Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Jul 30, 2010

Blechacz selected by University Music Society's marketing manager (US)


UMS: University Music Society, Michigan picked on its blog Rafał Blechacz on July 29.
UMS will organize concerts by Blechacz on 11 and 13 of Feb., 2011.
Let me quote the part where Blechacz is referred to.


UMS Staff Picks: pianist Rafał Blechacz selected by Susie Bozell Craig, Marketing and Corporate Partnerships Manager
Submitted by Stephanie Normann: on July 29, 2010

SN: Although a relatively young artist, Rafał Blechacz has already established himself as a rising star in the international classical music community. How has he, at only 25 years of age, made his mark in that community and around the world?

SBC: Although he’d won several major piano competitions already, when one wins the Chopin Competition it comes with incredible opportunities. Winning the Gold Medal and all individual prizes in 2005 opened the door for him to perform at Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall in London, and the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels among others. It also helped secure a five-year recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon which has so far resulted in three albums, including perhaps the best recording of Chopin’s Preludes I’ve ever come across.

SN: What “flavor” does he bring to his performance that distinguishes him as such an impressive talent?

SBC: What impresses me so much about Rafał is the incredibly musical maturity he possesses. In many ways, technical prowess is the easy part. But the ability to spin phrases with perfect balance and timing, to not take too many liberties while still drawing out poignancy, the achievement of an incredibly organic result…this takes true mastery. Artists can work for years and still not achieve this.

SN: What are you most looking forward to about his upcoming Ann Arbor performance?

SBC: Chopin is one of my favorite composers for the piano, and to hear a true artist perform his works, which are so romantic with their sense of longing, nostalgia, grief…I think it will be an incredibly emotional experience.

Rafał Blechacz's previous concert in Michigan, April 2008

Jul 29, 2010

Rafał Blechacz's performances of Chopin and Bach available from Performance Today (audio)


Performance today broadcast Rafał Blechacz's performances of Chopin and Bach during its program on July 27.
Host: Fred Child.
The recorded program is available for the next week.

Performance Today's program page.
Please go to HOUR 2 Listen

Rafał Blechacz's performances are:
Chopin's Prelude op.45 (from the recording for Deutsche Grammophon) @1:20

Bach's Partita No.1 at a recital for Schwetzinger SWR Festspielen on May 14 @46:10

(Courtesy: Roman Frackowski)

Rokokotheater ceiling painting by Carolus Vocke
W. A. Mozart as a child prodigy aged 14
 during a visit to the Schwetzingen court
My deepest appreciation to Fred Child for having performances of our exceptional pianist in his program again and always being caring to his listeners.

Rafał Blechacz and his Steinway - interview in Austria, 2007 (2)


From my archive, this is the 2nd installment of an interview that Rafał Blechacz gave to Klavier – Friends of Steinway in Austria, April 2008 edition. In the 1st installment of the interview that I posted on Monday, Blechacz talked about his first impression of the instrument that he encountered in Steinway’s factory in Hamburg in spring 2006.

Please go to page 04 (two clicks away).

--You were born in Naklo, a Polish town with 20 000 inhabitants, and grown up. Suddenly, you find yourself on a stage in Tokyo. Don’t you stand under a constant culture-shock for two years?

No, actually not. I find it very interesting, new cities, new people, experience new cultures. For example the Japanese culture is quite different from our European culture although I must say that I don't have much time to view something because my daily schedule of a tour is filled with different meetings, interviews, rehearsals and concerts.  But of course I first had to get used to these gigantic concert halls, however I like to play for many people. Public concerts always give me much pleasure, and I am happy that I can now continue all this in the world stage.

--What have you noticed about Japan?

One learns to know another food, for example, to which one must get used first. At the beginning, that was somewhat difficult (he laughs). 
I don't eat sushi, raw fish, so gladly. I longed for the Polish meal. Now, I eat sushi, but at the beginning it was difficult. When I was in Japan again, I found a Polish restaurant in Nagoya. One can find also an Italian or American restaurant there, so it is no more so bad.

--The public is greedy for new faces on the concert stages. 
Younger, more colorful, faster, louder – it seem the recipe for success here already for years. And suddenly you appear, completely unspectacular, modest at all, out of nowhere from a small Polish town, and the press and audience alike are enthusiastic about the naturalness, the honesty and the elegance of your playing, completely without any cheap showmanship. 
Have you discovered a gap in the market?

I don't know, it is hard to say. The most important is to look for the naturalness in one piece. I’ve never been a type, who wants to shock the public with something, wants to show a virtuosity that is not musically well-founded, or who wants to make him shown. This would not correspond to my personality. 
There are also pieces of course, in which the virtuosity is necessary and one must show it, but for me virtuosity and technique are never something that should dominate in one piece. I always try to get the musical content to make me subordinate to that fully.  What is the most important in music according to my opinion: emotions, which are contained in a work of music.

Rafał Blechacz at the Steinway-Haus in Vienna on questions 
from chief engineer Stefan Knüpfer and many journalists

"I'm not a type who shocks the audience with anything
or wants to make a show. "

--Does the comparison with famous artists, to which you are exposed since the victory in the Chopin Competition affect you? And can you avoid this comparison musically?

