Rafał is five years old.
Nakło is a remote province. 18 thousand inhabitants with one secondary school.
The nearest music school is in Bydgoszcz, 32 kilometers away from Nakło.
Should one bring a small child to Bydgoszcz every day for years?
Leaving him at a boarding school?

-Too early- said mom.
-Let him go to a zero class (preschool) now and later to the first class.
Let us leave him alone for now.

Father enrolled him in a music center in Nakło where he earlier was going too.
Rafał was taught by Jozefowicz who was arriving from Bydgoszcz.
He played different works and Rafał repeated them by hearing.
He taught Rafał to read notes in treble clef.

Nobody and nothing could separate Rafał from piano.
He sat very often near the organ in church..

Mrs. teacher: Show me how a bird sings.

When Rafał finished the preschool, the parents decided to show him to an expert.
Let him decide whether to leave Rafał in the music center of Nakło or make him start studies seriously.

Who has a casual acquaintance at music school in Bydgoszcz? Who will offer advice?
Mrs. Blechacz's colleague knew a teacher who works at music school in Bydgoszcz.
The whole family went to her.

It was a horrible day. Rafał remembered it and parents too.
Mrs. Blechacz was pregnant in the midst of summer on a weekday.

Rafał was up some mischief, got a smack and very much downhearted.

-It's better for you not to write about it
because people will think that the Blechaczes beat the child but it isn't true.
It was only scolding- says Mrs. Blechacz.

Teacher didn't order him to play but she wanted Rafal to talk about this day.
What happened today?

Rafał cannot lie, didn't want to and kept silent.
She touched keys and asked -What's this sound?
He answered sluggishly.

-So show me how a bird sings.- she asked.

She advised Rafał's parents to leave him in peace
but if they want to teach their son music, it is not in the center of Nakło but at a good private teacher.

Rafał's father heard of Halina Zalewska in Bydgoszcz. It is a good choice.

Father - I didn't know about it.
They came back home. Krzysztof Blechacz sat down by piano and touched a key.

-Rafał, tell me what's the name of this sound?

-"C"- he answered running in the room.

-I touched next and the next.
Rafał was running in the room, turned back to the piano and answered without mistakes.

-I touched two sounds, he answered correctly, then chords, he answered right.
Then seven at the same time, all dissonances, difficult to recognize.

-He recognized all.
The absolute hearing.
For me, it was a signal that one should educate him.

-Talent?

-No.
Krzysztof Blechacz is prudent, cautious in words.

- At that time, I didn't know it yet.
I only had a conviction that such a hearing ability cannot be missed.

Alina Zalejska: I sat with him longer.

She formed professionally his hand. She taught him good reading notes and a bass clef.

-He learned fast.
He made progress from one lesson to other,
so you had to change in short time his program in order for him not to be bored.

Dad brought Rafał to Bydgoszcz on a small car twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday for two school hours.
During the lessons, dad was sitting on the sofa and listening or working. He was an insurer.

-I told him that Rafał is gifted and he ought to learn in music school
where he could perfom for public and have confrontation with other children.

One year later, Zalejska increased fees of lesson
then they went to her with a big bunch of flowers and thanked her.

It is 1993.
Rafał is 8 years old.

Jacek Polanski - I loved him.
-Fryderyc-Jacek Polanski talks about him.

Polanski was one of two Rafał's teachers at the music school in Bydgoszcz.
He taught playing on piano and Anna Szarpka other subjects.
He taught him for seven years on every Tuesday since 9:00 until 12:30 or 13:00.

-It was sacred time for Rafał.
Dad was sitting, reading his documents and they were playing, talking, joking.

Rafał talked about his jokes:
for example, he closed wardrobe with him and his sister in and their parents were looking for them.
Like Fryderyc Chopin.
That he was riding on bicycle along the corridor that was 17.5 m long.

Or when the family went to the uncle in Torun, the uncle locked the piano so that Rafał took rest for a moment.

Rafał practiced four or five hours a day.
The lesson ought not to be like "Good morning", and we sit down and play according to Jacek Polanski.

-You must talk about painting, arts, what you listened to,
what you are interested in and which book you should read.

Prof.is an oversensitive man, fast, violent quite different from Mr. Blechacz.
So it is hard to imagine both being together.
Mr. Blechacz is a hard worker and the numbers must match to the third decimal,
while Mr. Polanski is an artist with vivid imagination, impulsive.

He told Rafałl,

- You don't listen to parents so that they don't know
that we will together conquer the world.

He gave Rafał three portraits of Chopin, Beethoven and "Chopin at prince Radziwill".
They hang on the wall of Rafał's room.



