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Sep 23, 2010

Newsletter of Osaka The Symphony Hall (preview)

From Sinfonia, Osaka The Symphony Hall newsletter, continuing from the blog posting on Sept.6


Rafał  Blechacz- - Beautiful, calming and tranquil pianism that reminds you of the period when Chopin lived
(abridged)
By Yoshiko Ikuma (music journalist)

I sometimes wonder why Rafał  Blechacz’s music makes me feel being purified each time I listen to.
Every time—in 2005 Chopin competition when I had my heart pounding fast sitting on the edge of my seat; in the following year at his debut concert in Japan when the fresh sensitivity of his playing let tears gushing from my eyes; in his tours here thereafter when I witnessed him playing for us interpretations of master; in 2008 when I saw him full of confidence at his debut recital at Salzburg; always the sublime of his piano permeates into the depth of my heart, impressing me deeply, causing to shed tears of emotions.

After sweeping all the awards in 2005 Chopin Competition, he has held recitals in prestigious places in Europe and North America, collaborating with distinguished conductors for playing concertos.  Recently he achieved great success in Amsterdam, London, Paris and other capitals of music.  His impressive performance in NY prompted the organizer to invite him there again.

The beautiful and calming renditions derive from his natural posture without straining anywhere in the body.  The ability to relax helps generate the sensitive, tranquil and deep tones.  The noble song is thus created.  He spends huge amount of time and makes tremendous efforts in creating music of high level of perfection with all attention focused on.  While playing music perfectly, the beauty is that it is never stiff, projecting a feeling of refreshing wind.  It’s because he really enjoys the music.  Therefore listeners are absorbed and intoxicated.

Blechacz is never interested in honor, money or power.  He takes delight in being with music.  How to play better, how to perform in a way to let people deeply moved, how to get closer to the heart and mind of the composers; this is all he always thinks about.

“Therefore, I need to learn it thoroughly.  I keep the limit of 40 concerts per year to set aside the time to practice intently.
I would like to raise the quality of my performance.  In order to let listeners to fully enjoy my interpretations, I must be completely integrated with each piece.  I never bring a work onto the stage if I have a small doubt about playing it.  It could be dishonest to the great composer if I prematurely bring it out. A pianist is believed to live a lonely life, always devotes himself to practicing in solitude.  But for me it is enjoyable to go through this process of being squarely with a composition to upgrade my playing it to the satisfying level.  It’s a genuine delight that you can’t get with anything else. Only the pianist has the privilege of the joy.”

Blechacz is stubborn in its best meaning.  He acknowledges it and considers important his way of life and sense of value. How much attention he receives or how busy he becomes, he has been consistent in the attitude toward life. He makes it his motto not to change his playing; the true nature remains the same although the quality continues to advance. I believe that this is the unshakable personality of Rafał Blechacz.  I’ve been watching him for the past five years and know that although he has been deepening/advancing his interpretations, the underlying style of rendition, interpretation and expression have not been shaken.  It’s clearly demonstrated in Chopin.

“I would like to revive the music of the time when Chopin lived.  Today time passes by very quickly and people feel stressed.  In Chopin’s period, carriages were coming and going and people lived in unhurried mood.  Of course there were difficulties such as war that had to be overcome and Chopin was under much tension.  It is an aspect that you should not forget.  Chopin’s music encompasses all the atmosphere in those days, which I want to express.”




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