Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Apr 30, 2009

Review on Blechacz's recital in Barcelona (Spain)

AVUI, newspaper in Catalonia, Spain posted a review on Blechacz's recital
on April 28 at Palau de la Música, Barcelona.

Original review (Catalan)

Time to time
Xavier Danés Casanoves

Rafał Blechacz (piano)
Palau de la Música, April 28.

Ibercamera has presented a recital pianist Rafał Blechacz in a debut recital;
hopefully this will begin a series of visits and let us capture his evolution,
creating the mutual bond of affection that could make a major cycle.

The program book did not mention that the wonderful Polish pianist impressed the audience
by performing Concerto with Orquestra Simfónica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya (OBC)
conducted by Víctor Pablo Pérez in November last year.

The gold medal of the 2005 Chopin Competition propelled him to the pinnacle of fame,
and his presence compensates the scene of the arbitrariness of some media releases.
Blechacz is as dazzling as Lang Lang, but infinitely more substantial.

The recital illustrates his roots of piano music in Bach.
Mozart, Chopin and Szymanowski are emanating from his innovative ways of saying and constructing.
And Blechacz is precisely an innate constructor.
The recital certified the quality even when at the last of the Variations op. 3, Szymanowski,
the scaffold is shaken imperceptibly in Schumannian notes.

Blechacz plays with a strength, energy, clarity, concentration and absolute sensitivity
and released constantly ultrasofisticated sonorities,
but fell into the trap of personal delight in rapid movements of the Italian Concerto, Bach and the Sonata No.. 17, Mozart.

Four mazurkas, two nocturnes, the third Ballade and Heroic Polonaise of Chopin proclaimed his enormous potential.
Twenty-four years and has, therefore, all the time in the world to internalize the discourse.
Now is still a little demonstrative; an unusual artist, touching rather than seducing.

Commemorable Chopin in Poland -Blechacz 2004

On May 1, 2004, Poland with other nine countries became the member of EU.

On April 30, 2004, the accession ceremony was held in Poland starting just before the midnight,
participated by President and dignitaries from the government, parliament, etc...

The EU flag was raised at midnight with EU anthem,

and at 00:10 on May 1, Rafał Blechacz played Chopin's Polonaise Heroic
in commomoration of the accession.

The open air recital; it was cold but Polonaise echoed in a beautiful and heroic manner.

Agenda of the ceremony on May 1, 2004 (Polish)

(Ackonwledgement Dana: thank you for letting us know the important day of Poland.)

Apr 29, 2009

Unending ovation @ Barcelona - recital by Blechacz

On April 28 at 21:00, Rafał Blechacz gave a recital at Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona, Spain,
the first leg of his tour in Spain.

The recital ended a short while ago.
Numerous voices of "Bravo, bravo!!", unending ovation and two encores
concluded Blechacz's recital in Barcelona.
The house was almost full.

Thank you Roman for the excellent news♪

I sincerly hope that Rafał Blechacz , his relatives & fans, especially those in Americas are in good health♪
Don't be beaten by the flu!

Palau de la Música Catalana

Bach Concert italiano
Mozart Sonata KV 570
Szymanowski Variaciones op.3
Chopin Balada núm. 3
Chopin Nocturnos op.62
Chopin Mazurkas op. 17
Chopin Polonesa op.53

Program page
Program page 2

From here, Blechacz is travelling to northern part of Spain to perform concerto.
Bon voyage!

Local newpaper showing preview of concerto in Pontevedra (Spanish)
It introduces the program, the maestro and the soloist.
About Blechacz, it says,
"The prestigious pianist Blechacz will perform tomorrow.
Blechacz is one of the pianists with outstanding career today.
His career is marked with numerous awards and honors,
including the first prize in the international Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.
He is regarded as the second most distinguished Polish artist in the history of Poland following Krystian Zimerman."

Apr 27, 2009

Review on CD Preludes in US

On April 27, 2009, The Dallas Morning News posted a review on Chopin CDs
including Rafał Blechacz's CD Preludes on its web site.

Parts of description are outdated
but I post this info because it's still rare to have a review from US. site is here

Solid tree & fine colored leaves-Blechacz' Chopin

On Sunday, April 26, 2009, Rafal Blechacz had a semi-recital in Eindhoven, Holland,
(Mozart, Chopin).
It ended with a huge, enthusiastic standing ovation.

↑ The news brought by Roman.. Thank you (as always) for the very good news♪

Eindhovens Dagblad (Eindhoven Daily) posted a review on Blechacz's recital
at Frits Philips Music Center in Eindhoven on April 26.

Original review (Dutch)

↓ This English version was prepared and offered by Jan, a fan of Blechacz from Holland.
Millions of thanks to Jan♪ 

CLASSICAL MUSIC - Blechacs showes a profound engagement with Chopin
by Cornélie Hoendervanger

The Polish pianist dedicated half of his program to his brilliant gifted compatriot Chopin.

