Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Aug 19, 2009

Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden posts beautiful pictures of Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, where Rafał Blechacz will play a recital in October.

"The construction of the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden was completed ten years ago
and since then an annual Music Festival has been organized here.
There are 2500 seats, the biggest concert hall in Germany.

This year's festival is the jubilee....
...In this season Rafał Blechacz will play works by Frederic Chopin and Karol Szymanowski.

You can hear fragments of Blechacz new CD

Deutsche Grammophon's site for Rafał Blechacz "Chopin The Piano Concertos"
gives a demo listening.

You can listen to parts of Concertos in E minor (1st & 3rd movement)
and F minor (1st & 3rd movements).

About four minutes for each, meaning that 1st of E minor has very short segment of piano.

My deepest thanks to Ms.M and Ms.S...for the info.

All that were described by Blechacz and reviewers proved to be true.
Aside from his unbelievably intoxicatingly beautiful piano sound, what a harmony between the soloist and the orchestra in timber, granularity, nature, rhythm….everything! Symbiotic music as was described by Peter van der Linton of Trouw, Amsterdam.
Wind instruments are also intoxicating.
My heart is full.

(From those who listened to the fragments.- Thanks for e-mailing me.)
** I was especially impressed by the concerto in F minor. What a maturity he has attained!
How in the world can he produce such serene and crystal sound?
Collaborating with the good orchestra and maestro in the concert hall of good acoustics is NOT enough to generate that sound.
It is made possible only by the Rafał Power. I'm in the Rafał World!
Rafał The Magic!
I cannot wait for the release of the CD. (Rafał music lover A)

**Wow. It's fantastic! During the 1st movement of 2nd concerto, I was smiling without realizing that...
and I couldn't stop smiling.
Each note was more beautiful than other, and it was my favorite movement which was available...
The 3rd movement of the 1st was very energetic and pleasant !
I'm really, really happy. It is more beautiful, more magical than I thought.
Rafał's genius.
I can't wait for buying it, but in my country, it will be available only in February or March...
So I will be patient ! (Rafał music lover B)

**I heard it non-stop and Rafał's playing is ASTOUNDING!!!.
He plays not only like Chopin but like young Chopin…I can hear details.

Once Prof. Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń (in Duszniki Zdrój) said,
" I am interested in how he will play when he turns 50 years old if he already plays so beautifully now".

I ask how he will play after next four years if he has made so huge progress in the recent four years.
(Rafał Music lover C)

4th version of DG page for "Chopin The Piano Concertos".

Universal Music Japan made an official announcement of the release of the new CD.
The new CD will be launched in Japan on October 7, 2009.

Universal Japan says that the CD is in commemoration of the 200th birthday of Chopin and
publicizes the new CD as "live performance" of one concert in July,
in which the artist performed both of the concertos.

Moje Miasto Bydgoszcz (Polish) introduces the new CD.
(What is written is already well known.)

(From the author of this website)
Thank you for visiting this website "Preludia."
For a personal reason, I cannot update this website for the next one to two weeks.
Sorry for that but I'm looking forward to seeing you again!

Aug 18, 2009

A significant revelation -Rafal Blechacz new album

Magdalena Talik introduces the new album by Rafał Blechacz on the website of kulutura
that will be premiered on Sept.18 in Poland, saying

"according to the opinion of critics, who heard the material,
the new album by Blechacz can be a significant revelation". site as of August 17, publicizing the new album by Rafał Blechacz.

The text is the same as the infomusic site

Aug 17, 2009

Not a prisoner of Chopin-Rafal Blechacz, Interview posted an interview with Rafał Blechacz
titled "nie jestem więźniem Chopina (I'm not a prisoner of Chopin)" on Aug.16.

The interview took place in early July soon after the recording of his new CD
but topics expand way beyond that.

Interviewer: Michał Mendyk

Original interview from (Polish)


We met him as a 20-year old winner of the Chopin Competition in 2005. Today he is already senior, artistically matured and play concerts around the world. He just finished recording with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Rafal Blechacz tells us how he feels about the label "the Chopin's pianist" and why he didn't play with Doda and Feel.

(The 1st part of the interview is about how he feels about Concertgebouw Orchestra. I'm skipping this part because it was already covered several times on this website.)

Haven't you ever tried to, as previously done by Krystian Zimerman and Piotr Anderszewski, reach the baton of conductor?

-As a child I dreamed of becoming a pianist, and the following years and experience just confirmed this choice for me.

I do not see a conflict between the cultivator of the various musical profession. It was not until the twentieth century that the tendency toward radical specialization became dominant. Previously, being a musician meant playing several instruments almost proficiently, conducting skills and experience in composition.

