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Oct 16, 2010

His piano is a prayer - -Rafałl Blechacz inteviewed by the Asahi Shinbun

Japanese

Rafałl Blechacz gave an interview to the Asahi Shinbun, the 2nd largest daily newspaper in Japan (circulation is about 8 million). The interview appeared on Osaka edition of the paper on Oct.8.

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Interviewer: Mr. Manabu Hoshino
Photographer: Ms. Nanako Ito

Rafałl Blechacz, the victor of the previous Chopin Competition, gave the first concert here on Oct.3, when the latest edition of the Competition, the very important event that takes place only once in five years, got started in his country.  His playing is supple and delicate, characterized by the distinctive nuances and variations of timbres.  It is as if praying rather than playing.
“I would like to express what Chopin left in his compositions with my highest esteem for him”.
He will give another recital at The Symphony Hall in Osaka on Oct.17, the memorial day of Chopin.

His piano is a prayer
Rafał Blechacz now in Japan

“The Competition opened many doors for me.  I cannot believe that five years have already passed,” reflects Blechacz on his winning the 2005 Chopin competition…
The first leg of his tour for all Chopin program was in Osaka on Oct. 3.  His performance is very far from a bluff or exaggerated intonation.  He polishes each sound conscientiously putting life into lingering tones and pauses.  His intimate, gently expressing sound is thus created.

“I want to be always natural.  I want to be loyal to Chopin’s intentions”, says the 25 years old of slender build and calm disposition.
“When reading his letters, I can understand that Chopin brought out the best in delicate, elegant timbres.  He liked playing in salons and therefore, his music embraces  elements of chamber music”.

“Faith is the most important for me”. The pious catholic comes to church finding out time out of the busy schedule between concerts during the Japan tour..
“If my playing is heard as a prayer, it’s partly because of my faith.  Another element that shouldn’t be forgot is the respect I have for greatness.  The great existence of Chopin, his compositions and music per se”.

He loves driving and often listens to the music while driving car.  He doesn’t hesitate driving his favorite Toyota to go to France to give a recital, all the way from his home in the country in Poland.

It will be for the first time for him to play a recital on the memorial day of Chopin.
“I feel deeply honored to be able to play Chopin on the special day in a country whose people love Chopin music.”

The recital will be at 3:00 on Oct. 17.  Beginning with Ballad No.1, followed by Waltzes, Polonaises and Mazurkas and concluding by Ballad No.2.

(I got this article from my friend at Blechacz's recital in Kawaguchi, who obtained it from her friend in Osaka. With appreciation to them!)

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On October 15,Rafałl Blechacz gave a recital at Lilia Hall in Kawaguchi, part of Tokyo Metropolitan area. To respond to unending applause, he gave three encores.


He played wonderfully.  Sometimes, however, squeaky noise produced by the stool of pianist sounded unnerving for me. It didn't undermine the quality of his performance and I fully enjoyed it.  The pianist, as always, remained composed,  concentrated, energized for some pieces.  But the administrator of the theater must know how to maintain the stool and fix it if it's squealing when the world renowned pianist is seated!!

It reminded me of a fragment of the interview that Blechacz gave in Warsaw in Feb. this year. (Interview with Anna Skulska, Feb. 21, 2010,  You can hear Blechacz’s voice from this site.)

(quote)
"In the prestigious halls such as Tonhalle, Concertgebouw, Herkulessaal you can choose from two or three pianos. They are usually Steinways. You can encounter different kinds of quality, mechanism. I understand a pianist who goes around with his piano tuner or instrument. In the prestigious halls the level of pianos is very high and piano turners too.

In smaller halls it is not so favorable. For example small theaters in Italy have only one piano. The piano turner can make it very well or you can order another instrument from a bigger town nearby. But…sometimes it could be very good when you should play with an inferior piano, then you can appreciate it better and fly like a bird when you play it better. Sometimes playing on the lighter or heavier mechanism hardens and strengthens you. Artist must be up to a task in every situation."
(unquote)


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