He felt a close relation with the music of Chopin, he won gloriously the Chopin competion.
A congratulation to the Muziekcentrum, that could introduce the young master (24 years old) in Eindhoven,
in spite of the fact that he seems to play not so many recitals per year.

Blechacz is a very original artist and focuses also on the deeper layers,
that are hidden in the brilliant pianistics.

The composer Liszt said about the performance of the very demanding works of Chopin:

“Look at the trees, the wind plays with the leafs, and life/sound flourish around it,
but the tree stays the same.
That is the rubato of Chopin.”

Blechacz planted a solid tree, firmly rooted.
The roof of foliage changed colors by his playing from fine to supra fine,
and was sometimes dazzling intens.

What a richness of shades and what an intensity! 

The summit were the Mazurkas opus 17, with poetry and narratively performed.
He really played the stars from the Polish heaven.
Whirling and thrilling sounded the Ballade and the Heroic Polonaise.

Blechacz started the recital with Bach and Mozart.
In the Italian Concerto and the Sonata KV 570 the corner pieces were somewhat rapid, turbulent and with sharp accents.

At this point and in the Beethoven encore, one could hear that he has still a “young hounds manner”.

But a beautifully expressive style decorates/graces the two slow parts:
that sounded mature and with wisdom.

Meet with Blechacz & his music - from Holland

This is a contribution from Jan in the Netherlands, who attended two recent recitals by Rafał Blechacz.
Thank you Jan. We are able to feel beautiful piano sound of Blechacz
as well as warmth of Holland this month and heart of Blechacz as well as you and all the audience in your country.
With Love and respect♪ 

Holland experiences the warmest month of April since centuries. (See Picture.)

A part of this beautiful month is the wonderful memory of two concerts of Rafał Blechacz
in Leeuwarden and Eindhoven last week-end.

My wife and I went to Leeuwarden on a warm and sunny day and had a dinner on the terrace in font of the Harmonie,
where Rafał Blechacz played that evening.
In spite of the information on the internet no Debussy but with a well known program:

J.S. Bach           Italian Concert
W.A. Mozart         Sonata in B flat minor KV 570
K. Szymanowski       Variations in B flat minor Op. 3
F. Chopin          Ballade A flat minorOp. 47 Nr. 3
2 Nocturnes in B and in E Op. 62
4 Mazurkas Op. 17
Polonaise in A flat major Op. 53

His performance was overwelming,
specially we were very moved by the lyric and sensitive playing
of the mid part of the Mozart sonate and the Nocturnes,
as well as the Prelude nr 4, played as an encore after a standing applause at the end.

During the intermezzo we heard people talking about his genial playing and
we felt their joy and enthusiasm.
A succesfull event, in spite of the acoustics of the auditorium.

On Sunday we were in Eindhoven in the Muziekcentrum.
The acoustics of the hall is more like the concertgebouw
and the full and sonor sound of the Steinway piano was a contibute to a great, mangnificent and wonderfull concert,
that was fully booked.

J.S. Bach          Italian Concert
W.A. Mozart        Sonata in B flat minor KV 570
F. Chopin         Ballade A flat minorOp. 47 Nr. 3
2 Nocturnes in B and in E Op. 62
4 Mazurkas Op. 17
Polonaise in A flat major Op. 53

The audience reacted very enthusiastic and the encore was the adagio of Beethovens sonate Nr 2.

His performance of the the mazurkas was even better than in Leeuwarden
and the Ballade and Polonaise in As was overwelming perfect.

We spoke several people and all were impressed of his playing and his talent.

The director of the Music Academy of Maastricht was full of admiration:
“Rafał Blechacz is a top talent”.

Rafał did a long signing session because a lot of people purchased his cd’s.

I had the opportunity to shake hands and thank him personally for the 5 grand concerts I heard so far.
We spoke about his performance of the Saint Saens concerto in the concertgebouw.
He said that this SS concerto may be recorded on CD in future.

My wife and I are impressed by Rafał Blachacz’ friendly, modest and charming character
and had a spledid experience.

This beautiful afternoon will be remembered for a long time.

by Jan and Jose Zum Vorde

Apr 26, 2009

Bringing happiness and beauty to Holland -Blechacz

Rafał Blechacz is now touring in the Netherlands.

On Saturday he received again a standing ovation in Groningen
and had to encore twice!

Thanks a lot to Raman for the good news!!

April 24
Friesland Bank zaal, de Harmonie, Leeuwarden

April 25
kleine zaal, De Oosterpoort, Groningen

April 26
Rabobank Zaal, Eindhoven

Apr 24, 2009

Blechacz - huge success in London Wigmore

Rafał Blechacz made a London Wigmore evening debut on April 22.

The following news is offered by a fan of Blechacz.

Rafał Blechacz won a big enthusiasm and admiration of the audience at Wigmore Hall,
London, last night, April 22, 2009.
He played a recital (Mozart, Szymanowski, Chopin).

There was no end to a thunderous ovation and shoutings "Bravo! Bravo!".
He played two encores.

The house for his recital was sold out weeks before.
No other concert at Wigmore Hall in April 2009 has been sold out.