I am only at the beginning of my career and am aware that big artistic challenges lie ahead in front of me. 
It is very agreeable for me, if one compares me with big artists, but I also know that I own an independent career path, an independent interpretation and should manage an independent repertoire where I’m not influenced too much by other interpretations, so that I want to create my own vision of a piece. 
It is very important in the music that, what one does remain individual. Of course I make use of experiences of other artists, I hear their recordings, which sometimes inspires me very much and helps me in search of my interpretation. Nevertheless, I believe that every artist has his own way to go.  Only then, the playing is interesting – for both the public and for himself.  
(End of the interview)
↓ Excerpts of reviews of Blechacz's Vienna recital in Nov. 2007. (from his official Website)

Like a young poet
New face on the piano firmament. What differs Blechacz from his young collegues is his extraordinary sense of the sound. Apart from the unusual finger execution he shows the highest level of musicality. Technically everything is perfect but Blechacz additionally reveals an exceptionally beautiful sound of the piano touching in each phrase. The pallete of colours shines grandiosely skillfully grading the mood. Instead of glassy perfection he achieves rich and full of emotions sound.

Oliver A. Lang, Kronen Zeitung, 20.11.2007

Vienna enchanted by Rafal Blechacz
Rafał Blechacz made his debut in Konzerthaus, proving a good impression of his first CD. He plays Polish Chopin without a French perfume. Whereas it is possible he allows the piano to sing a melody with a refined rubato keeping permanently a definite rhythm. His technique is perfect but not the goal for itself. Dynamic, from a delicate piano to fortissimo without rapid explosions. Each work is narrated clearly, but with a mystery inside. This makes this artist is so unique. The pianists who operform the music without a mystery are just the artisans.

Karl Loebl, Oesterreich, 20.11.2007

To play Chopin for the Polish artist is so near and so difficuklt at the same time. For Rafal Blechacz it goes without saying. He liberates Chopin from an ice palace. He can knock strong against the keyboard, but his Chopin is sensual and earthly, selfconfident, mysterious and touching. He has a lot to say without any gossipy. Rafal Blechacz never exposes his technique but revives the national musical holiness with light-heartedness and wise vitality.

Kurier, 20.11.2007


Jul 26, 2010

Rafał Blechacz and his Steinway - interview in Austria, autumn 2007 (1)


From my archive, this is an interview that Rafał Blechacz gave to Klavier – Friends of Steinway in Austria, April 2008 edition. The interview took place in the following day of Blechacz's recital at Konzerthaus in Vienna on Nov. 18, 2007.  Blechacz talks about his first impression of the instrument that he encountered in Steinway’s factory in Hamburg in spring 2006.

Original interview (German)
Please go to page 04 (two clicks away).

A man goes his way

The victory at the international Chopin competition in 2005 catapulted then 20-year-old Polish Rafał Blechacz from the Polish town onto the big stage of the world. Since then, the press is never tired of emphasizing his surprisingly mature and poetic playing.
A man goes his way
Interview: Stefan Knüpfer, chief engineer, Steinway in Austria

--Steinway Magazine: Mr. Blechacz, aside from your performance, what was remarkable for me in yesterday's piano recital was that there was no coughing at all, that you were photographed during the applause as a pop star and that the flower arrangement presented to you after the concert by the Polish Embassy was so huge that it had to be carried by two men on stage!  Is this exceptional state normal in your concerts?

Blechacz: I must say honestly that the yesterday's reaction was very happy for me. With my first concert in Vienna, I didn't expect so warm, so cordial reaction from the public especially since the Viennese public is very special and I am also conscious that the greatest artists play in Vienna.
Actually I had the impression that the listeners listened really deep. Especially then, if I played tiny dynamic nuances, for example piano, pianissimo. Then, I had the feeling that nothing of our interaction could hinder the concert. These are very special moments.
I was confronted with a similar reception during my last concert in Amsterdam. There was already a standing ovation even after the first part of the concert, which I had never experienced until then. Thank God, my debuts therefore proceed very happily so far.

The recital at Vienna Konzerthaus on Nov.18, 2007 was organized
by Polish government and Universal and many international organizations
which have representatives in Vienna were engaged.

--You played an all-Chopin program. Particularly the naturalness of your playing impressed me.   Everything you do seems as obvious as if you no longer have to think about it.
What do you think when you play Chopin?

Hm, that is a very difficult question (he laughs). The most important thing when working on a piece of music for me is to always reflect as truthfully as possible what the composer left to us. That one simply doesn't alter what is already there. On the other hand I want to play the music, as far as possible, between quasi sounds so that I create my own interpretation without changing the style of a composer.

--And what fascinates you specifically to Chopin?

Chopin’s music is very special for me, his emotions were always very close to me. I believe that my musical intuition plays a major role here. Somehow, I almost always knew that a given phrase should sound so and so, in such a rubato that should be played and modeled so and not otherwise.  I could feel this internally, and I try to present it.

(Then Blechacz describes that his life changed dramatically after the 2005 competition, inundated with a lot of offers of concerts, approaches form music agencies.  He now has to think about repertoire for concerts of two or three years later.  He was able to marshal the hectic situation with the great help extended by Krystian Zimerman.)

