** From Klavierfestival.de website about recital in Dortmund, June 12(German)
In 2005 he convinced the jury with his performance at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw so that they not only gave him the first prize, but awarded no second to illustrate his prowess. Since then, the Pole Rafał Blechacz has been celebrated as an exceptional talent. He is a guest in concert halls around the world, in Moscow and in Tokyo, Amsterdam, London, Madrid and the Klavier Festival Ruhr, where he had his highly acclaimed 2006 debut. Rafał Blechacz is young and remains silent pianist, beyond the media hype focused on concert doing his best for what he is best: music. His special liking for the works of his countryman Frédéric Chopin. His 24 Preludes, he played for his first CD and as early as in 2008 he received the Echo Klassik for the CD. Also at this year's festival concert Rafał Blechacz will bring works by Chopin to the ears, but you can be also curious about his interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Claude Debussy.
** From Le Figaro about the recital in Paris, June 14 (French)
Rafał Blechacz - pianist and poet
Of course, if you wait Blechacz at the end of the season devoted to Chopin, it is primarily because the young Pole is the only musician of his country to have won the prestigious piano competitions in Warsaw, after Krystian Zimerman thirty years earlier. But in this shy dreamer's keyboard there is much more to discover: his Mozart which is distant but intriguing. His Debussy is dreamy, yet devoid of passion. His Bach is full of righteousness and already legendary (his interpretation of the Italian Concerto belongs to that class). These three composers are just opening this recital in Paris, which culminates in the second half when the Pole will be fully assimilated - if not living – into his indescribable Chopin.
** By Marc Zisman on QOBUZ (French)
Salle Pleyel, his recital is a reflection of his personality as a musical poet. With the Partita No. 1 in B flat major BWV 825 by Johann Sebastian Bach, concise and virtuosic, Mozart Sonata KV 570 in the same tone and perfect balance, the three movements for piano by Claude Debussy with unlimited sound palette, and a bouquet of major pages of his beloved Chopin, it opens up infinite perspectives where technique is just of service to expressions.
(End of excerpt)
This site also gives a reference to Blechacz's debut CD "Piano Recital" which includes pieces by Schuman, Liszt, Debussy and Szymanowski. If you've not heard them, I strongly recommend that you get it purely from a music lover's perspective.
If you listen to the Heroic Polonaise in this CD compared to his recent performance, you'll be impressed by a difference that an artist creats in different circumstances.
Amazon.com recently made available this album. (It was difficult to obtain it for the past few years in countries outside of Poland, UK and Japan). Sample hearing is available.
** Preview from Chopin 200 website (Polish)
Krystian Zimerman is completing his tour in Japan with all Chopin program. The repertoire is basically the same as for example in Ferrara, although in some programs he played Ballade in F minor instead of Barcarolle.
Many music fans deeply moved by the depth of his interpretations expecially of the sonatas express their views in blogs, forums, etc…I was able to hear only piano sonata in B moll and Ballade in F moll at Yokohama’s hall because of my tight job schedule but it turned out that it was a right decision to make it for the recital.
“I think that the sonata in B minor is one of the most superb works by Chopin. ..Every time I play it I find something new and feel taken away to another world…”
(Krystian Zimerman, interviewed by Yoshiko Ikuma, Ongaku-no-tomo special edition, 2010,
Ikuma's summarizing essay @Japan Arts (Japanese)
In the interview article, Ikuma quotes Zimerman as saying that he’s tried to record Chopin’s sonatas 20 times in the past 30 years. “For example in 2009, I had four recording sessions, including the one in Lucerne where I worked between 9:00pm and 6:00am every night. But I was not satisfied and destroyed the result. I’ve nourished hope of recording the sonatas but so far I’ve failed to achieve it.”
Zimerman is reported to have announced that he will not play officially on the stage next year. (asahi.com, Japanese)