Afterwards Blechacz signed CDs and programs to huge crowd of his fans
and gave an interview to the London daily "Dziennik"
that comes out in Polish and serves the Polish community in Britain.

He plays a recital on Friday in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, in Groningen on Saturday,
and in Eindhoven on Sunday.

Thank you Roman for the good news! posted an article reporting a huge success for Blechacz and happiness for the audience there. (Polish)

Rafał Blechacz enthusiastically accepted in London

Repeated long ovations on Wednesday 22 April in London at the recital by Rafał Blechacz,
the winner of the last International Chopin Competition.

Rafał Blechacz, the winner XV International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in 2005,
is one of the most talented pianists of the younger generation.
23-year-old Blechacz presented in the prestigious concert hall in London Wigmore Hall
recital of works composed of the greatest composers.

The audience filling the hall listened in the first part to the works of Bach, Mozart, Szymanowski,
and in the second ballad, nocturnes, Polonaise and Mazurka by Chopin.

Blechacz fascinating implementation had a huge impression on British audiences resulting in two encores.

After the completion of performance, the pianist signed his CDs for the long line of people,
Preludes by Chopin and the latest "sonatas" with works Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart,
released by Deutsche Grammophon.

Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Mozart Piano Sonata K. 570
Szymanowski Variations Op. 3
Chopin Ballade No. 3 Op. 47;
Nocturne Op. 62
4 Mazurkas Op. 17;
Polonaise in Op. 53 'Heroic'

After London, Blechacz will perform in the Netherlands, Spain and Paris.

de Harmonie, Leeuwarden, the Nehterlands, on April 24

program info ←You can see the video "omnibus edition of Chopin Competition."
Venue info
and here

De Oosterpoort, Groningen, the Netherlands, on April 25


April 26, 2009
Rabobank Zaal, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
And here.

The program site of Eindhoven refers to parts of review on Blechacz's Meesterpianisten (master pianist) debut recital at Amsterdam Concertgebouw on Oct. 7, 2007.

"Only on rare occasions can one hear such mature and beautiful play presented by a 22-year-old:
the world of pianists has a new coryphaeus, and he is called Rafał Blechacz!"
(Christo Lelie, Trouw)

"A simple prelude is enough to recognize a real pianist.
For example prelude no 4, a few ordinary chords in the left hand, a timid melody line in the right one,
would not bring difficulty to an amateur.
However, when Blechacz plays, he works out a little wonder.
Every tone seems to be well-balanced just like on the jeweler’s scales.
Every second is filled with colourful nuances".
(Eddie Vetter, De Telegraf)

"Blechacz is the piano master."              (NRC Handelsblad)

Apr 21, 2009

Blechacz's Paris recital impressed the world

On April 20, Radio France France-Musique broadcast Rafał Blechacz's recital in Paris on March 27.

Polskie Radio reported that performance at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées as exceptional.  

It quotes Edouard Four Caul-Futy, a host of this radio-show, for his high esteem and praise of Rafal's playing as he called him an extraordinary pianist and a star of the day.  
"He is presented by the press as the Messiah, whom all of Poland waited since Krystian Zimerman.

Report by Polskie Radio (Polish)
Report by Panorama 24 (Thanks to Roman.)

The presenter of France-Musique was joyful and said in the radio program;

"Audience is in ecstasy listening to Chopin's mazurkas under Rafl Blechacz's fingers... Rafal Blechacz who is a young and prodigious pianist".

↑ This is an input by Marine, a young French pianist and fan of Blehcacz. (Thank you very much!)
She also says;

"I was terribly impressed. It was wonderful, marvelous...
There are no words for describing that.
I loved particularly 3rd ballade, which was full of sense and emotions".

My Japanese friend says that Rafał was composed in tempo
and she was glad to be able to hear and appreciate music getting into very details.
She says;

"He put various elements and emotions into each of music.
I felt comfortalbe with the tempo 'cause I can hear everything he does.
Szymanowski's variations in Paris, in particular, were fabulous.

So far, I had a kind of impression that a deep and grave piece like this doesn't suit him,
but his performance expelled such an assumption".

I'm of the same view. I will never forget this Szymanowski.

Review on Paris recital.
Another review

Blechacz's CD Fryderyk award- album of the year

Rafał Blechacz's CD "sonatas-haydn, mozart, beethoven" received Fryderyk award
in the category of "Album of the year-instrumental solo" (Album roku muzyka solowa).

The award related gala was held on Monday in Warsaw.
Blechacz was not at the gala.
For Blechacz, this is the second time to be awarded;
He received Fryderyk award last year for his debut CD from DG "The complete Preludes by Chopin".

The following sites provide the news about the award and the list of awardees.

Please see the photos when the award winner was decided.

Gazeta Kujawska covering Bydgoszcz region and Kujawy Region (east of Bydgoscz)
The note includes an outdated info;
The fact is that Blechacz has already graduated from the Academy in Bydgoszcz with his M.A. degree in music.

