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Nov 6, 2010

Rafał Blechacz, Steinway artist- - interview in Japan

Mostly Classic, a music monthly in Japan, provides a special feature of Steinway on its December 2010 issue.  Rafał Blechacz was interviewed as one of the Steinway artists.  The interview was given during his stay in Japan in October.

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-Krystian Zimerman came to your concert in Suntory Hall a few days ago.
Yes, and he visited me at the backstage.  In the previous week, I went to his concert at the same venue, Suntory Hall.  We exchanged a surprise (smiling).
Like any other young pianists in my country, I've felt great respect for Krystian Zimerman since my childhood.  The great existence that all Poles are proud of but actually he is humorous and warmhearted.  Since I met him for the first time six months before the Chopin Competition, he has always extended kindness to me.

-You both are Pole; winner of Chopin Competition; have exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon.  You have a lot in common with Zimerman.  Also you both are the Steinway artist.
Yes.  It is not that a Steinway artist must play only with Steinway but there are some conditions; e.g. the artist should use Steinway daily and bring out its merits.  I have my Steinway at home. I bought it four years ago.  I played with Steinway for the Chopin Competition.

-What attracts you most?
Potential of sound.  Steinway renders various kinds of sounds.  For example, when playing fortissimo at climax, it creates sound that is not only high in volume but is comprehensive in tonal density.  It sings in a sonorous voice with dignity.  Therefore, you don’t feel it loud. On the other hand, in playing piano and pianissimo, it offers a pallet of diversified sounds.  It is a feature of Steinway that when I want to create a specific sound, it is realized.

-Does every school has Steinway in Poland?
A school has one or two instruments only.  Conditions vary.  In some cases, it is not tuned appropriately.  A good concert hall like Philharmonic has Steinways tuned in a good condition.

-How was it when you played Steinway for the first time?
It was when I was nine, giving a concert for the first time in Warsaw.  It was my first encounter with Steinway.  I felt as if touching directly sounds.  It was not that I was performing with keys but my fingertips were capturing each sound straight.  It was unprecedented experience and I was very happy.

- Does Steinway contribute to the beautiful sound that you render?
I think so.  I’m very interested in various sounds.  If I want to express various feelings and emotions, I often do so by using different sounds.  It’s important for me to try to find out the best sound in each context even during daily practice.  Steinway offers infinite opportunities to reach an ideal sound.  It is very effective to study in creating sounds.

-What are you going to play now with the sound you find?
Chopin, of course, and music by classical composers are important for me.  And impressionist music, some of which will be on my next CD.
(End of the interview)


Read Blechacz's interview with Steinway in Austria (1) and (2)


**My excuse:  Some Japanese words have a wide range of meanings and when I read an article translated from Polish or English into Japanese, sometimes it makes me mad because I can't figure out what was the exact word that Blechacz used.  A typical example is "Neiro" that is often used in this article.  It could be texture, timbre, tone color, sound, sonic palette, etc..


But it could be that he just said "sound".  I found that in his interview in Brussels in April, he talked about importance of right tuning and said that "playing the instrument of older era helps him imagine the sound ("son" in French) sought by Chopin".


Therefore, I decided to use "sound" in italic for "Neiro", for this article and other articles translated back from Japanese on this blog.  "

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