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Nov 20, 2010

Review of Rafał Blechacz's Chopin concerto with NDR orchestra, Hamburg (2)

Japanese

Another review of Blechacz's playing Chopin Concerto with NDR orchestra in Hamburg on Nov. 18,
posted on welt.de on Nov.20.

Original review (German)
by Helmut Peters
(© Felix Broede)


From Penderecki to Chopin, Stravinsky's Firebird

Poland's musical modern time is dominated by relatively a few big names. One of its important representatives, Henryk Mikolaj Górecki, died only few days ago on November 12 at the age of 77 years. In 2013, the music world will remember the 100th birthday of Witold Lutosławski, and in the same year, Krzysztof Penderecki will commit his 80th birthday.

In 1960, Penderecki, with his work of tragedy "Threnody (to the Victims of Hiroshima )", created a true classic of the modern time for 52 string instruments, which the NDR Symphony Orchestra played in the Laeiszhalle on Thursday at beginning of a concert with a focus on Poland.  Two young and promising talents from Poland, the conductor Krzysztof Urbański and the pianist Rafał Blechacz, were invited and surprised with just as idiosyncratic and intelligent artistic styles.

The caustically sharp Cluster of "Threnos", Penderecki dedicated to the victims of Hiroshima, under Urbańsk’s management worked like electric shock. Half a century ago, the use of such tone clusters and turning on new techniques such as tapping sounds on the instrument body or the hard strike was close to the revolutionary bridge.  However, also traditional models are found in the formal construction of the three part piece. Perhaps Penderecki transferred polyphony of Bach into musical cancer of modernity, a kind of reflection of the course according to a symmetry axis from back to front.   Urbańsk meticulously kept an eye on this occasion on the dynamic gradations and let the seemingly infinite sound surface fade away quietly in the area to the end.

Similarly, careful and sensitive as the young conductor, just nominated as chief conductor of the Trondheim Symfoniorkesters, also 25-year old pianist Rafał Blechacz proved so with e-Moll concerto by Frédéric Chopin.
As Robert Schumann orchestrated, Chopin was not always skillful, but this is what spurred the NDR Symphony Orchestra and Blechacz more and more, in the dialogue with solo woodwind players time and again to find the exposed horn and piano, intimate colors.
Finely sounded the start of the Romance and the transient pause of horn that always marked phrase transitions, before Blechacz leads in the beautiful cantabile melodic line itself.
The virtuoso arabesques used by Blechacz was hardly bold for self-representation, but worked out the details.

Finally Urbańsk succeeded with Igor Stravinsky's third "Firebird" suite.
Where Stravinsky smashes the components of its melodic figures and distributes his anything but sparingly occupied orchestra on the register, Urbańsk always kept an eye on the river and gave the engine of the magician’s passages with powerful thrusts.

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