Today we can observe a gradual return to that tradition. More soloists, even Krystian Zimerman, decide to conduct behind the instrument.

I must admit that the prospect of directing a great team is very tempting. With a genuine fascination, I observed carefully the work done by maestro Semkow.

But for now I devote myself entirely to piano, and which direction my career goes to - time will tell.

While working on Chopin’s Preludes you listened to, among others Russian masters. Did they exert some influence on the interpretation of concertos?

-Yes, I am hugely impressed by the "Russian school" by Professor Neuhaus.
Performance in the concert hall of Moscow Conservatory, belonged to one of the most stressful, but also moving moments in my entire career - before me there were after all Rubinstein, Richter, Gilels, but also Gould. I do not see reason to forcibly enter into some tradition or school.

It seems to me the most valuable thing to the interpretation is to accurately read the composer’s ideas written in the score; in the second place, it is your own intuition, which allows you to understand what is hidden between the notes. Your own intuition, not typical for a region or a historical era.

I mean, Krystian Zimerman, with whom I am so often compared, also comes from our countryside of Europe, and still there are very few things that connect him with the stereotype of East Europe. It seems to me, moreover, that many of today's interpretation of outstanding Polish composer's music suffer from the excessively romantic, "Slavic" type of expression.

Let me explain further; about someone else’s recording, I generally consult it at a time when I already have in mind an established vision of the piece – and I would like to assert it rather than deny it.
[Wyjaśnię jeszcze, że po cudze nagrania sięgam zazwyczaj wtedy, gdy mam już w myślach gotową wizję danego utworu – i raczej po to, by się w niej utwierdzić, niż jej zaprzeczyć.]

Of course, in the case of Chopin's concertos - especially popular pieces – such external inspirations become almost inevitable. Since childhood, I listened to the whole mass of recordings and a gathered a large collection.

Probably the closest to me were interpretations by Rubinstein, but not the youthful ones - full of spontaneity and temperament, but those which come from the end of his career - full of deep concentration and works of extraction of beautiful sound.

In Anmsterdam and many other cities of music you already have regular audiences. Where do you most like to perform?

-Certainly in Germany, where they have a unique tradition of cultivating art of music.

I’m thinking of the beautiful and acoustically excellent rooms, but also of exceptional preconception by the public.

Evening concert is really holy here: everyone is ceremonially dressed, listen with faithful concentration. I do not have to say that this brilliantly affects the condition of the performer.

Of course I love to perform in Poland, before my "first audience", who always welcome me very warmly.

A nice and unusual experience was the ascent of my first CD of Chopin to the peak of the pop song chart. In 2008, I was even invited to the festival Top Trendy, where I was supposed to perform close to such performers as Doda or Feel. The term, however, coincided with my second session of recording for Deutsche Grammophon.

When will we hear and see you in Poland?

-In the Chopin Year I will be doing so many opportunities, which makes me very pleased. On February 22, which is the anniversary of Chopin's birth, I will play with the National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antoni Wit. Then my present interpretations of piano concertos in most major cities.

And don’t you feel yourself a prisoner of "the Chopin’s pianist" status?

-Definitely not, and this was reasserted to me by enthusiastic audience reactions to my interpretations of Viennese classics, Liszt and Debussy.

In fact, I devoted myself seriously to Chopin only a few years before the competition. Previously, I paid almost all the attention to the music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, to which with great joy I returned for my second album.

And if you ask about the CD of Chopin’s piano concertos, it was my own, voluntary decisions dictated by a desire to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the composer’ birth.

Moreover, as for the subsequent two albums, I definitely intend to reach the later solo repertoire, but for now I would rather not reveal details.

Aug 16, 2009

Blechacz new CD release October 7 (Japan) and other distributors will make Rafał Blechacz's new CD "Chopin The Pinano Concertos"
available in Japan on October 7, 2009.

Japanese title is "Chopin piano concertos No.1 & 2".

HMV Japan

Yahoo music

cadenza label news ←Blechacz's CD is included in "import" category under Universal label.

J book

Seven & Y

Import version (Europe) will be availabe on September 30 via HMV Japan.



Aug 14, 2009

Blechacz new CD premiere September 18 (Poland), as of August 14 informs that the premire of Rafał Blechacz's new CD "Chopin The Piano Concertos"
will be on September 18, 2009 in Poland.

By quoting a review written by Jacek Hawryluk, it describes how Blechacz's playing in the concert in Amsterdam on July 2, a part of the recording sessions of the new CD, captured the hearts and minds of discerning audience in Amsterdam.

The CD will include the text of the conversation that the artist had with Prof. Władysław Stróżewski.

Deutsche Grammophon prepares the special Polish version of the CD.
The release of the international version of the CD will be on October 5, 2009.