Suddenly famous: Rafał Blechacz responds gratefully

"I had to get used to the new reality just after the Chopin Competition".

--Are these 40 concerts decided by your will, your plan?

Yes. That is the maximum, that I can play at present, so that I still have pauses between the concerts. However, it is also decided in the agreement with Deusche Grammophon: With this number of concerts, I can present myself on the most important music markets.

--Did you get very many new friends and advisors overnight?

Exactly. Quite suddenly, hundreds of people gathered around me, everyone wanted something different from me. It was rather difficult (he laughs) to navigate it, but now, everything is again in order.

(Then Blechacz explained his strategy during the competition to remain calm.)

--I read that you won money for a grand piano of your choice. You then chose a Steinway B in the Steinway Factory in Hamburg. What makes your instrument so special?

I had nine instruments to choose from. Only the model B came in question.  The residential circumstances have over it – the room, in which the instrument now stands – decided.
All nine instruments were very good, the election was rather difficult. The instrument, that I ultimately selected, was the very first instrument, at which I had sat down. I immediately liked it very much. I rehearsed after it on other instruments, however, my feeling was dragged on to the very first one during the whole time. After one or two hours, I actually already was sure that this instrument, number 575336, was the model, which should be with me at home. Later, I only wanted to make sure by playing different works. Each repertoire sounded very good on this instrument. And in particular I was very enthusiastic about its sound quality. It is a grand piano, that has a very warm sound. Of course, it also sounds light – I mean in the upper register. One can also model the sound differently.
Even so, it enchanted me. Actually, each register is good in it – both the bass and the middle octave and the upper sounds. One didn't have to do any big intonation at it, it plays by itself very beautifully. Now, the grand is even better than at the beginning. A year and a half have passed since I began to break it in, and I practice rather intensively on it. But that is good because it warms up faster.

The last sentence is:
Aber das ist ja gut, weil er sich so schneller einspielen wird.
(just in case of my misunderstanding it.)

(to be continued)

Jul 23, 2010

Remarks by Rafał Blechacz, February 2005


From my archive;

this is Rafał Blechacz's remark (interview?) appeared on Polityka dated Feb. 15, 2005, eight months before the Chopin Competition in Warsaw.  He won the National Chopin Competition and was ready for recording his debut album. 

(What am I doing?)
Rafał Blechacz, the winner of the National Chopin Piano Competition:

For a longer time I'm mainly engaged in all the preparations for the International Chopin Competition to be held in October. I practice as much as I can - the statistical average of seven hours a day. But I do not play from morning to night, trying to manage time reasonably, so as not to go through motions of practice In the National Chopin Piano Competition, which was a dress rehearsal for the "big" competition, I participated to be able to check the program (one has to perform the entire repertoire of autumn contest) under stressful conditions of rivalry.

Pomeranian Philharmonic (Filharmonia Pomorska) in Bydgoszcz
I already have some experiences of joining the competition in Poland and worldwide, most of them ended happily for me, but I’ve not taken part in the monographic competition so far devoted to works of one composer. Playing Chopin is difficult, especially since the competition program lasts for a total of nearly three hours. Therefore, we must know how to distribute power and for this the national contest was useful for me. I am also happy that I could appear with the orchestra - even though it was not the first time, but the more the better. But not only dealing with Chopin: in mid-March, in the auditorium of the Pomeranian Philharmonic in Bydgoszcz, I will record for Accord my first CD with works by Debussy and Liszt. Thanks to that, I have a chance not to be classified at the beginning exclusively as a chopinist. Moreover, I believe that playing music by other composers also positively affects my interpretation of Chopin. The CD will be released in autumn, in time for the competition.

When I don’t play, I like listening to music. Not only piano, but also, for example, symphonic music. I have another passion: organ music. I don’t play organ concert, but when I have time and possibility, for example, in the church. First of all, Bach.
(End of the article)


Rafał Blechacz @Royal Palace
June 30, 2005

I have several articles at hand in "my archive".  For example, a review of Blechacz's playing with maestro Gergiev in Moscow (May 2006), another review of the concert with the orchestra in Toulouse (Oct. 2007), the other one of his recital in Zürich (March 2008), an interview for Steinway in Vienna (spring 2008), another interview in Germany (autumn 2009), etc...
I asked one of my friends which one she is interested in reading most and the answer was "all".
Well, I'm willing to work on them (of course!)

Jul 21, 2010

Blechacz's winning at 4th International Music Competition of Morocco, 2004 (review)


From my archive, quote from dated March 16, 2004, reporting the final stage of the 4th International Competition of Morocco, in which Rafał Blechacz won the grand prix among the four finalists. on March 15, 2004 reports the result of the final.

1er prix : Rafał Blechacz (Poland)
2e prix : Davide Franceschetti (Italy)
3e prix : Sergei Salov (Ukraine)
Grand prix du public : Avan Yu (Canada)

(quote from the article on March 16)
The final of the fourth International Music Competition of Morocco took place Saturday, March 13 at Theatre Mohammed V in Rabat. A final whose watchword was confrontation. The jury has selected the Pole Rafał Blechacz for the first prize this year. The theater Mohammed V was packed in Rabat on Saturday night. Essentially the young and also the old, were attending uncommonly. It was the final of the International Music Competition of Morocco, devoted to the piano, now in its fourth edition. 

