Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Aug 8, 2010

"My adventure with music by Chopin began when I was 11 years old", says Blechacz.


This is an article that Anna Skulska (Polish Radio) wrote down based on an interview that Rafał Blechacz gave to her on Feb. 21.  The article was posted on on July 27.
Karolina (Poland) found the article and sent it to me with her translation.
Let me thank her for the great contribution to readers of Preludia.

Original article from, July 27 (Polish)
Outline of the interview that Blechacz gave on Feb. 21 (Audio interview available)

Pride in this music. 
My adventure with music by Frederic Chopin began when I was 11 years old.

During the Bach Competition in Gorzów I had to play a piece by Chopin, and I performed  Nocturne in B major, Op. 32 No.1.  I was fascinated by beautiful melodic lines and interesting modulations. I was still very small, not reaching for the pedals, so I played standing up ...

Later I expanded the repertoire of romantic stream, because next competitions, already international ones came. For example, in Hamamatsu in 2003, I played Scherzo in B minor, Op. 20, selected nocturnes, mazurkas - Chopin's music grew ever closer. Slowly, the idea of the Chopin Competition was appearing. In those youthful years, Chopin was for me the unique creator. When I played his works, I felt pride. Because something like "pride" is in this music, and it was conveyed to me especially! Certainly I favored this feeling that Chopin is "our" composer.

I vividly remember Chopin Competitions in 1995 and 2000, It was a feast in my house. I watched all the performances and gave my own grades to the contestants. I dreamed of participating in the contest, which mobilized me to work. I did not think that these dreams of children and youth would come true so quickly, and the result would be so wonderful ...

Why is Chopin's music so great? Why it influences future generations? The answer is probably simple. It's music full of emotions, it is joy and sadness, but also peace and drama. Besides Chopin allows us performers to communicate our emotions, every time different.

Thanks to this, interpretations become deep and true. Obviously my interpretation of composition of Chopin is changing. This is affected by experiences, which I gained performing  with many orchestras, under the baton of different conductors, and each of them has his own vision of piano concertos. It was different when I played with Valery Gergiev, and when I prepared concerto under the baton of Mikhail Pletnev, who developed his own instrumentation. It is true that my part was not greatly changed, but more complete, more Russian sound of orchestra was made and to me the concerto appeared with a different aura.

When, in turn, performing under the button of Antoni Wit, it seems to me that emotions of the competition return and my Chopin is full of youthful energy. It was interesting to record both concertos with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, conducted by Jerzy Semkow. This charismatic master has something majestic and this transmigrates into the music, at least in the introductions in early parts of the concertos. The maestro treated it more symphonic than other conductors, but this is consistent with the style of Chopin. And against this background the rondos sounded very distinctly and effectively. With Jerzy Semkow, the sounds that I always dreamed of were obtained.

Each of the works of Frederic Chopin was a challenge for me. We can say that this composer's works are mysterious, containing a lot of contexts of different moods. They are after all reflections of experience of the artist. The idea of interpretation is to create these experiences in interpretations, and then transmit them to the public.

Working on Polonaise Fantasie in A flat major, Op. 61 proved to be a unique experience.  I would call this piece "Chopin's testament" ; everything is included in it; elements of the polonaise, reflections, fragments of improvisation, the whole range of different emotions, from sorrow, total despair to the great victory. I always wonder what Chopin could feel, what he thought when he created this work. The form of this composition is difficult to comprehend, because at first sight and hearing, it seems that it is impossible to link various elements together. But this is only an illusion; exploring it in detail allowed me to understand that one element causes the second outcome, and the big challenge is to demonstrate that construction. In addition, the finale of the Polonaise is amazing and every time I play this composition, I feel a great emotion.

Final of Polonaise Fantasie -ultimate fufillment

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