Aug 13, 2009

Rafał Blechacz talks about CD "Chopin Piano Concertos" - interview with Jacek Hawryluk from Poland Radio

Deutsche Grammophon's website "Chopin The Piano Concertos" for Rafał Blechacz changed its design.
As far As I know, it is the third version.
Personally I liked the first version of this website.


Rafał Blechacz gave an interview to Polish Radio 2, which was broadcast on August 9.
He mainly talked about the upcoming new CD "The Chopin Piano Concertos" and the recording sessions he had in early July in Amsterdam.
He also touched upon his future plan as well as his study of philosohy.

This English segment was provided by Dana and Ola , Rafał Blechacz music lovers in Poland.
I’d like to extend my sincere appreciation to them for their kindness and effort.
How blessed we are to be able to know Rafał's latest remarks about recording of Chopin Concertos and future plan.  }

Please read the interview to RMF Classic (Polish text included) and
the interview to Polish Radio 1 on July 12 (podcast included - listen to Rafał's voice)
as there are overlapping parts in these interview.


RB: Rafał Blechacz
JH: Jacek Hawryluk   (interviewer)

Concertgebouw entrance (Dana, thanks !!)

RB: When it comes to the decision about the orchestra I decided myself, after my concert with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) about one year ago. It is also at that time when the name Jerzy Semkow appeared in my mind for the first time. I was happy when my decision was accepted. From the beginning I was thinking about a Polish conductor because of the aura of Chopin's concertos. I wanted also that the conductor agree with my interpretation.

RCO liked very much Semkow’s proposition of exposing the wind instruments even in the short fragments.

The record session usually began at 10 o'clock am and then continued to 1:00 or 1:30 pm with 15 minutes break for tuning of instruments, piano too. We were working one week. In the afternoon I had consultations with maestro Semkow, the concertmaster and the piano tuner too.

I had met maestro Semkow several times in Poland before the final recording in Amsterdam. We had a lot of time to discuss, next to the piano, the interpretation of the both concertos. He noticed very carefully my suggestions of agogics, change of colour, dynamics.

I was fascinated by the timbre of RCO and felt comfortable while playing with them because they always followed me. We had a beautiful dialogue especially in the second movements of the concertos.

Jerzy Semkow and Filharmonia Narodowa, @ Warsaw

JH: How did they manage to play the Polish dances?

RB: (laughing) There was a lot of joy when they played the third movements of the concertos. Altogether, we spent much time to give the proper atmosphere to the interpretations of Polish dances, especially their tempo and rhythm. When I first heard the recording of these movements I found them performed very well...

Brilliant musicians of RCO realized our ideas, mine and Semkow’s, at once without any problems.

Maestro Semkow gave the orchestra the opportunity to display all their possibilities, especially at the beginning of the concertos, perfect acoustics of the Hall was a huge inspiration too.

For me, the both instrumental introductions in the concertos are very important because they announce what will happen in the next parts of the concerto. It would be an unforgettable loss not to seize the opportunity of hearing the beautiful timbre of this orchestra and its possibilities.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

JH: You like Krystian Zimerman but your interpretation of the concertos is quite different from his performances. What did you take from K. Zimerman?

RB: Zimerman's interpretation from 1999 is very individual and today already a legend. It is an inspiration for many conductors and soloists.

I remember my concerto in Tonhalle when maestro David Zinman ordered members of the orchestra to listen to the CD with Zimerman's concertos. I know earlier Zimerman's interpretations. They prove how a pianist matures during long years.

My interpretation is more youthful in the positive sense of the word. I wanted to express myself. It is difficult to say what inspired me in Zimerman's performances. Certainly I was marked by the interpretation of both third movements by Rubinstein.
Other pianists who I listen to are M.Argerich, C.Arrau.

K.Zimerman and Polish Festival Orchestra, 1999

Maestro Semkow accepted my ideas and didn't insist on his own concepts. He followed me. He realized his ideas in the orchestral parts but in the piano part he accompanied me beautifully.

I am happy that the first contract with DG ended well. In more than ten days I will go to Hamburg to hear all recordings and choose the best one. I will be present by the editing up to the end.
I have now signed a new contract for three more albums. The next one without Chopin's music. It will be devoted to another Polish composer but not entirely. DG is open to Polish music. I will play these works during my concerts soon. I have already prepared more material for my new CD, but I don't want to talk now about my new record.


JH: How do you work now?  Do you have a professor or do you rather work alone?

RB: I work alone and I don't have any professor to supervise me. But as every pianist I need "a second ear", in seek of confirmation, inspiration, that's why I appreciate so much meeting such great artists as K. Zimerman, M. Pollini and others. Soon I will have the opportunity to meet Maria Tipo in Italy as I will play there some concerts. It is important to spend some time with the piece you are working on, to have a vision of it, then to be able to talk about it and discuss it.