The four (finalists) had their part to confront the Moroccan Philharmonic which has accumulated experiences, professionalism and assurance. And all were faced with the Moroccan audience more and more numerous, more and more knowledgeable in classical music. Enough to give more heat to a tough test, there were two concertos in which the eternal brilliance of Rachmaninov and his Concerto No. 2 were to prevail vis-à-vis the profound subtlety that marks the works of Chopin, with his concerto No.1.  A work presented at that time by Chopin of 18 years old, the age of the one who would interpret first, namely the Polish Rafal Blechacz. Serene and peaceful, with calmness he played that romance, equally calm and melancholic. 

The accompaniment has been almost muted, with violins whose string sounds were decreased. Almost in contrast, we found a concerto No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninov where tonalism and pianistic density outweighed dynamism. 

Virtuosity a bit brutal, very externalized, the Ukrainian Sergei Salov (21) performed “con brio” and with much nervousness. A nervousness that assimilates an act of will to dominate the piano, a feeling that reinforces the great pianist's stature. Then followed the Sino-Canadian Avan Yu (Chopin) and Italian Davide Franceschetti (Rachmaninov). If Franceschetti was effective in showing himself before the jury, chaired by Japan's Yuko Yamaoka, and occupied the second position in the end, Avan Yu has nonetheless captivated the public, winning the Grand Prix of public, an innovation that makes the charm and distinctiveness of the contest. 

The nervousness and shoulders of the Ukrainian (third price), meanwhile, had to give way to quiet spirit of the Pole, who shares not only the country of the great Chopin, but also his sensitivity. Thus he was crowned the top prize for this year's event. It was an edition in which the Philharmonic has also distinguished itself, particularly through its technical prowess, having played four shows in one evening, more than four hours of performance, coupled with four additional hours of rehearsal in the morning on Saturday. More than a competition, this contest was a way to raise the standing of young Moroccans in helping them discover the most promising talents for the piano, with input from the Artistic Director, Marian Rybicki. 

The occasion also for the organizers, headed by the President of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Morocco, Farid Bensaid, of returning to the attacks in Spain, at the same time making a warm tribute to the Spanish people, scarred by this crime, to whom this event was dedicated. 

Jul 16, 2010

Rafał Blechacz, idol of piano and virtual Chopin portrait - concert review (Italy)


Corriere di Siena dated July 15 carried a review on Rafał Blechacz's recital at Teatro dei Rozzi, Siena, after the 27th International Prize of Accademia Musicale Chigiana was given to the young Polish pianist.

Rafał Blechacz - Idol of piano

The twenty-seventh edition supported by Mercedes-Benz. 
The virtual portrait of Chopin was awarded and enthusiastically applauded.

The necklace of great artists that over the years has received the International Prize of "Accademia Musicale Chigiana" now has another pearl. His name is Rafał Blechacz, twenty-five-year-old Polish pianist, premiered at the Teatro dei Rozzi, with a silver sculpture and a large sum of Euros.

Nowadays the award is supported by the generous offer of automaker Mercedes-Benz, in the occasion represented by Marco Ruiz, responsible for event area, who in his speech has defined the company's involvement as a constructive contact with art and culture.

Despite his young age, the artist has been distinctive, giving concerts in many institutions in the world, winning numerous awards and leaving memory with his performances regarded as interpretation of great value.

In Siena he has revealed himself as the idol of piano, appearing as if a virtual portrait of Chopin, the author whom he loves more, because he feels Chopin in himself. He himself told us how much he has been involved by the music of the ingenious author with whom he has always had a magical feeling.

Presenting the award was the artistic director of Chigiana Aldo Bennici, who is also a member of the judging committee, after the greeting by Gabriello Mancini, President of Chigiana, and the reading of judging by Guido Burchi, head of the PR office of the Academy.

And the concert by the winner followed, and the artistic qualities of Blechacz have sprung just like a flower: with Bach he built the stem, with Debussy he showed the bud, with Szymanowski he formed the corolla and with Chopin he has completed a flower that is significant with sonorous beauty.

Although young in age and career, he belongs to that privileged class especially made to astonish, and has a well-developed musical intelligence that allows him to use the piano to express himself and give emotion to the listener.

In the Polonaise Op. 26  sense of sadness prevailed, but he never lapses into languidness, and the fabulous skill of his "touch" makes clear interpretation of the piece.

The varied characteristics of the "Four Mazurkas" op.41, are well expressed by the magnificent concert performer, so the emotional contents are well captured by the audience, also because of the "painting" with effective coloring effect: a piano that goes crescendo, leading to luminosity, a forte that diminuendo determines gradual extinction of sound, for a suggestive conclusion.

As ideal warm hug of greeting to the public, Blechacz offered the "Ballad" Op.23: an example of incredible boldness, describing the dramatic narration of musical tale, whose concluding "Presto con fuoco", sent the audience into a frenzy.

