Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Jul 29, 2010

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


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