JH: I've heard that you started your studies of philosophy? Do you have enough time for that?

RB: Studying philosophy is for me a great way to relax from the piano. I have now finished my first academic year. Taking books with me and read them when I travel is my way of studying. I am fascinated by the philosophy of music, so musicology supported by philosophy. I read Roman Ingarden and Władysław Stróżewski, I am very impressed by his book "Dialectics of creation" [polish original title " Dialektyka twórczości"] which is devoted to the notion of interpretation in different arts.

I can't exclude the possibility that my future thesis will concern the question of the correct interpretation of a given artistic work, but also the question of a certain freedom of interpretation.

JH: The Chopin's year 2010 - what are your plans for the future?

RB: That's why I insisted so much on recording the Chopin's two concertos before, because in 2010 I will have a lot of performances and certainly no time for more than that, I will visit three continents.

But I also prepare myself for the year 2011, when I will play several times in the US. I wait for performing Liszt concertos with Philadelphia Orchestra and especially maestro Charles Dutoit, with whom I have already the immense pleasure to play one of Chopin's concertos.

In 2008, Dutoit became the chief conductor and artistic adviser
of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

JH: But the coming new year is also the year of Chopin's Piano Competition in Warsaw. Do you still come back to your memories of that time or you are rather concentrated on your career, which is so brilliant, and look to the future?

RB: I rather look to the future, but sometimes I like to go back to the moments that have changed my life. When I play the third movement of the E-minor concerto, the two last pages, somewhere deep in my conscience the memories of the competition are coming back, especially when I hear the thunderous applause.

JH: I have the impression that your interpretation from the competition and the one from Amsterdam belong to two different worlds.

RB: It is the result of my artistic and human maturing. It is undoubtedly also the result of having performed so many diverse piano pieces and concertos with different orchestras and conductors other all over the world. Thanks to it the music you play "grows strong in your hands and fingers", gets its maturity in your mind and heart, changes slowly and naturally.

JH: Thank you so much from the Polish Radio 2 and best, best wishes.
RB: Thank you very much.

Aug 12, 2009

Photo archive from 2003 Hamamatsu Piano Competition - Rafał Blechacz

Photos from 2003 Hamamatsu International Piano Compeititon

taken on November 23, 2003.

I'm not eager in collecting photos of Rafał Blechacz (I'm eager in listening to his music!! )
but some photos are found during the search of his news and
there are readers of this website who say that they are happy when then can see Rafał's photos here.

Final stage

Laureates of 5th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition,
November 23, 2003

Two top prize winners with Hiroko Nakamura, head of the jury
from Alink-Argerich Foundation website
November 23, 2003

From Alink-Argerich Foundation website
November 23, 2003

From Alink-Argerich Foundation website
November 23, 2003

At the opening of 6th Hamamatsu Competition, November 11, 2006

From the 6th Hamamatsu Competition website

Receiving interview with Hiroko Nakamura and Alexander Kobrin, on November 10, 2006

From the 6th Hamamatsu Competition website

From Hamamatsu city's newsletter, 2004
Rafał Blechacz says;

"I'm proud of having won the top prize in the prestigious competition.
I'll tell my friends in Poland about it.
My next target is the 2005 Chopin Competition in Warsaw".


First stage
Bach The Well-Tempered Clavier Book2 in F-sharp minor
Haydn Sonata No.52 1st movement
Chopin Scherzo No.1

Second stage
Toshi Ichiyanagi Piano Poem (set piece)
Chopin Etude op10-7
Liszt Concert Etude La Leggerezza
Debussy Etude pour les arpeges
Debussy Suite Bergamasque
Schumann sonata No.2

Third stage
Bach Italian Concerto
Beethoven sonata No.2
Chopin Nocturne op62-1
Chopin Ballad No.3
Szymanowski Variations op3

Final stage
Chopin concerto No.1


The "Devilish Charm" Hidden in Competitions

"…..With the exception of Alexander Kobrin, a top prize-winning contestant in the Chopin Piano Competition, among the six contestants selected as the final prizewinners, there were surprisingly a large number of fresh faces with comparatively little career experience. To add to this, the more authoritative contestants with previous experience of success in large competitions had already been defeated. This is perhaps a revelation of the “devilish charm” of such competitions. Whilst the competition itself built to a crescendo with the outstanding lineup of talent jostling for position, no first place was actually awarded…"

(Hiroko Nakamura, Chairperson of the Judging Committee)

* There were 319 applicants of 47 countries and one region.

100 applicants were qualified for the competition and 83 from 29 countries and one region actually joined.