By Attilio Botarelli

(Courtesy Roman Frackowski)

Polish news of the award giving from Wirtualna Polska on July 13 (Polish)

Original review on Corriere di Siena on July 15 (Italian) was gone from the web the following day!
Please refer to the copy.

La collana dei fantastici artisti che nel corso degli anni hanno ricevuto il Premio Internazionale "Accademia Musicale Chigiana" ha oggi una perla in pi. Si chiama Rafal Blechacz, pianista polacco venticinquenne, premiato al teatro dei Rozzi, con una scultura in argento e una cospicua somma di euro. Attualmente il premio  sostenuto dalla generosa offerta della casa automobilistica Mercedes-Benz, nell'occasione rappresentata da Marco Ruiz, responsabile del settore eventi, che nel suo intervento ha definito la partecipazione un costruttivo contatto con l'arte e la cultura. Nonostante la giovane et l'artista si  distinto tenendo concerto in tante istituzioni del mondo, vincendo numerosi premi e lasciando memoria con le sue esecuzioni giudicate di grande valore interpretativo. A Siena si  mostrato come idolo del pianoforte, apparendo un virtuale ritratto di Chopin, l'autore che egli ama di pi, perch lo sente dentro di s. Lui stesso ci ha raccontato di quanto lo coinvolge la musica del geniale autore del quale ha sempre avuto una magica impressione. A consegnare il premio  stato il direttore artistico della chigiana Aldo Bennici, che  pure membro della commissione giudicatrice, dopo il saluto del presidente chigiano Gabriello Mancini e la lettura della motivazione da parte di Guido Burchi, capo dell'ufficio stampa dell'Accademia. E' seguito il concerto del premiato e le qualit artistiche di Blechecz sono sbocciate proprio come fa un fiore: con Bach ha costruito il gambo, con Debussy ha mostrato il boccio, con Szymanowski ha formato la corolla, con Chopin ha completato il fiore, significativo di bellezza sonora. Pur essendo giovane di et e di carriera, egli appartiene a quella natura privilegiata fatta apposta per strabiliare, grazie ed una sviluppata intelligenza musicale che gli permette di usare il pianoforte per esprimere se stesso e dare emozione all'ascoltatore. Nella "Polacca"op. 26 prevale un senso di mestizia, senza per mai scadere nel languido e la favolosa destrezza del suo "tocco" rende chiara la lettura del pezzo. Il variegato carattere delle "Quattro Mazurche" op.41,  bene esplicitato dal magnifico concertista, per cui il contenuto emotivo fa presa sull'uditorio, anche perch "dipinto" con coloriture di efficace effetto: un piano che va in crescendo e porta alla solarit, un forte che diminuendo determina un progressivo spegnersi di sonorit, per una conclusione suggestiva. L'ideale cordiale abbraccio di saluto al pubblico, Blechacz lo esercita con la "Ballata" op.23: un esempio di incredibili arditezze che descrivono la narrazione drammatica del racconto musicale, il cui "Presto con fuoco", conclusivo, manda in delirio l'uditorio.

Attilio Botarelli.

Jul 15, 2010

Blechacz given the 27th International Prize of Accademia Musicale Chigiana - a hot day in Siena


Italian media reports that the venue of the award ceremony of the 27th International Prize of Accademia Musicale Chigiana and the concert by Rafał Blechacz on July 13 changed due to the very warm weather in Siena.

SienaFree. it (as of July 13)

Details of the Award

Accademia Chigiana, change of venue for the concert by Rafał Blechacz

67ª Settimana Musicale Senese (67th Music Week in Siena) (Siena, 9 to 17 July 2010)
The awards ceremony of the 27th International Prize of Accademia Musicale Chigiana” (Chigiana Musical Academy) will be held today (July 13) still at 19, but at the Teatro dei Rozzi instead of in Sala del Mappamondo of Palazzo Pubblico (the Room of Globe Map of the Pubblico Palace: City Hall of Siena).

Accademia Musicale Chigiana: changes the location of the concert by pianist Rafał Blechacz. The awards ceremony of the 27th International Prize of Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Chigiana Musical Academy) will be held today (July 13) still at 19, but at the Teatro dei Rozzi rather than in Sala del Mappamondo of Palazzo Pubblico (the Room of Globe Map of the Pubblico Palace: City Hall of Siena).
The move was necessary because of the intense heat of these days.

Unchanged on the contrary is the concert program, which will open with the Italian Concerto in F major BWV 971 by Bach and continue with Estampes by Debussy. Second part of the concert is all Polish with Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor by Szymanowski to close wth the symbol of Chopin, among the favorite authors of Blechacz,who, for the bicentenary of the birth of the great romantic composer,  presents the Polonaise in C sharp minor, Op. 26 No 1, Four Mazurkas Op. 41 and the Ballade No.1 in G minor, Op. 23.
(End of the news)

"The public was quite exclusive, only 100 people and was very enthusiastic about Rafał Blechacz's playing and he played two encores.  Then a reception took place in the courtyard of the Palazzo".