The real teacher, in Polanski's opinion, must excite beauty in pupil and thirst for cognition of this beauty.
Mozart said:

-As you can't reach with fingers, use your nose.
If you have beauty inside yourself, then your hands will hear and follow your imagination.

- A year later, I went with him to Warsaw, when he received first awards at once.
When I went with him to Gorzów on piano competition he received the whole prizes, all. It was "Entrance of dragon".

Is education of this pupil a dream for an educator?
Yes, if you think about effects.
No, if you summarize number of hours spent for him, much stress with his public performances
while thinking about what's next.

The paper of Nakło gave title "Rafał like Amadeus"; and "Is he Chopin of Nakło?"

-I loved him - said Polanski with bitterness in his voice.-and they took him to me.
There was no intrigue. The change of teacher was necessary for development of Rafał.

Anna Szarapka: He wanted to know all about Chopin.

-For one month Rafał was going on rhythmic with a group together.
But he did not fit well for the group, he learnt too fast.
I taught the whole subjects: education of hearing, music broadcast and music principle, history of music.
The management of school made a decision that Rafał will have an individual course of education.

In 1993, Anna Szarapka was several years after her studies.
-I felt a big burden. Responsibility, how to help him to develop?

He recognised all the sounds, even those scattered on the keyboard,
but it wasn't matter to him whether it is a sharp or flat, whether it is fis or ges, because it is the same sound.
He therefore had to learn music language, tonal principle.
He didn't understand that it was important.
Another problem was recognition of intervals.
So he practiced much exercises, many pages of exercises at home.
She played him fugue of Bach and he wrote down melody line of top and lower sounds.
Children of his age were not able to do it.
He has done it and two weeks later, he brought her another one composed by himself.
He said that this music was deeply into himself, but he wasn't able to transfer it on the paper.

So she began teaching him composition.
He composed a piano trio, then sonata.
They were not innovative compositions but he wrote music that he was playing at this moment with some modifications.

The school started a one year course of composition for him by finding a sponsor.

- I tried so that he would know the different style of music since the Middle Ages, know how to recognize them.

I brought the records, we were listening to and analyzing them.
Mozart, Lutosławsky, Debussy, Penderecki.

When he started fascinated by Zimerman, I bought him his record.
He would like to know everything about Chopin, she gave him big book by Tomaszewski very penetrating.
Both her family and Rafał's went to philharmonic and opera.
She taught Rafał for eight years.

Municipal government of Nakło

I was walking trough the streets of Nakło and telling everyone
that a man of music genius was growing here

-recalls priest Andrzejczak.

He persuaded all that they should help Blechacz’s family.
Rafał went to secondary school for only a month.
A lot of lessons and a little time to practice.

Government of Nakło gave grant for individual education.
Teachers of all subjects came to his home every day from Monday to Friday
so he had time to play.

-They invested in me and I am very grateful for that - says Rafał.
- It was a very comfortable arrangement.
He went to school to take tests in Polish.
- It was even fun as I kept in contact with friends.- says Rafał.
He took exam for the certificate of secondary school education.
He passed the exam with a fair score.

Priest Andrzejczak. They closed their notes.

It is in 2005. Rafał is 20 years old.
Priest Andrzejczak was sitting behind the jury on concert in philharmonic.
Magnificent place, thank God.

It was Friday. There were three pianists.
The jurors wrote something constantly in their notes.
First, Russian Andrey Yaroshinsky played- they wrote,
then Korean Dong Min Lim - they wrote.

Finally appeared Rafał, sat at the piano
and when the first bars of concerto in E minor sounded,
the jurors no longer wrote, closed notes; they loved to listen to him.

Krystian Zimerman: The letter
Rafał got a letter from New York City:
"Recalling myself, it was 30 years ago.
Now I understand you more than you".
-----------end------------

Jan 16, 2009

Blechacz talks about perfoming in Germany, Poland

This is the interview that Rafał Blechacz gave after his debut in Beliner Philharmonie,
Berlin on Dec.20, 2008.
The interview was radio-broadcast on the same day in Poland.

Polish fan Dana has spent time to prepare this English version of the interview.
I appreciate Dana for her enthusiasm and efforts to try to let me and others know about Blechacz in detail.
I enjoyed reading the interview very much.
I felt as if Blechacz is really talking in an upbeat manner out there (^-^).


------------------------------------------------------------

Interviewer:Q :Let me begin. Is it your first concert in Berliner Philharmonie?

RB: Yes, it was my first performance, concerto in E minor of Chopin
with Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and maestro M.Jankowski.
I have already waited for longer time for this concert and enjoyed it
because, because, because Berlin and Berliner Philharmonie are unusually important places,
unusually important centre of music.
I have enjoyed that three years after Chopin Competition I could appear here.

Q : Also very fast (short time). What is your impression of "on-live" after your perfomance?