Aug 9, 2009

Blechacz interview broadcast Aug. 9 (Polish Radio)

Interview with Rafał Blechacz will be broadcast
at 15:00 - 16:00 (CEST) on August 9 via Polish Radio 2.

He is talking about the new CD "The Chopin Concertos", its recording in Amsterdam in July.

Interviewer: Jacek Hawryluk

To listen to the program
Please click on "słuchaj w internecie".

He is Jacek Hawryluk!

Read Hawryluk's review on the concert at Amsterdam Concertgebouw on July 2.

Chopin is talking to me without words - Blechacz

Continued from yesterday, again.
From the interview by Wprost, Rafał Blechacz talks about the beauty of playing organ and Chopin.

Grywa pan jeszcze na organach?

-Przed konkursem chopinowskim często grywałem w kościele parafialnym.
Teraz mam na to mniej czasu. Gra na organach bardzo wzbogaca, nie tylko zresztą w odniesieniu do interpretacji muzyki baroku.
Niezwykłe wrażenie sprawia powracanie dźwięku odbitego od sklepienia świątyni.
Na to zjawisko ma również wpływ mechanika instrumentu oraz rozmieszczenie piszczałek i stołu gry.

W toruńskim kościele Najświętszej Marii Panny owe opóźnienie dźwięku trwa nawet dłużej niż sekundę.
Świątynia i dźwięk organów – to stwarza aurę uduchowienia i poczucie wielkiego spokoju.

Artur Rubinstein powiedział kiedyś: „Chopin mówi do mnie bez słów".
Czy muzyka Chopina jest dla pana wyjątkowa?

-Określenie Artura Rubisteina jest głęboko prawdziwe.
Muzyka nie wymaga słów. Chopin przemawia uczuciami.
Trafi a do ludzi przez wyzwalanie emocji.
Gama tych uczuć jest nieograniczona: od smutku i melancholii poprzez nadzieję aż ku radości.

Zadziwiająca sytuacja przydarzyła mi się kilkakrotnie na koncertach w Japonii, Niemczech i Holandii.
Po zagraniu czterech mazurków Chopina opus 17 nikt nie bił braw. Cisza była absolutna.
Jakieś zastygnięcie publiczności. Coś na kształt stanu zahipnotyzowania.
Musiałem odczekać dłuższą chwilę przed następnym utworem, wytrzymać tę ciszę.
Mocne przeżycie.

Do you still play the organ?

-Before the Chopin competition I often played in the parish church. Now I have less time for that.
Playing the organ enriches very much, indeed, not only with respect to the interpretation of Baroque music.
The sound reflecting back from the vault of the temple causes unusual impression.
The mechanics of the instrument and the distribution of pipes and the console also affect this phenomenon.

In Kościół Najświętszej Marii Panny (Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary) in Toruń,
this delaying sound lasts for even longer than a second.
The church and the sound - it creates soulful aura and great feeling of peace.

Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary
From website of Toruń

Arthur Rubinstein once said: "Chopin is talking to me without words."
Is the music of Chopin exceptional for you?

-Definition by Arthur Rubinstein is deeply true.
Music does not need words. Chopin speaks to feelings.
He appeals to the people by releasing emotions.
The range of these feelings is unlimited; from sadness and melancholy through to hope and joy.

Amazing situations happened to me several times at concerts in Japan, Germany and the Netherlands.
After playing four mazurkas of opus 17 by Chopin, no one applauded. Silence was absolute.
The audience was a kind of frozen. Something in hypnotized situation.
I had to wait quite a while before the next piece and withstand the silence.
Strong experience.


I remember that during Japan tour earlier this year, there was one recital that the audience didn't applaud after Mazurkas opus 17.
I think it was at The Symphony Hall in Osaka, his last recital.
Please correct me if it's a wrong memory.

In the quietness of the hall which was full of emotions, Rafał didn't stand up;
he then began playing the next piece: Heroic Polonaise.

 Rafał played Mazurka opus17-4 for encore of the concert at Amsterdam Concertgebouw on July 2.
After his playing, there was a lingering moment of quietness. (Please read a fan's report.)

Aug 8, 2009

Playing for people, not exceeding the limit

Continued from yesterday,

In the interview in Netbird, one remark by Rafał Blechacz impressed me.

(Every musician has his/her own audience, and.....)
It is important, however, that the musician does not exceed a certain limit

-grał dla publiczności a nie pod publiczność.
- Blechacz would play for the audience but not to the taste of the audience.
(not to accommodate himself to the wishes of audience.)

The pianist emphasizes that he also makes it pleasure playing for himself,
away from the great concert halls.

If he has to stop concerts, though it would be difficult for him, he would bear it.
However he would never abandon contact with the piano.

In the article of Wprost24, there is a related remark.