(Courtesy Roman Frackowski)

Platea e palchi del Teatro dei Rozzi

Teatro dei Rozzi

Jul 14, 2010

Notes for visitors to Preludia's Japanese page

Japanese blog of Preludia opens today.
In the Japanese article “About this blog”, I outlined what I wrote in English “About this blog”, then added the  following:

The Japanese site will mirror English site
In English blog Preludia, the largest number of access comes from Germany.  Unexpectedly, Poland comes second.  It could be related to people’s willingness to read long articles in English.
Ideally I want to provide the artist’s information in Japanese for Japanese fans, but it’s not easy to do so in the limited time at my disposal.  But I was amazed by what was happening soon after starting the English blog – fans in different countries felt pleased and excited to be able to know Blechacz’s activities in other countries.  I talked about this to my colleague Peko-chan.

“English is understood in every country.  I should know it through our work but now I have a real feeling of it in an area that is nothing to do with our job”
“But what you do here is what people expect of an interpreter, isn't it?”

I chose the current job out of a very naïve wish that I want to be of service to others by what I can do.  Remembering the starting point, I decided to resume the Japanese website.

Until last year, I maintained a Japanese blog called “A once-in-lifetime experience written by Kylin”,occasionally writing about Blechacz’s activities.  The blog is resumed here on this website Preludia  It would be desirable if the Japanese site is identical to English, but in reality it’s not easy to update everything in both languages in the limited time that I can spend.  

Time will tell.  Truth will prevail.  (Czas pokaże.  Prawda zwycięża.)
Here in Japan, news of an artist is reported in magazines and media only at specific occasions;  when new CD is released or when the artist comes here for tour.  But (s)he always changes – devoting to practice, offering concerts around the world, thus deepening interpretations.  I feel that Rafał Blechacz’s sounds are now more diversified after accumulating stage performances for years, resulting in even deeper interpretations.  Always loyal to composers' writings, he demonstrates more uniqueness but always natural and spontaneous.  For readers to be able to trace the artistic path,  I would like to show at least informative reviews and interview articles from outside of Japan.  

What kind of articles are appropriate to be put on an artist website?  To get the idea, I visited several websites of artists – unofficial websites written by their fans.  The websites of Ivo Pogorelić (Japanese), Nikolai Lugansky (English & Russian), and Mikhail Pletnev (English, Japanese & Chinese) are well organized and informative.  I was impressed by the great efforts done by low-profile listeners who’ve kept on collecting data of their favorite artists for long years. I'll follow these examples.

I was also encouraged by those Japanese fans of Rafał Blechacz who read my old blog and said, “I’m looking forward to your doing the blog again!”
I thank them for giving me a pat on the shoulder.

Some of the images and literary works on this website remain the property of their owners. No copyright infringement is intended. Recently, when I put interview, review and image on this website, I try to notify the publisher of the original contents. 
Visitors are asked to contact
 the author of this website personally before quoting any material which is exclusive to

Your comment/e-mail about the website is always welcomed.

Akiko Ichikura

Jul 12, 2010

Blechacz will be awarded the International Prize of Accademia Musicale Chigiana tomorrow

Italian media reports as of July 12 that Rafał Blechacz will receive the prestigious award from Accademia Musicale Chigiana tomorrow; at 19:00 on July 13.

it.notizie (July12)
Il Cittadino Online
guide supereva
and many more.

The description in these news is almost the same as the one which was released earlier this month and late April.
Please see: detail story from this blog as of July 6

It also reiterates that the jury of the Award is composed of critics such as Enrico Girardi (Il Corriere della Sera, Milan), Andrew Clements (The Guardian, London), Peter Hagmann (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich), Julia Spinola (Frankfurter allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurt), and Artistic Director of Accademia Chigiana.

Jul 11, 2010

Arizona Republic praises Blechacz's "sonatas"

Richard Nilsen of The Arizona Republic posted his review "Latest classical CDs delight, disappoint -Pianists A-1 but maestro falls short", picking up two delight from pianists and one disappoint from conductor.
The first one is Rafal Blechacz's CD "sonatas - haydn, mozart, beethoven".
The review is dated July 11, 2010.
Please don't ask me why now. He writes all about good things.

Original article

Recent classical music CDs include two surprising treasures and one surprising disappointment.
'Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven Sonatas'
Rafal Blechacz, piano

The young Polish pianist, who swept all five first-place awards at the 2005 Chopin Competition in Warsaw, has already proved he's one of the best current Chopin players with his first CD release of the Preludes.
Now, he shows us he has the chops for Classical-era music as well, with this breathtaking performance of Haydn's Sonata No. 52 in E-flat, the early Beethoven Sonata No. 2 in A and Mozart's witty Sonata in D, K.311.
Rafal Blechacz (pronounced, roughly, Bluh-HAHSH, with a little of that challah-bread throat at the beginning of the second syllable) plays the music like he believes in it: He's not afraid of a fortissimo or a pianissimo, can shift sonority in midphrase, characterizes each melody as if it were a distinct personality and has never learned that the pedal was a mistaken addition to the instrument.
Like some of the great pianists of the past he has an orchestral palette of sonorities, not the monotonous tone of an Andras Schiff or a Richard Goode. This is colorful playing, although never distractingly so. He makes all three composers sound joyful and playful, and allows them their slight nose-tweaking at the staid listener.
Blechacz is one of the few pianists -- like his great predecessor Wilhelm Kempff - who can make his performances feel both intelligently thought-out and spontaneous at the same time.
(End of Blechacz's part)

Jul 6, 2010

Rafał Blechacz to receive the International Prize of Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Italy, July 13

Several Italian media websites report that Rafał Blechacz receives the International Prize of Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Chigiana Musical Academy), Italy, a prestigious music award for young and prominent pianists and violinists. The prize will be awarded on July 13 at Palazzo Pubblico (Pubblico Palace: City Hall) in Siena.