Gazeta pl (Polish) (Polish) (Polish) (Polish) (Polish)
kultura (Polish) (English)
and many more.

The best album was chosen from among very popular Polish pianists
including Olejniczak and Hesse-Bukowska.

Congratulations♪Rafał Blechacz ☆☆Bravo!!

Thank you Dana and Roman for the info.

Story of last year's Fryderyk Award.

Apr 20, 2009

He IS music - witness by one listener of Blehcacz

Excerpt from the blog written by a male who attended Blechacz's recital and was fascinated.
The date is Oct.31, 2006.

It comes from Dana's archive. (Thank you for the translation!) Dana says;
"This man is not a fan of classic music or an expert of it.
I think he received it in a natural way and these feelings are maybe more important".

Yes, very often, what occurs in people's hearts when listening to music is more important than the reviews written by experts.  Reaction from you, each of the audience, is telling the truth about the true music.

"I am one of few people who declared Rafal Blechacz is so phenomenal before he became famous.
I had an occasion of listening to his recital and the approach to play enchanted me.

At the beginning, he was very much concentrating and trying to move himself in mood of sadness,
then cheerful disposition, arousing excitement inside himself or joy.
It took about 2-3 minutes and it made me laugh as a pose of artist.

However, when he began playing my sneering smile disappeared from my face.

He didn't play music; he was music.

I heard in following works sadness, followed by melancholy, agitation and joy.
All the feelings which he mobilized in himself earlier.

His concert made a strong impression on me
because for the first time I saw so close how music is arising.
Music not as a reproduction but music that is arising; he was giving birth to music in that moment.

I am sure that he matched works up with moods
and if he wanted with the same notes, he could render the sound quite differently;
joy vs sadness, violence vs kindness.

It was sure he is the great artist.
I often talked about it so that many people after the winning thought that I am a big music lover".

Original blog is here. (Polish)
Machine translated English

Just now, I listened to the broadcast by Radio France of Blechacz's recital in Paris on March 27.
(From 14:30 on April 20 local time.)

It's great. I was frozen in front of PC.
Had an impression that the acoustic of Théâtre des Champs-Elysées fits well with the romantic pieces.

I was knocked out by Szymanowski's variations with the pensive sound reverberating.
I felt he was inspired and played it differently from other venues.
Esprit of Paris?
Also recollected the meditation that Blechacz did before playing this piece in other venues.

He was giving birth to the music - He really was.

Apr 19, 2009

Review from Colombia and Radio in Chile

 posted this review on Preludes as "Spain" but it was wrong.
This was from Colombia,  from South America. Sorry for the mistake.
This is the first review that I found from a country in South America.

Also I found this radio program in Chile.

Glad to see Blechacz' music spreading in that hemisphere♪ 

Apr 18, 2009

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

Review on Rafał Blechacz's CD "sonatas" written by Eric Traver
posted on as of Feb.26, 2009

Original review (French)

The young pianist Rafał Blechacz arises as worthy successor to Krystian Zimerman.
By his first album released by DG, Rafał Blechacz delivered us Chopin Preludes which was not necessarily exciting:
not because he was an excellent winner of the Chopin Competition in 2005,
as evidenced by a disc Dux,
but because he inevitably added one more recording to the plethoric discography (=the disc recorded by many players).

The Polish pianist and publisher have had the good idea of proposing here a much more personal program.

One might have feard a "repositioning of the image" of the musician by revealing his secret garden.

Because Blechacz, becoming famous thanks to the attractive decoration of Chopinistic piano,
succeeded in these three sonatas of Viennese classicals - a success making us recall that of Krystian Zimerman,
Polish previous winner of the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1975, recording Mozart's sonatas for DG afterward.

Blechacz, in fact, gives us a good lesson:
the latest Haydn,the first Beethoven and even the young Mozart had been lost
by being played by those pianists with limited ability.

They were, in their time, great explorers of instrumental possibilities,
and for Mozart and Beethoven, great virtuosos.

To be appreciated and also to be played in the spirit of presiding over their creation,
they need to have the instrumental mastery that Rafal Blechacz can evidently deal with.

Under his fingering which is precise and inventive at the same time,
the sonatas by Haydn and Beethoven, contemporary composers,
rediscovered the radiance, brilliance, virtuoso fantasy
that get them closer to the literary romanticism of the time,
these confusing, labyrinthine pages, signed by Jean Paul and E. T. A Hoffmann.

The finals, in particular, gain a presence rarely achieved
whether it is by a crazy speed assumed (Presto of Sonata in E flat by Haydn),
or by changes in climate which are modulations of the sonorous field
(Rondo from Sonata by Beethoven, here at the turning point of pre-schumannist. (pre-schumanniennes)

Sonata in D by Mozart, composed in 1777, almost twenty years before the other two,
and thus closer to the grace of Goethe than to antics (bouffonneries) of Hoffmann,
suffers a little more of this treatment, and sometimes seems austere, even steeper in his lyrical slow movement.