Grywa pan pod publiczkę?
-To nie miałoby sensu.
Gdybym nie był całkowicie przekonany o celowości tego, co robię, publiczność również natychmiast by to wychwyciła.
Większość pracy nad utworem odbywa się w samotności, w domu. Ale jest we mnie wielka ochota,
aby jej efekt eksponować publicznie.
To nie jest główny cel, ale ważny.

Do you play to cater to the taste of the public?
-It would not make sense.
If I am not entirely convinced of the appropriateness of what I do, the audience also would immediately capture it.
Most of the work on pieces are done in solitude at home.
But I have a strong desire to expose its effects to the public.
This is not a main objective, but an important one.

Blechacz often says that he hears the voice from inside, for him his own intuition is very important.

Have you given up your own compositions?
- Once I wrote a few piano pieces, and even a string trio.
Today, I do not have the time to, or internal needs,
and to do something against the state of mind does not make sense.
(From Gazeta Pomorska, May 2009)

-Recently in London, a girl asked me for advice, who had a dilemma whether to choose studying music, or medicine. I did not have such a dilemma, always knew that playing the piano is what I want and what I did. If anyone has such a dilemma, it should be highly questionable if music is certainly an appropriate way. Intuition is extremely important - which Zimerman also stresses. I have a perfect reason - intuition is very important in music. When refining interpretation of music, it often relies on intuition. The best example is rubato, elusive tempo in works by Chopin - that can not be explained until the end. I just feel that this should be so and not otherwise.(From Gazeta Pomorska, May 2009)

-What I try to do through music or what I value in my life is "to be natural".

In performing music work, my role is to play it as the composer wanted me to play
and to reproduce what he wanted to express today.
For me, trying to respond to his wish is natural
and to achieve that, I need to select the music that I stay natural with.

Finding a commonplace between his music and what I am
and identifying myself with what the composer left to me
would result in the naturalness that I’m supposed to achieve.

Probably I will remain the same.
For me, nothing is more important than being natural.
I want to always remain what Rafał Blechacz is.

And Rafał Blehcacz is the person who always lives his life and interprets music naturally to perform it.
I want to remain my own man. It’s my current wish.
(From interview with Takaakira Aozawa (1) (2), Tokyo, February 2009)

Aug 7, 2009

"Have authority over people" is what?

I wrote about Rafał Blechacz's interview for Wprost24 titled "Have authority over people, it is beautiful"
that is provided for a charge and cannot be posted here.
But let me say that this interview is basically the same as the one for Netbird that I posted before in July,
although Wprost24 goes into more detail.

My guess is that these two articles were written based on a single interview.

Let me however pick up one paragraph that is not written in Netbird's article,
which is related to the title; "Have authority over people, it is beautiful."
This paragraph comes when Blechacz talks about how he loves playing for the people.
In the context of Netbird's article, it could come after the following segment.

"The silence prevailing in the room fascinated me before I started playing.
The very silence in the room before the first touch of the keyboard is a sign of transmission of specific emotion,
which is to take place in a moment.
At that moment I am aware that I can interact with the people seated in the audience.
And in the end I am rewarded with the popular applause", Blechacz reports.

In this respect, little has changed until now.
Satisfaction by the listeners is the highest award for the musician and mobilization to improve his skills.

Lubi pan mieć władzę nad ludźmi?
Mieć nad ludźmi określoną władzę to jest piękne.
Zwłaszcza wówczas, gdy po koncercie podchodzą słuchacze i relacjonują, iż coś w ich wnętrzu się poruszyło.
Że w jakimś momencie poczuli mocny ścisk serca. Są to świadectwa, że koncert nie był dla nich obojętny.
Dla artysty to wielka nagroda. I zachęta.

Do you like having authority over people?
Having certain authority over the people is beautiful.
Especially at that time when after the concert listeners come and report that something inside them was moved;
or in which moments their hearts strongly felt.
This is the evidence that the concert was not insignificant for them.
For artists, it is a great prize. And encouragement.

"Having authority over people" therefore doesn't mean that Blechacz suddenly becomes a dictator;
it is about how he can inspire the audience; spiritual authority or ability, in my understanding.

Recently Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon and CEO of News Corporation, declared that he will make all the websites of news published by his corporate group companies for a charge within one year.
The Times of London is one of them.
I sincerely hope that this will not be a world-wide trend.
Such an attitude on the side of media company is opposite to the direction of people's needs.

Aug 6, 2009

Interviews after Preludes recording -Blechacz '07

From my archive,

in relation to yesterday's video of the recording session of Preludes in 2007,
this is the interview that Rafal Blechacz gave to Piano News 06/2007 of Germany.
Original interview (German)

English (machine-translated)
The English is comfortable and good.