RB : Very, very, very pleasant, so both the orchestra and conductor as well as the excellent public
who accepted me very warm, very kind-hearted and enthusiastically.

Q : So was it. Encore and repeated ovations!
RB : Yes, the ovation has already broken out though the orchestra hasn't ended last chords yet;
like Chopin Competitin, it was very likeable, very nice.

It always is important for me if reaction of the public is very positive because I always play for people;
their reaction cannot be complete, if it is remote from my feelings present during my concert.

Nevertheless, I always do my best, so, so, so to play the concerto
suggesting the public experiencing the composition
with the emotions that are inherent in it and in myself;
with my suggestion, I believe that the same emotions are to be inspired
inside the people who listen to my concerto.

Q : Do German or Berlin public differ from Polish or others in this respect?

RB : It's difficult to say.
There are always a little differences,
nevertheless I must tell that Polish public are for me exceptional public.

It was public, so I tell it, the first public, public
who accompanied me even during my struggles in Chopin Competition,
that, that, that are unforgettable experiences, unforgettable feelings
when you have a pleasant memory of Chopin Competition,
and this magnificent, so good atmosphere is thanks to the public, thanks to the friendly people
who are sitting in National Philharmonie, as well,

I always come back with pleasure to places which are connected with
Chopin Competition or my education
because my first concerts and recitals I had just in Poland.

I must tell that I like very much giving recitals and concerts for German public too,
for just in Germany the public is very, of cource, disciplined, concentrated,
I always felt it during the concerto that they really listen and understand, understand music.

It is motivation as well the very mobilization in order to perform music to be right (laughing).

They were absolutely exciting public.
I had a similar impression too when I performed the same concerto by Chopin
with maestro Gergiev and his orchestra.
There was public too who all the time take care of the tradition of great piano music,
which is based on the great names like, like, like Prof. Neuhaus
and later his outstanding students and world-famous figures such as S. Richter or M.Giles.

There really is present a spirit of great piano playing, a great artistry
and the public know why they come to concert and know what they hear.



Q : When you went the first time in life to the main hall of Berliner Philharmonie,
did you feel spirits of these great artists who had appeared here?

RB : Yes, of course, this awareness is always present inside me
that on this stage, the great Herbert von Karajan had stood and this hall is just hall of Karajan.

Here the magnificent interpretations of symphony had arised,
the magnificent creations such as symphonies of Beethoven or Mahler,
the magnificent recordings, which were registered by DG firm,
so that, in my case, this awareness that before me there were indeed, indeed, indeed so great artists,
this awareness stimulates me and mobilizes me to play beautiful music.

Q : One question yet.
What is your plan with German music market? You have rememberd DG a moment ago.
You are the second Polish musician who has recordings by DG.

RB : Yes it's true. The contract is extended for next CD recording
so that I will be really connected with DG for the nearest years
thereby also and, and, and here with this country,
I must tell that my concerts are planned for 2010 or partially in 2011 will be organized in Germany.

There are splendid concert halls, magnificent places in which you can perform your music very well
and also they are very important places because German market is very important to build career
also public that I've already mentioned about.

I plan the concerts in Germany but I don't forget about Polish public.

More time you can hear me in Chopin's year, so in 2010.
I plan several concerts in diffrent philharmonies in Poland.

Q : What do you tell Polish fans in Poland from Berlin?

RB : I wish already now to invite all music lovers to my nearest concerts,
already I would invite to the concert which will be in March, I think on 20th of March in National Philharmonie.
I will be playing IV concerto by Beethoven.

I hope that memories of Chopin competition will come back to life again
when I appear in this hall with the same orchestra and conductor.

And of course, I invite them to concerts in Chopin's year.
And in the end, I want to wish all people Merry Christmas,
in calm, healthy, snowy and very warm family atmosphere.

Q : Thank you.
RB : Dziękuję bardzo.

Jan 14, 2009

Blechacz that a French fan sees.

The following segment has been offered by Marine, a young French fan of Rafał Blechacz
who translated an original French article written by another French fan in August last year into English.

Marine lives in Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, French islands in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The islands are as close as 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Newfoundland.

I don't know her directly and she asked my friend in US to forward the segment to me.

According to my friend, Marine loves Rafał Blechacz very much
and enthusiastically listens to his music through CDs and webcasts,
as geographically, it is not easy for her to attend a live concert of Blechacz.
She is 10 years younger than Blechacz.

I sincerely would like to say thank her and my friend for sharing the beautiful description written by the French fan of Blechacz
and eagerness to try to support their favorite musician.
Merci beaucoup, Marine!!  

-------------------------------------------------------------

 On this sunny Sunday and tempered by a pleasent wind, like a caress,
nothing can be chosen in my music library but a recording of an rising star: Rafał Blechacz.