People like in any case his Mozart than overflown Mozart:
in times of full ventrues where sometimes the quantity replaces the quality,
this well-chosen program is the rare pearl. site introducing Blehcacz for incoming concerto at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées on May 14.
English (machine-translated)

Apr 17, 2009

Review on Blechacz's recital in Paris (France) posted a review on Rafał Blechacz's recital in Paris on March 27, 2009,
written by Jean-Charles Hoffelé

Original review @ (French)

Paris - Report
- Rafał Blechacz at the TCE (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées) - Young Poland

The silhouette could not be more juvenile, it would mean his performance also, but not really.

What control, what the art of construction, and what sense of taste.
Definitely, Rafał Blechacz surprised me by his maturity.

Italian Concerto fairly babbles but is quite right,
17th Mozart sonata is played subtly colored but passing withoug saying much
and yet should be admirable.
The piano sounds fine and light, digitalized without weight but what is said is quite rare nowadays.

For perilous Variations op. 3 Szymanowski - not those that usually Krystian Zimerman plays (that is opus 11) -
the sound is digged deep towards the end and his hands speak, finding the meaning.

People had high expectations for Chopin of the second part and they were not wrong.

Third Ballade is beautiful in sound of evening twilight, breathed with subtlety,

and Opus 17, where Blechacz does not hesitate to idealize the popular dance,
highlighting the contrasts and deploying cantabile by bel canto singers,
despite a small dramaturgy not showy in the crescendo of the minor.

The summit, Polish fantasy perdendosi,  very good sight, sung in the shade with a subtle accent
that prohibited him from being totally tragic.

This is the brightest principal art, but also the limitation of this art is it is still too modest.

For the adagio of Mozart's Sonata, the parts lost in the most of Polonaise Fantaisie,
one should have just looked behind the music, he should have been looking for the fault or the abyss.

This means that, just now, a magnificent instrumentalist is already born before us,
and in the near future, the wings of this musician certainly will let him fly.

by Jean-Charles Hoffelé

Théâtre des Champs-Elysées on 27 March.

Apr 15, 2009

Beethoven, Arrau, Chile and fan of Blechacz

Record Geijutsu (music) April 2009, music monthly in Japan
ran a special feature on the piano sonatas by Beethoven,
"Beethoven -- a wondrous universe of sonatas".

It reflects on life of the composer by following meticulously each of all 32 sonatas,
giving a thorough analysis on their positions in his entire portfolio, historical meaning and change of forms and background.

In addition, the representative recording was selected for each of 32 sonatas;

Ronald Brautigam: Sonata No.1,9
Rafał' Blechacz: Sonata No.2
Andras Schiff: No.7,8,14,19,21,32
Alfred Brendel: 10,13
Maurizio Pollini: 12,23
Claudio Arrau: No.18
Daniel Barenboim: No.22,27

Rafał Blechacz's recording of No.2 op.2-2 in 2008 was included in the list.

Kazunobu Yasuda, a critic & writer knowledgeable about classical composers writes;

"In his latest tour in Japan in Feb.2009, Rafał' Blechacz performed this work fine and excellently.
In this recording from DG, I was impressed by the great emphasis
that he laid on peculiar aspects of this sonata.

He charges ahead forthrightly in the first movement
as if to say that even the collapse could be an invaluable method of expression.
I got a thrill from the performance that only a highly skilled pianist would be capable of".

There is also name of Claudio Arrau, which reminded me of what a member of Berlin Radio Orchestra said
in her blog about Rafał Blechacz when the orchestra collaborated with him in December last year.

"....His way of expressing is equivalent to those great piano masters in their seventies and eighties.
I felt as if I were listening to the interpretations of Claudio Arrau or Dinu Lipatti in their golden days...."

Also, my thought went back to a young fan of Blechacz in Chile, the place of Arrau's birth.

She is Rousel. I began e-mailing with her earlier this year.
It’s quite rejoicing to know that there is someone who lives in the opposite side of the globe from Japan
and likes the same artist from Europe.

She says that it is not easy to get Rafał's CDs in her country,
so she sometimes finds his information on the web, and
she wants to attend Rafał's concert some day.

May her dream come true!

Muchas gracias, Rousel. Por favor, mantenga en contacto.

Apr 13, 2009

Review on Blechacz's CD "Preludes" (Colombia)

From my archive of reviews/articles,
let me pick up a review on Rafał Blechacz's CD "Complete Preludes by Chopin"
written by Carlos Alberto Heredia Galindo
posted on, Colombia as of Feb. 2 and Nov. 2, 2008.

Original review (Spanish)

The young Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz achieves a new and splendid sound with Chopin.

I've always wondered what is a flash that gives certain interpreters particular sensitivity;
that divine flashing light with which they can give life to the scores
that have been played over and over again
and rejuvenate by their hands?

Perhaps it could be a mixture of human and invisible elements that are put together,
when the great skill developed from childhood allows them to often use both brain hemispheres
to throw their hands and other body parts to different tasks.

Also included is countless musical knowledge, also grown from childhood,
which facilitates the interpreter learning of a musical text
which, once reviewed and placed in memory, can be managed at his will.