The news is a reminder and the same as the one published in late April this year.

Announcement by Accademia Musicale Chigiana website (Italian; English is also available)
About the Prize (Accademia's website: English & Italian pages available)

Local press:
Siena news as of July 6, 2010.
Siena free, July 5
eccolatoscana, July 5
Comune di Ciena, July 5
Rigione Toscana, July 5

(excerpt of the paragraph about Blechacz)
Tuesday, July 13, in Sala del Mappamondo of Palazzo Pubblico (the Room of Globe Map of the Pubblico Palace: City Hall of Siena, Italy) the pianist Rafał Blechacz will receive this year's il Premio Internazionale “Accademia Musicale Chigiana” (International Prize of “Chigiana Musical Academy") now in its 27th edition and held since 2009 under the auspices of the car manufacturer Mercedes Benz. The award was created in line with the cultural commitment by the founder, Count Guido Chigi Saracini, thanks to the patronage of Dr. Rolf Becker, a friend of Academia Chigiana in Siena and commendably, Mercedes Benz has continued in that engagement to support young but already established concert performers of piano and violin, chosen by the international jury composed of music critics and the artistic director of the Academia Chigiana.

Blechacz, Polish, born 1985, was unanimously awarded the first prize at the 15th Frederic Chopin Competition in Warsaw, with three special prizes: prize by the Polish Radio for the best performance of mazurkas, prize by the Polish Chopin Society for best execution of the Polonaise and Warsaw Philharmonic Award for the best interpretation of the concerto. In 2006 he signed an exclusive contract for five years with Deutsche Grammophon for three discographic productions. The first CD with Chopin's Preludes, made in 2007, received the recognition of "platinum".

Palazzo Pubblico

 Blechacz will give a recital on the same day, as a part of Settimana Musicale Senese: Music Week in Siena
(from Accademia Musicale Chigiana website)

J.S. Bach Italian Concerto in F maj. BWV 971
Debussy Estampes
Szymanowski Prelude and Fuga in C-sharp min.
Chopin Polonaise in C-sharp min. op. 26 no. 1 / Four Mazurkas op. 41 / Ballade in G min. op. 23 no. 1

Ticket site

program site

Laureates of Accademia Musicale Chigiana International Prize so far are as follows:

The violinists
Gidon Kremer (1982), Shlomo Mintz (1984), Anne-Sophie Mutter (1986), Viktoria Mullova (1988), Frank Peter Zimmermann (1990), Gil Shaham (1992), Maxim Vengerov (1995), Julian Rachlin (2000), Hilary Hahn (2002) Sarah Chang (2005), Lisa Batiashvili(2009)

The pianists
Peter Serkin (1983), Krystian Zimerman (1985), Andras Schiff (1987), Andrej Gavrilov (1989), Evgeny Kissin (1991), Andrea Lucchesini (1994), Lilya Zilberstein (1998), Leif Ove Andsnes (2001), Arcadi Volodos (2003), Paul Lewis (2006),

The orchestral conductor
Esa-Pekka Salonen (1993), the Hagen Quartet (1996) and the Artemis Quartet (2004),

The violist Tabea Zimmermann (1997)
The violoncellist Matt Haimowitz (1999).

(The Jury)
Enrico Girardi (Il Corriere della Sera, Milan), Andrew Clements (The Guardian, London), Peter Hagmann (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich), Julia Spinola (Frankfurter allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurt), and Artistic Director of Accademia Chigiana.

Jul 4, 2010

Webradio broadcast of Rafał Blechacz's performances at Bad Kissingen and Schwetzingen

BR-KLASSIK will broadcast the concert at Festspielzeit: Kissinger Sommer on June 27.

Date/Time: 18:05 - 19:30, July 6 (CET)

Listen to BR-KLASSIK  
Program page of BR-KLASSIK

Review on Blechacz's performance by Main Post

Beethoven: "Leonore" Overture No. 1
Chopin: Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor, op. 21
Beethoven: Symphony No.7 in A major

Wiener Symphoniker
Conductor: Philippe Auguin
Soloist: Rafał Blechacz (piano)

**The planned broadcast is subject to a sudden change/cancellation without prior notice.

(Many thanks to Konstancja for the news.)

I listened to Beethoven's No.7 by Wiener Symphoniker at Tokyo Suntory Hall in Late May, so I can say the orchestra is great as far as Beethoven is concerned.  How is their accompaniment to Chopin's concerto?  Please have a try.



Korean public broadcaster KBS provides "listening again service" of programs that were aired before.
Rafał Blechacz's recital at Schwetzingen festival on May 14 was broadcast in late June and now is included in this service.

KBS Listening again service website
To listen to his recital, please click on headset icon at 22:00 FM 실황음악 (FM live music).