Another interview Blechacz gave to Polish Radio (Audio-QuickTime) (English)
after the recording of Preludes completed in Aug.2007.
Blechacz speaks in Polish and his voice is dubbed into English speaking announcer.

For me this is truly memorable content. Maybe the first content that I found on the net about Blechacz.
I thought, "Oh, my God! Is this voice of that divine boy?"
It was on his name's day.

(I happened to know Blechacz's piano on TV earlier of the year, a few months before that.
I turned on TV and saw a graceful pianist playing Chopin's sonata in B minor 1st movement.
I didn't know who he was but the beautiful sound nailed me to the spot.

Later in that year his debut recital for Masterpianist series at Amsterdam Concertgebouw was webcast via Dutch Radio4, which was for me a deciding moment.)

Aug 4, 2009

Man of ear (hearing)- Blechacz in reportage '06

From Dana's archive:

A reportage broadcast in April, 2006
"Człowiek słuchu" - Man of ear (hearing) (Audio - Polish)

Please click on "Człowiek słuchu" to hear the program.
Voices of Rafał Blechacz, his mother, his teachers, etc... can be heard.

(Excerpt that Dana selected.  Thanks for that! )

Jacek Polanski;
I remember that a small boy came to me, sat by piano and began playing his arrangements of music. 
He heard what he played. 
With his little fingers he made his own legato and the sound was melodious, all falling into place of music.
I didn't need to show him a teddy bear or something else in order to tell him how soft he should play.
He was a Man of Hearing.

Ewa Staporek-Pospiech :
He always interpreted excellently music by Bach.
He was born with music inside himself.
As a teenage boy he discussed interpretations of works by Chopin like an adult.
He received books as an award.

Rafał Blechacz:
I never had a feeling that I was a child prodigy.
The more I play the happier I feel.

Rafał’s mother:
He didn't like buttons in his childhood, touching buttons.
When he was six years old we had a problem.
There was his performance for public and he didn’t want to put on a shirt and trousers.
So he performed in violet sport wear and tennis shoes.
We were afraid how it would be later when he gets older.

Rafał Blechacz:
Now I feel myself best in a dinner-jacket.
It became my" second skin".
I name it "work clothes" because when I go to concert to play I say that I go to work (laughing).

This promo video made in Cologne includes some photos of Rafał in his boyhood.
Did he like violet color?

President of Poland:
It is the great moment for us, the Poles.
We’ve been waiting for it for 30 long years.
Today we are proud of the fact that the winner of the 15th Chopin Competition Mr. Rafał Blechacz is our countryman.
It is a big joy. Congratulations.

He played on what we’ve established, adding "something".
This "something" comes to him when the hall is full and he feels winged.
It is a fantastic moment.
I have known how he plays but this "something" has put me also in an euphoria.

President of Poland:
We thank his parents....

Receiving Chair of the Year 2005 Award
from Warsaw Voice (Feb. 2006)

Rafał's father:
The most difficult moment for us was when we were seated among the audience and can't do anything;
so we supported Rafał with a prayer.

Rafał Blechacz:
There were plenty of emotions including a stage fright.
The most difficult moment was the third part of the competition.

Rafał's mother:
We didn't take photos as we forgot to bring a camera.
Rafal received a beautiful album with photos of Chopin Competition so we are very happy.
During the announcement of the results there was a huge crowd.
It threw us in danger; one journalist fell down and Paulina's glasses dropped on the floor.
Director of philharmonic gave us sign to go out. We were in the lift...

Rafał Blechacz;
The door of the lift opened on every floor
and journalists took our photos then the door closed,etc…
We couldn't go outside.

Rafał's mother:
Now our life becomes more and more normal.

Rafał received the title "Citizen of honor of Nakło" and the flat in Bydgoszcz.

@ the Gala for the Award giving ceremony: from Warsaw Voice

"Chair of the Year should go to the person, institution or even an object
that exerted the strongest influence on the Polish reality or our emotions in the past year,"
says the editor-in-chief.
(The first laureate was the legendary Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa.
The statuette is the shape of film director's chair.)

In a letter to the winner, Maciej Łopiński, secretary of state at the Office of President Lech Kaczyński, wrote,
"...he not only raised the admiration of jurors and music lovers with his virtuoso performance,
but also moved the hearts of his compatriots.
Providing listeners with unforgettable artistic experiences, he gave us all a reason to be proud.

By presenting the Chair of the Year not to a politician or entrepreneur but an artist this time,
the editors of The Warsaw Voice not only appreciated the important role of culture in society,
but they also distinguished perseverance and modesty-features that, combined with talent,
can lead one to the very top."