Perhaps this or something more is what makes a musician cause in the audience
the greatest of astonishment, or the deepest of disappointments,
and that is beyond his talent,
who sits in front of the instrument,
who is a human being with flaws and virtues,
and as such exposed to the changes in life.

One of these extraordinary artists is the young pianist Rafał Blechacz;
born in Nakło nad Notecią, Poland, in 1985, who has achieved something close to impossible,
when he took a work that had been recorded many times,
and as if by magic, gave a different and reviving dimension.

The repertoire: 24 Preludes, Op 28, Prelude in A Flat, Opus Posth.,
Prelude Op 45, and Deux Nocturnes, Op.62, by Frédéric Chopin.

Yes, these are pieces that are part of the Romantic canon,
but thanks to the interpretation by Blechacz,
they are able to get away from the bland and insignificant places.

His Chopin is magical and absent of all flattery;
his Chopin is exuberant, insightful and energetic.

Phrasings are perhaps similar to those executed in Chopin's life;
intimate, destabilizing, revealing
and, above all, discreet,
but loaded with a sophisticated force.

Not surprisingly, this young pianist Rafał was the winner
of the famous Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw in 2005,
attended by 257 pianists from different countries.

His blend of technical ability and humanity go hand in hand without trouble
resulting in the fascinating experience when listening to him.

I can find no other decent way to conclude this review
than borrowing boldly the words of George Steiner:

"The domain of thought, the mysterious rapidity of thought, exalts man above all other living things.

But this leaves him converted into a stranger to himself
and to the enormity of the world. "

Maybe in order to accompany us faced with such an enormity,
there is the music of Chopin left in the hands of Rafał Blechacz.


Blechacz will be in Spain in late April to early May,
having six concerts (two recitals, four concertos; Beethoven No.4 & Saint-Saëns No.2)

Apr 12, 2009

Rafał Blechacz interview for Polish Radio2 (Poland)


On March 23 in the evening, Polish Radio (PR) 2 broadcast the interview 
given by Rafał Blechacz and recorded on March 18, 
just before his performance in Warsaw of Beethoven piano concerto No.4.

It is a fragment of broadcast "Muzyka to nie wszystko...", 
where Blechacz talks about his favorite concert halls.
The best concert halls for Rafał are: Concertgebouw, Tonhalle, Mozarteum. 

First about Amsterdam Concertgebouw; 

"The appearance (performance) in this hall is a beautiful experience, wonderful hall. 
There is no alternative hall in the world in which the descending steps with red carpet extend below the standing artist. 

The door is opened in a beautiful way by two men with the white gloves.(The door has the gold door handle). 
When this gate is opened, I see the whole hall. It is the unforgettable experience every time. 

Then I get great energy and authentic desire and wish to play concerto or recital. 
The steps are for me like relaxation because of a little physical exercise." 

Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

Next about Tonhalle Zürich;

"It has very good, living acoustics. 
I have verified it myself. 

I was walking around the hall when orchestra had its rehearsal. 
I was everywhere in each nook, balcony too. 

Everywhere the sound was very well heard. 
All nuances, colour of music sounded very well". 

Tonhalle Zürich
Blechacz's concerto/recital in Sept.'06 and March '08

"Of course the festival in Salzburg was for me the big experience. 

Hall is beautiful with about 1000 persons, enough for recital. 
The public was fantastic like in Warsaw who gave me the big ovation. 

It is nice because of this festival place that the public liked my interpretations, 
that the audience enjoyed them. 
It is place where at the same time the famous pianists meet themselves." 

Mozarteum, Großer Saal, Salzburg

"One can learn very much from other conductors, 
playing with various orchestras even the same concerto. 
I see how all change, how the interpretation matures.

I had an interesting meeting with maestro Gergiev.
It can be said that I didn't have a rehearsal with him, rather a scrap of it.

The maestro is a very busy man because he has a concert almost every day.
During the most of the rehearsal with me,
he was speaking on the mobile phone with the other hand conducting.
I was afraid of all nuances.

But I was nicely surprised. The concerto was perfectly played by his orchestra.
I express my admiration for Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev.

The concerto was in Moscow Conservatory where the famous pianists
like Horowitz, Richter, great orchestras, composers played on the stage.

This awareness helped me like the red steps in Concertgebouw"(laughing).

"Second interesting experience with another orchestra- Russian National Orchestra (RNO) in Japan.
I played Chopin's concerto with Mikhail Pletnev's version.(laughing).

Blechacz rehearsing with Pletnev
May or June 2007

Concerto by Chopin in his instrumantation.
It was different from the normal one that we know.
Sometimes orchestra sounds like Rachmaninov or Tchaikovsky,
sometimes there are more instruments; also the sound is more massive.

In my part there was no change except for in the third movement
where krakowiak dance was played by wind instruments.
I had to accustomed to it and leave the fragment.

But the meeting with maestro Pletnev, having conversations - he is also a pianist -
was very important for me.