A listener must be registered as KBS member to listen to the program.
KBS registration website.

(The news was provided by Yewon, a fan of Rafał Blechacz in Korea.
Let me thank Yewon for the precious news.)

I've not yet listened to the recital through this KBS program, but if you are interested in, please give it a try.


Jul 3, 2010

Messages from readers of this website, about the website, about Rafał Blechacz

I received several e-mails to congratulate the new website.

 “This website is more than interesting very very superb!!!”(Poland-a)

“Many of my friends started listening Rafal's music after that I had started interested in his music.  I showed your blog to my friends and they like it very much. 
I and my friends consider that what you do is great.
Thanks to your blog. People around the world can read information about Rafał's music   Thank you for that”. (Poland-b)

“I offer you my enormous congratulations for the perfect new website for and about Rafał Blechacz.  It is very professional and good looking and with an art and sophisticated atmosphere. It will surely promote the career of Rafał” (Holland)

“The color is natural with quality taste. It’s neat and contents are well organized, easy to navigate and read.  It gives a gentle atmosphere.” (U.S.-a)

I want to thank them for these nice words.
I'm more than happy to know that someone shares this website in order to share the beauty of Rafał Blechacz's piano.
Reading them prompted me to remember some phrases written by other fans via e-mails that impressed me for the past several months;

“All Poles love Rafał and I have his two CDs.  Just like You I love him so much and was wondering why he attracts me so much.  Now I understand why thanks mostly to you. It was his soul and character. His devotion to God, humility, thoughtfulness, modesty, his love for Chopin and Poland, his eagerness to bring the best of music to the audience. These days we see many musicians who are a bit arrogant and showy. Rafał is outstanding by his noble and pure character. I just hope he will keep this humility and grow every day more and more.  He is truly a gift from God.  
As I read more and more your website, I cannot help thinking Rafał was predestined to bring Chopin to the world, Chopin with true character.  The environment he grew up was perfect for him. Pious churches equipped with beautiful pipe organs, faithful, genuine, modest, thoughtful and intelligent Polish people, inspirational Polish nature, loving family, loving teachers and our beloved John Paul II”. (Korea)

“RB's playing is all in the subtleties and full of nobility and clarity and beautiful balance of form and expression.  I hope someday he will be able to record Bach on the organ.  That would be such a treat. (U.S.-b)

“I really love your blog, Preludia; it's just like a cozy, lovely home for us who care about our gifted musician…I really want to make friends with you people who love Rafał and his music. Since I play the piano myself, I heartily worship what he brings to the instrument and whole music world. I am also grateful for your consistent effort to promote our artist.” (China)

I put these e-mails here without getting prior permission from the senders.  I hope it doesn’t offend them.  I wanted to share such beautiful words about Rafał Blechacz with other fans who visit this website looking for something about the fascinating musician.
Thank you all for the e-mail.  It is very rewarding.
Please leave your comment anytime if you'd like to do.

Jul 1, 2010

Chopin Year Celebration website celebrates Rafał Blechacz's birthday

Chopin Year Celebration website celebrates Rafał Blechacz's 25th birthday.

Chopin Year Celebration's website

The news was found by Dana, Polish fan of Blechacz.
Thank you Dana for your usual contribution.

Polish Radio External Service also posted birthday celebration for Blechacz.
It's written in German.

Chopin virtuoso is 25, 06/30/2010
Ausnahmepianist Rafal Blechacz wird heute 25. The exceptional pianist Rafał Blechacz is now 25. Der Sieger des Chopinwettbewerbs 2005 hat mit dem Klavierspielen im Alter von 5 Jahren begonnen. The winner of the Chopin Competition in 2005 began playing piano at the age of 5. Er ist Sieger zahlreicher internationaler Wettbewerbe, unter anderem erhielt er den ersten Preis beim Klavierwettbewerb in Marokko 2004. He has won many international competitions, among other things, he was awarded first prize in piano competition in Morocco in 2004. Der Sieg beim Chopin-Wettbewerb 2005 hat Blechacz Tür und Tor zu den größten internationalen Konzertsälen geöffnet. The victory at the Chopin Competition 2005 has opened the door for Blechacz to major international concert halls. Der Schlüssel zum Erfolg liege darin, sich aus allen Kräften in Chopins Gefühlswelt einzufühlen, verrät Blechacz: "Ich lese die Noten und die Notizen Chopins dazu immer ganz genau und versuche so zu spielen, wie er es sich wünschen würde." The key to success lies in the fact that he empathizes Chopin's emotional world.
Blechacz says: "I like the notes and read the notes of Chopin more closely and thus try to play as he would wish for."
2005 ist die Platte "Piano Recital" von Rafal Blechacz erschienen. In 2005, the album "Piano Recital" was released. Ein Jahr später hat der Künstler einen 5-Jahres-Vertrag mit der Produktionsfirma Deutsche Grammophon unterzeichnet. A year later, the artist signed a five-year contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Zur Zeit konzertiert Blechacz sowohl in Polen, wie auch im Ausland, ua in Deutschland und Japan. Currently Blechacz gives concerts both in Poland and abroad, including Germany and Japan.