This young Polish pianist, one year my senior, the winner of the 15th Chopin piano competition 2005,
after listening to a few of his published pieces by Chopin and the concerto No.2 live in Berne (Switzerland, Feb.2008),
has become one of my favorite pianists.

He has freshness and simplicity of youth, a solid technique
but not to the point of succumbing to the temptation of many young (and old) musicians
to easily impress public by technical prowess,
and he has a fine musical intuition, combined with a great joy of playing.




I hope that the routine of concerts will never annihilate this natural pleasure in him to play,
to see in each performance in public a festive event.

A lot of great musicians have lost this happiness to be able to devote themselves to the musical work that they played
with the sentiment that there is nothing more important at the moment than this music,
that you were born only for this moment, the supreme beauty in your life.

Admire the beauty of his gesture !
His finger are the dancer who unite themselves for an aerian and magical ballet.
A pleasure to look at him, almost as much to listen to him.

Original article is here. (French)
Source: lavinie.blogspot.com


Blechacz's recital at Tokyo Opera City Hall on Feb. 14,
tickets for general public have been almost sold out! (as of Jan.16)
I was informed by my friend, who wants to attend the recital but cannot obtain the ticket.
I examined and found that a few tickets are still available for the members of organizer (Japan Arts),
but only a few...(luckily enough, my friends were able to get it.)

↑ It seems all the tickets for Opera City have been sold out. (as of Jan. 17)

Jan 13, 2009

Review on Blechacz's "sonatas" (South Africa)

Classic fM, site of the Repblic of South Africa posted a review as of Jan.12
on Rafał Blechacz's CD "sonatas - haydn, mozart, beethoven",
giveing a rating of four out of five stars.

Classic fM is Johannesburg based, only classical music station in Africa.

Review on Blechacz's CD in Classic fM is here.

About Classic fM
Top page of Classic fM

It is the first time that I found an article about Blechacz in an African country.

Way to go!

I met several people from South Africa (Government officials, journalists, etc...) through my job before;
very intellectual, sophisticated people.
-----------------------------------------------------
 On Feb.12, 2009, Brechacz's recital at London Wigmore on Apr.2, 2007 will be broadcast by Australian radio ABC.
Time: Between 13:05 and 16:05 (local time, Central time of Australia; now in summer time!)

↑In Japan, for example, it is between 11:35 am and 14:35 pm)

* Blechacz's recital comes last; before, there are some other concerts.
Please see the program on the site.

Radio ABC is here.

(Program)
Debussy Estampes 13'35
Liszt Concert Studies: Forest Murmers; La Leggierezza; Dance of the Gnomes 11'52
Chopin Three Mazurkas, Op 50; Polonaise Fantasy, Op 61 23'55
Recorded at the Wigmore Hall, London
BBC Radio International

 On Feb.15, the same radio will broadcast Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No 2 by Blechacz with RCO, directed by Nelsons.

Time: 12:05 (local time, Central time of Australia, summer time)

here

Jan 9, 2009

Blechacz interviewed on classicals (Germany)

An interview Rafał Blechacz gave to "crescendo", a German music magazine.

Original interview (German)

 -------------------------

Young master and Viennese Classical
7. January 2009

crescendo Editor Teresa Pieschacon-Raphael spoke with the young Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz
over the composers of his new album: The Viennese classics Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

He is going to give concerts time and time again in Germany until summer.



crescendo: "Father" Haydn: Why is the composer Franz Joseph Haydn underestimated so much
in contrast to Beethoven and Mozart?

Blechacz: Music by Haydn always have taken an important place in my repertoire.
I have never had the feeling that they are more poorly understood and less loved than music by Mozart or Beethoven.
It is true that the works by Haydn - the symphonies like the chamber music -
are presented publicly less often than those of Mozart and Beethoven.

However, one must keep it in mind that Joseph Haydn, one can say "father" of the classical form,
had inspired young Beethoven and Mozart.
He and his music had a great influence on shaping personality and technique of his successor composers.

crescendo: Does this have to do with his biography, that was less spectacular?

Blechacz: If you compare the biographies of the three Viennese classical composers,
you can really have the impression that the life of Haydn was not as colorful as in the case of Beethoven and Mozart…
Joseph Haydn, who led a stable and quiet life of a court musician,
was an opposite to the Beethoven - fighting and rebelling about his musical independence.

crescendo: If you have to paint the triad: Haydn Beethoven Mozart: how would you represent them?

Blechacz: It is very difficult to "describe" the three greatest composers in a few sentences.
The three composed in the same era and in the same style, but everyone of them understood different aesthetics of that time.
It is visible in the form of work and the composer resources.
In the symphonic chamber, piano and vowel-symphonic music, each of them left his individual track.