Blechacz with Pletnev and RNO
@ Tokyo Opera City, June 2007

The concerto by Saint-Saëns with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) was
for me an unforgettable wonderful experience, too."

RCO @ Amsterdam Concertgebouw

Krystian Zimerman invited me to himself in Switzerland for one week. 
We spent this time together playing different works by Debussy, "Preludia" by Chopin,
also classic sonatas, some Szymanowski, concerto by Beethoven; but not only by piano.

We were talking together, going shopping together.

cover of "Ongaku-no-tomo (music friend),
March 2009, Japanese monthly

One day we went to a music shop and Krystian bought me about 20-30 CD's of opera, symphony, piano.
It was an unusual experience.

Krystian wasn't like a teacher but like a partner.
It was fundamentally exchange of opinions.

Krystian played more different works which he had prepared for his program.

The possibility to be with him so near to watch close at hands
to hear sound of piano, his manner.

All were for me very important and remain in my memory for long time.
The contact with so great a person who plays piano is for me the best learning, education.

Krystian said to me,
"You can play it in this way or another, maybe so
or maybe you can change nothing,
decision always belongs to you".





@ Berlin, Dec.2008

Special thanks to Dana for the information ♡ 

Apr 11, 2009

Easter wishes for success and happiness

Radosnej Wielkiej Nocy!

Kochany Rafale,
Radosnych Świat Wielkanocnych
Tobie i Twojej Rodzinie
fani z całego świata

Dear Rafał, 
World joyful Easter 
You and your family 
Fans from around the world

Apr 10, 2009

Zimerman praised Blechacz's personality

Krystian Zimerman gave an interview to Japanese media during his stay in Japan in November 2008
to perform piano concerto by Lutosławski with Chung Myung Whun.

He describes himself as a pianist obsessed with the ideal sound.
He never announces the recital program until just before the recital.

“It takes about 10 years to make one music work my own.
So I cannot determine a program of recital a few years ahead
because it could cause a sudden change of the program”.

He always quests for the best sound for the audience by making the best possible efforts.

He maintains good and deep relationship with some friends and music colleagues
with whom he has a heart-to-heart talk.
Gidon Kremer is one of them.

“I’m stubborn about performance.
I don’t budge an inch for the interpretation that I completed
by reading score and practicing it until I’m really convinced.

In the duo concert with Kremer, I felt the same kind of persistence from his interpretation.
It was interesting.
But we have never had conflicts. It’s because what we are aiming at is the same.
Our stubbornness is commendable, isn’t it?”

Duo concert with Kremer

Zimerman cites one more artist who is really stubborn, although he is young.
Rafał Blechacz, his compatriot.

Zimerman gave advices to Blechacz in several occasions since before the Chopin competition
so that he can perform to the full extent of ability.

He continued his support even after the competition;
helping the younger colleague avoid the bumpy roads that he had faced when he was young,
enabling Blechacz to advance to smoothly explore his path.

“What I do is not especially significant.
I sometimes introduce to him some music partners I trust and people in the relevant fields,
or sometimes give advice on repertoire.

That’s it.
Otherwise, we just enjoy chatting.

Rafał is very sincere, honest and positive.
Has a good manner and courteous to superiors.
Among other things, he is blessed with an outstanding talent.

Therefore, he is loved by all the people.
There are quite a few people who are willing to support him.

It is quite important for a musician, for a man.
If you are ill-natured, nobody would help you”.

In addition to Chopin, Blechacz is now focused on works by classical composers.
He studies the works thoroughly before bringing them out onto the stage;
some of them were recorded for the latest CD.

I guess this may have been influenced by Zimerman’s advice.
Zimerman is famous for a wide range of repertoire from classical to romantic, modern and contemporary music
but he makes it his motto to always return to the classicals.

(excerpt from the interview)

Interviewer: Ms. Yoshiko Ikuma
Published by Ongaku-no-tomo (music friend), March, 2009

@ Carnegie Hall, 2005

In the interview, Zimerman also talks about his approach to playing Bach with piano,
how he tries to bring out the best music to the audience,
and how he encountered and began involved in music when he was a child, etc...

My friend found this article and sent it to me.
She attended Blechacz's recital in Yokohama in Feb. this year.
At the autographic session after the recital, she put a picture on the talbe for him to sign, asking,
"Onegai-shimasu. (Japanese meaning "Sign here, please".)"

Blechacz put his sign on it and returned it back to her, saying,
"Douzo. (Japanese meaning "Here you are, please.") with a beautiful pronunciation and with a sweet smile.

A Polish fan said that her neighbor watched TV interview by Blechacz,
impressed by him and decided to buy all his CDs.
She likes operas and isn't a frequent listener to piano music so far.
She says, "Blechacz has a disarming personality".

Short stories that exemplify how nice and well-mannered he is.

Apr 8, 2009

Excerpt from Rafał Blechacz's interview for TVP Kultura (Poland)

Rafał Blechacz gave an interview for TVP Kultura (Poland) on March 18,
just before his performing Beethoven concerto No.4 with Antoni Wit in Warsaw on March 19 and 20.

