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Nov 27, 2010

Interview Rafał Blechacz gave in Tokyo, Oct. 2010

Rafał Blechacz gave an interview to Takaakira Aosawa on October 7 in Tokyo.  It was published by Ongaku-no-tomo December 2010 edition as a special interview.

"I would like to strike a balance between my daily life and concert activities and keep the situation in which I can always find a joy of performing before the public".


Feb. 2009
Looking back the Chopin recital:
“Let’s celebrate the joy of enjoying Chopin’s music in the 2010 Chopin Year”, said Rafał Blechacz at the end of our reunion.  As Chopin’s Memorial Day approaching, on October 6, he held a commemorative concert, offering Polonaise op.26, Mazurka op.41, Ballad No.1 in recital format first, followed by the Concerto in F minor with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra under Naoto Otomo in the second half.

“I wanted to have a concert in relation to Chopin’s Concertos that I recorded last year.  As for the solo recital, I wanted to offer Polish taste by playing Polonaises and Mazurkas”, said Blechacz the following day of the concert.  He ordered sparkling water without ice, which I thought is indeed like his interpretation.  The transparent sound naturally arouses interest, never becoming chilling.

Last night, he played with a thoughtful and refined style.  While maintaining construction in detail, he let us see the noble and virtuous character.  He describes the shape in an effective and delicate manner with appropriate control.  His piano let me imagine that it is communicating with Chopin’s performance.

“When I read letters of Chopin and his disciples, it’s written that Chopin’s performance was very sophisticated, delicate and filled with emotion. It certainly contains sublime and noble things.  There is 200 years’ insurmountable distance between Chopin and myself, but if there is something common, it is about sensitivity of how to extract feelings and emotions delicately.  In Chopin’s music, even in a place where forte is required, it shouldn’t be rough, banging strongly but it should be the sound that is affluent, extending well.  It always contains the emotion that is somehow satisfied.”

“Last night the orchestra and conductor performed very good pianissimo.  So I was able to keep my own dynamics without increasing the volume range and be focused on creating nuances,” the pianist extended appreciation.  Talking of Chopin’s concerto, I can recall the Concerto in E minor that Blechacz performed with the Russian National Orchestra with quite a different atmosphere under Mikhail Pletnev during 2007 Japan tour.

“Yes, the Pletnev version had the orchestra part modified significantly.  Although the solo piano part was not changed so much, still it was unprecedented and a surprise for me.  I’m the one who was awarded as the winner of the Chopin Competition and I usually try to keep style of music that Chopin intended”, smiled Blechacz.

Five years have passed since the Competition
How does the 25 years old reflect on the past five years since winning the Chopin Competition?
“Time flied for the past five years.  But now I can look back calmly.  Every year I was busy with things like concerts, recordings and interviews (smiling).  Of importance was that I had a lot of experiences of performing on stage and thus able to grow accordingly.  This is my fourth tour in Japan.  It’s grateful that I’m given opportunities to play in prestigious concert halls and festivals”.

It was a great source of joy for him to be able to join the Chopin Competition.  He always had a portrait of Chopin drawn by Delacroix on the wall above his piano at home since he was a small child, Blechacz smiled.

“Before the Chopin Competition, I had entered several piano competitions such as Hamamtsu.  It helped me understand how to manage myself. The best way is to practice the entire repertoire until the final stage thoroughly. Therefore, I was able to concentrate on my performance.  I didn’t hear other contestants or media reports. Always focused on myself and when I went onto the stage, I saw many people from different countries seated in the hall and it was a typical, excellent atmosphere of a concert rather than the competition.”

He has long years to go from now on.  How does he want to perform music?

“What is most important in my life is to continue concert performances, continue recordings with thought-out repertoire.  I would like to always find out joy in playing before the public, sharing the beauty of music with them.  I want to keep a good balance between daily life and concert performances,  not to give too much weight to either side only.  I would like to maintain the situation in which I can feel happiness in playing on the stage before the public.”
(End of the interview)

Takaakira Aosawa interviewed Rafał Blechacz a couple of times.  You can read these interviews on this blog.

Why do you play music? (2006)
Being natural is the key (2009)
Review on Beethoven Concerto No.4 (2009)

Aosawa was born in 1970.  Grown up in Kamakura.  Graduated from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (English Dept.).  Began writing about music when he was secondary school student.
(I love his beautiful writing; but I must say that it's impossible to translate nuances of his Japanese into foreign language. I studied at the same university, Spanish Dept.)


This interview and the review by Tadao Aosawa, are prioritized (with many photos, full-color, four pages) in the December issue, appearing in earlier pages just after the report of 16th Chopin Competition (four pages).


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