You very often find exceptional and original humor, joke, happiness and optimism in the letters of Mozart.
These distinctive features and moods can be heard easily in many of his compositions.

Beethoven - decided, heroic, expressive.
Besides these characteristics typical of him, we can find a reflective character and also pastoral atmosphere in his works.

Music by Haydn, noble and elegant, is also a wealth of moods, characters, from witty and funny ones to deep intimacy.



crescendo: Do you remember your first meeting with Haydn's work?

Blechacz: With the music by Haydn, I made myself initially familiar by hearing his symphonies and string quartets.
They impressed me in a way that I wanted to deal with his piano works.
I worked mainly on different sonatas at that time.
The sonata in E flat major No. 52, that was picked up, I played it at the age of 14.
This is the work that I have settle down.
It took me from the beginning, like the London symphony,
with the extraordinary, direct and "liberated" character which was impressive.

crescendo: For Mozart, Rubinstein said: too easy for children, too difficult for adults. How is that for Haydn?

Blechacz: Works by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven are compositions,
whose presentations are done with a knowledge of the classical style,
which is, the practice of his era.
The works of Mozart and Haydn, structurally lucid and clear, are the big challenge for performers.
He often must show the size of the musical wealth in the framework of a low number of notes and sounds.



Reporting on Blechacz's Chopin in Berlin (Japan)

Reporting on Blechacz's performance of Chopin concerto No.1 in E minor
with Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSB) at Berliner Philharmonie on Dec.20, 2008,
reported by Takayoshi Josho, Japanese music journalist in Berlin.

Original report is here (Japanese). (Please see the pictures.)
------------------------------------------------------

Rafał Blechacz performed with RSB for the first time at RSB's regular concert on Dec.20.
In February, Blechacz will work with RSB as a soloist in their Japan tour.
The performance in December was his debut in Berlin, marking an important stepping stone for his career.
The concert was directed by Marek Janowski and he played Chopin piano concerto No.1 with the maestro,
the first encounter for the artists.

I was able to see the rehearsal. My impression was that the young pianist was way relaxed.
Blechacz says:
"When I began my career as a professional pianist, I got tense extremely before a concert.
Recently, however, I can make myself at home in both rehearsals and concerts".

Marek Janowski is his compatriot (both from Poland) but the communication with the maestro was done in English.
Janowski migrated to Germany when he was a young child and reportedly doesn't speak Polish.
"It's surprising and interesting", says Blechacz with an innocent smile.

The tempo Janowski directed was rather quick, reflecting on his natural love of clearness.
His interpretation was to emphasize technical aspect more than characteristics of the romantic music.
It was reminiscent of the brilliant style of Mendelssohn and Weber rather than Chopin.
Blechacz showed a nimble responsiveness and tuned his piano accurately to the super-quick tempo,
allowing for the stylish perforomance.

I had a conversation with Blechacz after the rehearsal and I felt that the interpretation of this kind fits well with his personality and ability.
Blechacz says:
"I am attracted to the form of classical compositions.
Therefore, I picked up sonatas of classical school for my second recording from Deutsche Grammophon, for example.
Also, Chopin was affected greatly by Mozart.
This is represented in his concerto in terms of sonata form".

In the live concert, Blechacz demonstrated an ambitious spirit added to his performance.
The 35-minute concerto was full of concentration.
The audience started giving a stromy applause and bravo as the final notes of piano ended sounding.
It is rare for a pianist not well known in Germany to be applauded so enthusiastically although he had signed the contract with DG.
It is not too much to say that Blechacz's debut concert in Berlin resulted in his personal success.

This was reflected on the fact that he was allowed to perform his solo encore after the concerto in the framework of RSB's regular concert.
(Typically, no encore is allowed for a soloist at any orchestra's concert in Berlin.)

During the intermission, DG organized an autographic session by Blechacz and it attracted a lot of people.
In Berlin, I've seen many cases where the autographic session is not so successful and should not have been held,
but it was quite different on that day.
There were too many people asking for his sign to be handled in the planned time frame of intermission, so the organizer had to extend the time.
Blechacz seemingly enjoyed communications with the public, talking with each of them attentively.


The conclusion: Blechacz's debut in Berlin exerted 120 % success.




Jan 8, 2009

Blechacz's teacher talks about her student

Another part of the interview with Prof. Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń, Rafał Blechacz's teacher.

This segment is an excerpt from the longer interview (Nov. 2005) and you can see the whole interview here (Polish).
The segment posted previously also comes from this interview, however that part is not included in the Internet version.



For me it's gratifying that Rafał likes playing for people so much. He adores having full hall concerts.