Intrviewer: Jacek Hawryluk 

Some points of his remarks that I hope are interesting for Blechacz music lovers are picked up and summarized below.

Blechacz and Hawryluk are sitting in Filharmonia Narodowa (Warsaw Philharmonic hall), 
looking around and recollecting the 2005 Chopin competition.

JH How is the acoustic of the hall? 

RB Every hall is different but the acoustic is indissoluble with interpretation. 
Some parameters of a hall forces changes of color, elements of technique, etc… 
Also rehearsals are the most important. 
These with the public would be the best but it isn't possible. 

JH Which hall is your favorite?

RB Filharmonia Narodowa in Warsaw has very good acoustic, quite serious. 
Thanks to it I felt very comfortable during Chopin competition. 

Concertgebouw has an atmosphere incredibly beautiful 
perhaps because of plenty of famous artists who have played here. 

JH How do you build your repertoire as the public now see you as an independent artist, 
and want to get the best of you?

RB I play works which I know very well. 
I don't get tired of them and do let the public listen to them in more convincing way. 

JH Does Chopin disturb you? 

RB No, thanks to Chopin, I can play in the most important, beautiful halls, festivals around the whole world. 

I will always play works by Chopin, 
I want it. 

(↑ January 2007, not for this interview.)

JH Your career develops very beautifully. 
Do you have a freedom of choice of repertoire with Deutsche Grammophon? 

RB Yes, I have. 
When I talk about my projects of CD's in the future, I have the decisive voice
but sometimes I make allowances for suggestions from DG. 
They know very well CD's market in Germany, Austria, France, better than I. 
I’ve not yet known what liking of music do the public have. 

But I have a sense that the decisive voice belongs to me. 

JH. If you want to record CD with Szymanowski's works would they agree? 

RB I think now they would agree. (He suggests ideas of projects related to Szymanowski.)

I must emphasize that freedom of art, which is so important in my life, 
is given and approved to me by DG. 

At the beginning of my career, I wasn't exactly knowledgeable about how a lot of things outside music function; 
the suggestions by Zimerman or Pollini were very important for me.

Now I make a decision, not someone else. 

JH Who are the pianists that inspire you besides Zimerman and Pollini? 

RB I have many CD's of great pianists in my library. 
Sometimes they inspire me sometimes don't. 
In general I reach for a music when it convinces my vision of work. 
Later I can be inspired by other aspects but the core is my own. 

For example, the recordings of Chopin by Raul Koczalski were very inspirational for me, 
especially his "Etudes" are pure music. 

Zimerman, Pollini of course but also Mitsuko Uchida has developed the current of classicals, 
especially music by Mozart. 
Alfred Brendel too, he played IV concerto by Beethoven beautifully. 

JH How do you work on new works? 

RB It depends on the work. 
For example IV concerto by Beethoven has been always my favorite among these five concertos. 
I have known it. But it’s also new. 

First I study technical side. 
After that I start the process which I would compare to maturation of wine (laughing). 
I need time in order to know the work and stay with it for some time. 
I must not play it every day; it is kept in my inside and one day the moment comes that all becomes clear. 

My "iron rule" is that the work cannot be performed in public until I am sure 
that it has been well settled in my fingers and interpretation is proper. 

JH You said before that you would like to study humanistic subjects. 

RB I’ve already begun studying philosophy of music at Kopernik (Copernicus) University in Toruń. 
It helps me with my interpretations. 
I am more conscious of different elements in music, in our life too. 

JH What do you listen to? 

RB I have an era for "Oratorium (Oratorio)" by Händel. 
Today the world rushes so quickly and this music a little slows down, allows you to distance yourself from some things. 
It's good. 

JH.When you were here on this stage in 2005, did you image that your career would progress in this way? 

RB When I look back at these 3,4 years after the Chopin competition, 
I think it has been a period of much hard work but also I have been very happy, 
which gave me more satisfactions as a pianist. 

I feel simply happy and lucky when I see the hall full of people who come to listen to good music. 
I do what I always like, what I love. 
The awareness that I will be doing it for the next years is for me the motivation to work hard. 

(End of interview)


Fortunately, I watched the TV interview thanks to the kindness given by fans of Blechacz abroad.
I also received a briefing of this interview by Polish fan Dana.

The way Blechacz talks impressed both of us; honest, thoughtful, quiet but assertive.
The wise young man looks at music, life and the world seriously. 
The thoughtfulness and matureness are reflected on how he plays on the instrument.

This segment of interview reminded me of the interview that Blechacz gave to Belgian media "Ramifications" (French) in Sept.2007, 
where he cited Rubinstein, Paderewski and Raul Koczalski as the pianists who inspired him for playing Chopin.
(Note: Koczalski is mistyped in this French article.)

I didn't know Raul Koczalski (second-generation pupil of Chopin) then 
and I listened to some Chopin pieces by Koczalski via Youtube.
I was impressed by the noble, pure sound...