Aug 2, 2009

Review on Blechacz's recital at 2008 Verbier

From my archive, a review on Rafał Blechacz's recital at 2008 Verbier Festival on July 31, 2008,
written by Bertrand Bolognesi.

Original review (French)

Rafał Blechacz - Birth of The Poet

Three years ago, the prestigious Chopin Competition in Warsaw crowned
Rafał blechacz with the 1st prize and three awards,
a pianist born in 1985 in Bydgoszcz, Pomerania.
The young man is for the second time at the Verbier Festival today.

Having met through the recent disc by Deutsche Grammophon (Chopin, Preludes), we actually discover him,
this time through Italian Concerto BWV 971 by Johann Sebastian Bach,
which he offers an interpretation - intelligent and sensibly constructed.

The first movement features an elegant touch, nimble ornamentation, a little singing but without excess,
articulated in a nearly severe tactus that is contrary to generous tenderness.
The accentuation makes itself discrete, the execution like a lacework of the north meticulously elaborated,
beyond the proposed Italian promise.

This discretion, one will find it again in the slight delay hardly affecting the ends of phrases of the central Andante,
served by a round sonority and an inventive art of the nuance,
in a boundary of voluntary restraint.

While affirming his tension by the regularity of motifs,
the Presto gains the unusual and reasonable relief (=distinctiveness) of the left hand,
daring to give a deeply thought contrast although never spectacular.

Undeniably, the artist knows how to reveal polyphony through his inner qualities
that are imposed on him as a personal signature.

In fact, one will be less convinced by his Three Concert Studies by Franz Liszt.
Is it regrettable that the young musician has to prove his technique by the virtuosity
to legitimize his premier match in public, because the poetry that Rafał Blechacz's play aims at doesn't need such demonstrations.
That part of his Swiss recital could appear least interesting, with smooth Leggierezza,
Waldesrauschen more fortunately nuanced and very lovely Gnomenreigen too little fantastic.
It is impeccable, clean and prudent, no more than that.

From Pagodas one knows at which point the universe of Debussy agrees with the Polish pianist.
His affinities with the Estampes appear evident.
All is there, until this difficult antagonism of the indications of the score, evoking a lot
(calling the low register but not-outstanding, invention of a third hand, etc.).
He maintained an astonishing balance, finely founding the motifs.

For The evening in Grenada Rafał Blechacz is not misled:
it is a dream of Spain, an internal journey, a sleepiness of the lids toward the imaginary sound without vividness, which he proposes.
His conception affirms itself subtle, even a little intellectual.

It is a thick shower under a sunbeam that falls then on the Gardens under rain, unexpected sensuality.
The last clouds can be felt in the flout of trill of notorious regularity.
To finish, a river is called by the curious, aborted crescendo.

After the intermission, the artist dedicates the second part of this moment to his compatriot Chopin.
First of all with the Mazurka Op.50 where the Vivace in G major displays an intelligently contrasted burst,
dynamics and always imaginative.

The presence of the touch makes itself astounding.
The Allegretto in the A flat major will make us say that Blechacz has completely integrated this music
where appropriate with love as much as respect.
The fine percussiveness of the central part is intriguing.

Then he carries the song of the Moderato in C sharp minor very high, without making a lyric appearance, however.
More and more getting personal, the interpretation gains in inspiration.

Certainly this approach is not contradictory to the execution of the Sonata Op.58 n°3 in B minor
written in 1844 to the side of George Sand, in Nohant.

Definitely, Rafał Blechacz doesn't repeat the same, always engraving a new manner of what he has just made heard,
thus delivering the Allegro maestoso literally captivating, devilishly scrupulous but open and flexibly structured for generating every sound.

The Scherzo lets you guess a swiftness that could surprise you more in some years,
but that may remain a little monolithic yet.

The extreme regularity of the conclusion is expressive to it only.
The aerial ballade of the Largo breathes as rarely.
He unites rigor and grace, until the ultimate resumption that is achieved in bronze velvet,
with his fluid vocalizing pianissimo, his precise choices of touch, precisely faithful to the score.

The ample and deep choral suddenly breaks into the final Presto, of an equality of nuance and a stunning clarity, with a full-speed.

The air was nearly astonished by people's applauding to him so heartily,
that the artist offers a mazurka and Waltz in C sharp minor Op.64 n°2 in a play of the elegant sadness,
never charming nor pretty or heavily sorrowful, but on the contrary original and ingenious
at the clever middle part with the delicate half-tones.

Review on his recital at 2006 Verbier Festival
Blechacz that a French fan sees at 2008 Verbier

The style and the use of vocabularies by this reviewer were difficult for me, as you can see.
(I changed some words to avoid misunderstanding.)
But it is the only review on his recital at Verbier fof last year that I found and I wanted to share.