(Interviewer: What does a pianist like? Ovation?)
Perhaps, this silence that block breath when you must keep a break or a fermata.
Perhaps this silence when you have ended play and audience have not yet come back;
they still are into a trance, don't make ovation, waiting.

I was at Sokolov's concert in Duszniki Zdroj.
He finished playing, fantastic and wonderfully, stood up and began bowing. I felt it foolish.
"We are sitting on the chairs and the artist bows to us.
My God, we ought to bow to him, give him a standing ovation rather than he does to us".

Rafał, when he doesn't play in a concert for a longer time" he could go on the walls to play* ".

(* Note: Polish idiom: When you like to do something very much and cannot do it for longer time,
you are very impatient; you have so much energy that you could walk on the walls.)

I tell him sometimes: You can give people so much happiness that it is your life's mission, your assignment,
you must do everything to fulfill this mission.
And he does it. And it is wonderful.

-------------------------

 She has also written letters to Rafał. When he went to Hamamatsu Competition (2003), she wrote to him:
" Don't pay attention to journalists, whether they are interested in you or ignore. It doesn't matter.
Don't feel hurt when public don't take notice of you. It doesn't matter, it has no influence on jury.
Pay attention to where you put your hands......"

At the end, she writes:
"It doesn't matter whether you win or lose. You remain the same man neither better, nor worse.
The worst thing is that you would lose your love of music if you lose and love itself if you win."

↑ It is a part of a seperate, longer interview on "Gazeta Wyborcza"(Nov., 2005).
You can see this here (Polish).

--------------------------

Acknowledgment: These interviews and thier English versions were provided by Dana.
Dziękuję bardzo! Thank you very much.

Jan 7, 2009

Blechacz's teacher talks about her student

Japanese

An excerpt of the interview with Prof. Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń,
the teacher of Rafał Blechacz at Feliks Nowowiejski Music Academy, Bydgoszcz,
published on Polish paper "Gazeta Wyborcza" dated 19th of November, 2005.

This English version has been prepared and sent to me by Dana, a Polish fan of Blechacz.
The article is quite insightful and touching and I would appreciate her for the hard work.
----------------------------------------------------------------
Don't sneeze at Blechacz

Rafał always came with his father. He was a little, slight boy. 
Now he has very much changed. Today he is a young man.

It's funny, but during the first months he didn't enchant me.
The way he played was way like a good pupil at the secondary school*.

And suddenly!

We had very long lesson over the Nocturne, the one that Rafał pleyed at the Competition.
I became very crazy, stopped him after second and third sounds.
"No, I don't give him up", I thought.

And said, said, said about what are in the notes and between them.
Suddenly I looked at the watch, two hours had passed and we were only in a half of the Nocturne.

I was worried,
"Your father is waiting for you, he wants to take you home and you are certainly tired".
He looked at me, surprised.
"No, I am not tired".

He loves playing. So we continued the lesson.

After a week I asked him for what he can show me now.
No, no yet.

Two weeks later, however, he played in the way that I had to sit down - I was almost crying.
During the two weeks' period, he had thought over all my comments by himself
and added his own feelings, which gave an incredible harvest.

It was a divine work.

(* In Poland, there were three stages of school education at a time Rafał studied.
1 elementary; age 7-15
2 secondary; age 15-19
3 higher education for about 5 years ending with the title "magister"
Prof. Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń started teaching Rafał when he was 15 years old.)



I prepared a list of the most important things before Chopin Competition.
No staying at a hotel, no journalists, no fame, no interviews.
Full concetration and health.
Rafał and each person in his surroundings cannot catch cold and the grippe.
If somebody in my surroundings sneezed, I went away.

During my competition**, my mother came to Warsaw from sunny Bulgaria and she caught cold and later did I.

I knew that Rafał would win this competition if he wanted it but he didn't think about it.
I had thought of how I should tell him about it - that his determination to win is necessary."

I decided to tell him before the first part of competition to let him know that victory is in his hands.
I said to him, "If you want, you can win this competition".

He was a little amazed. My words impressed him.
He probably feared these thoughts. Maybe he moved them away from himself.
He repeated my words to his father.
"Do you know Prof. said to me that I can win".

I always said to him,
"You never think about victory. This thought is not good because it is a prayer for others to be defeated.
Nobody plays against others.
One ought to give all from oneself;
it isn't important if you are a laureate of competition or perform at a concert for children.
Cannot play Chopin in a diffrent way.

(Interviewer; Why? Does Chopin look at them?)
Yes, and Chopin is especially looking at Rafał and certainly smiling on him.

(**She got the 10th place at 1975 Chopin Competition.)




Rafał is my child....my spiritual child.
After Rafał played the Nocturne so wonderfully like a music from heaven, I said to him,
"I have nothing to tell you and if it often happens, you will have to search another teacher."

I was being afraid; it's a great responsibility to teach such a gifted boy:
allowing him to progress in himself, giving him something, not putting him subordinate to my sensibility,
matching the repertoire with his emotional and intellectual development.

When he ended the secondary school, I suggested to his father changing the teacher,
saying that maybe we could search together the other.
He didn't want it. I sevreal times reminded of it so in the end Rafał's father said to me,
"Let's leave it as it is. We don't want to change the teacher. We want you".

Rafał and I were sitting together once a week for working.
(How long?) I didn't count hours but I payed attention not to exaggerate my involvement in the work.
It should not be pedagogical.
Rafał must know that I love him but I also love my other pupils.
While they - although God didn't give them great talent - love music too and wanted to devote themselves to it.

Also, I knew that I cannot weigh him down with my ambitions, ambition of his victory.

My professor wanted me very much to take up the best place in the Chopin Competition.
I was his first student of this competition. He gave me all his best and it overpowerd me.
The consciousness that I cannot disappoint him all paralyzed me.
Conclusion: I should not give all of myself.

I often asked Rafał;
a) do you want to meet me?
b) or you don't ?
c) it doesn't matter which?
and I told him that any answer would not offend me.

Rafał's answer was;
d) I'll think about that.

One, two kicks
A half year before Chopin Competition, I met with prof. Jasinski (the chaiman of the jury) and asked him for help.
I wanted to benefit from his experience.
Rafał was absent.

Jasinski replyed that he was sure I would do a good job with Rafał and he would not help me.
I felt like an abandoned person with many problems to solve, like the person who is on an ice rink alone.
Probably, I wanted to divide responsibility with other person.
If Rafał didn't fully demonstrate his talent, I would feel very guilty about that.
What didn't I ensure, what did I exaggerate with?
I would like to divide responsibility with Prof. Jasinski.

But he knew very well what he was supposed to do.
It would not be very well for Rafał if multiple persons helped him.
A big mixture of different interpretations would be packed in his head.
Also I had given him whatever I had, making him unique.

(Interviewer: What did you tell him before the exit on stage?)
I kicked his bottom with my knee.***
Once, before the first round of competition, twice, before the second.

When I came to his dressing room before the final stage, he turned and waited a kick
but I turned him back and said very seriously;

"Play beautifully".
"Yes", Rafał replyed.
"You must activate (start) your transmitter of magic.
"Yes".

After the final stage, I talked to myself,
"Wow, Kasiu (her name), you know how to move ahead along this road but now you are in front of another unkown path".

After that, Rafał's mother and I heard the laureates' concert, both crying, at the end of the corridor so that nobody had seen us.
Rafał's mother was crying and I was crying.

(*** Among Polish youth, "kick at bottom" means "for luck".)


Cover of Special edition of "Chopin",
Japanese magazine, Dec.2005

Jan 4, 2009

Review on Blechacz's CD "sonatas" (Norway)

A review on Blechacz's CD "sonatas" posted on BTNO, Norwegian site as of Nov.12, 2008.
Reviewed by Peter Larsen


A pianist, we can expect of something big

He is only 23 years old, but already an international name.
Rafał Blechacz became known in 2005 when he won the Chopin Competition - as the first Pole in 30 years.

With Krystian Zimermann as his predecessor, expectations are tensely high.
But Blechacz obviously would not have to remain in the Chopin-base.
In the three years since then, both in recordings and in concerts,
he has demonstrated that he covers the whole range of central repertoire
from Schumann and Liszt to Szymanowski and Debussy.

And now he also publishes a disc with music from the last decades of the 1700s,
three Sonatas by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, three exquisite pieces of Viennese classicals
- that he plays with fabulous technique and secure sense of form.

The rapid movements of Mozart's youthful D Major Sonata (K. 311)
sound in this version significantly faster than usual,
without the virtuoso runs and trills being blurry because of that.
Technical surplus and clear glass artifacts also characterize his interpretations of Haydn's last sonata and Beethoven's second.

It is a pianist that we're allowed to expect something big.

Original review (Norwegian)


--------------------------------

Another review on the CD by "Ruch Muzyczny" (Polish) (Thank you Dana for the info.)
↑English (machine-translated)

Jan 3, 2009

Review on Blechacz's Saint-Saens concerto No.2

Review on Rafał Blechacz's performance of Saint-Saëns piano concerto No.2
with Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest on Aug.21, 2008
written by Marzenna Donajski, as of 12 October 2008
posted on "Poradnik Dla Polaków w Holandii" (Guide for the Poles in Holland)

I excavated this review a few days ago; the only review that I've seen so far about this particular concert.

First, Donajski briefly describes Blechacz's career, touching upon the Chopin competition, the contract with Deutsche Grammophon and says that this was Blechacz's third appearance in Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
The concert program on Aug.21 then followed.
Conductor Andris Nelsons;
Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un faune by C. Debussy,
the second piano concerto in G minor, op.22 by C. Saint-Saëns
and symphony VI "Pathétique" op. 74 by P. Tchaikovsky.

Then the reviewer commented upon Blechacz's performance approximately as follows:

-------------------------------------------

The pianist has performed Saint-Saëns concerto with unusual maturity.
He shot the hearts of the audience with his naturalness and freshness.
Masterly sense of composition and form.
He showed - in a balanced way - excellency, own technique and musicality of superior quality.

Rafał Blechacz is a pianist of exceptional imagination.
He has a very wide range of expressions and a lot to talk to the listeners.
His interpretation of the concerto always has had something interesting to be happening.
Excellent virtuosity never covered the value of lyrical work and merged with the perfect nobility and elegance of phrase.

This evening enchanted the audience of Amsterdam and provided them with many experiences.
We are convinced that what we see here is an outstanding pianistic personality, still very young,
but already at the beginning of a great artistic career.

I must admit that the conductor Andris Nelsons surprised me during the concert. He conducted C. Saint-Saëns, and P. Tchaikovsky symphony without notes - extraordinary memory he has.

Marzenna Donajski

Original review (Polish)


Amsterdam Concertgebouw (Courtesy Dana)

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Review on Blechacz's CD "sonatas" posted on Klassieke Zaken (Dutch site)
Reviewer: Frederike Berntsen

Original review (Dutch)
English (machine-translated)

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NPR, National Public Radio of US selected Blechacz's CD "sonatas" as one of the Best CDs of 2008.
Please see No.4 from the top.
The archive of the same site contains some data about Blechacz soon after the Chopin Competition. (searchable)

Jan 2, 2009

"Born for piano" - Jacek Polański talks about Rafał Blechacz

This is the interview titled "Born for piano"
given by Prof.Jacek Polański, the piano teacher of Rafał Blechacz
at Arthur Rubinstein Music School in Bydgoszcz.

The English text was prepared by Dana (a Polish fan) from the original Polish article and sent to me.
Let me appreciate Dana for the big contribution.

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"Rafał played many works by Bach at the Bach Competition in Gorzów.
Rafał received max (25) points unanimously from each of the entire jury.  (Rafał was 11 years old).

Hugo Riemann (1849-1919), German musicologist once said;
Bach is Old Testament, Beethoven is New Testament, Chopin-Manifestation but Mozart Only One.

In this way, I prepared Rafał's road to overcome alternate difficulty.
We played Bach and Hanon.
Rafał played Hanon without mistakes in dizzy times. He could play 10 exercises without blunder.
He held out extensively potential energy.
Each Rafał's performance excited delight.

He was born for piano. He has the genial hearing.
The boy of fantastic capability."



"Rafał's father had heard about me and one day he came to me with request to hear his son's piano.
My opinion was that Rafał ought to be accepted by the school at once.
From the beginning he already delighted me with his playing.
I immediatly held a meeting of teachers (the commission of hearing)
and they unanimously decided to admit Rafał,
and our efforts started.

He is a fantastic talented boy, diligent like an ant, brilliant child.
The program was adapted to his ability.

I made regular lessons to start Rafał's workshop. I gave technical tasks  gradually.
A huge advancement was made to to our work.

We played together Variations by Haydn : teacher-pupil.
Rafał has ideal repeated sound of sequences, even if I specially changed articulation.
Ideal! He has genial ear. He never had a stage fright.

He played a lot of works by Bach, Mozart and later masterly compositions.
Workshop, workshop, workshop.

He perfectly understood it;
always was very patient, always bright ready for the lesson,
while on my part, I was fascinated by his personality.

I had to work in a way to discover his inside (spiritual) beauty and the power of musical genius in the end.
Rafał absorbed all very fast.

The lesson with so great a talent is like clearing/polishing a diamond
 because Rafał is a brylant (diamond after clearing/polishing).***
Rafał was always for competitions. His performance was wonderful, stable, systematic, no difficulties.

We often had conversations about paintings, literatures and music,
 synthesis of arts we built on wider artistic image.

At the beginning of Chopin competitin, I believed that Rafał would be the first.
On the stage, he represents double personality - composer and himself.
It depends on the composition - its epoch and style of the composer.
It is artistic unifications of Chopin and Rafał's personality, Bach-Rafał's personality, Mozart-Rafał's personality"

*** In Polish there are two words for diamond:
1.diament=diamond before clearing
2.brylant=diamond after clearing
Rafał is brylant.