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Nov 25, 2010

Reviews of Rafał Blechacz's concert @Tokyo Suntory Hall, Tokyo Opera City Hall (2)

"Special report of piano masters--Zimerman, Blechacz, Pollini and Rösel, those popular pianists conquered Japan in autumn" by Minoru Okamoto,
From Ongaku-no-tomo (friend of music), December 2010

(This article covers four pianists who held concerts in October in Japan.  The subtitles are: Krystian Zimerman collaborating with Hagen Quartett, Rafał Blechacz honestly shows  his charm at present, Maurizio Pollini extracts beautiful essence, and Peter Rösel brings out stable texture)

Rafał Blechacz honestly shows his charm at present
Rafał Blechacz, the winner of the 2005 Chopin Competition held nine concerts with all Chopin program in commemoration of the bicentennial year of Chopin’s birth, including two special concerts with the F minor Piano concerto as main theme.

On October 6, one of the special concerts was held at Tokyo Suntory Hall.  Supported right by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra under Naoto Otomo, he extracted the charm of Chopin music as it truly is when playing the F minor Concerto. The sincere interpretation reflecting fresh sensitivity of the young composer inspires deeply in my heart.  A master’s large scale performance would be attractive.  But the interpretation by the impressionable 25 years old is compelling from a different perspective.

Tameike-sanno, the nearest Metro station
to Tokyo Suntory Hall, Oct.6

The recital on October 19 began with Ballad No.1.  The proper, orthodox interpretation is refreshing, eliminating all superfluities.  As for the three Waltzes op.34, lyrical beauty is striking.  He retained noble and elegant atmosphere even when developing the world of the storm and stress by Scherzo No.1.

The second half of the recital was composed of two Polonaises op.26, four Mazurkas op.41 and Ballad No.2. As he shows ethnic element in a moderate manner, Blechacz’s play becomes increasingly intense.  The slightly melancholic touch fits well with these works.  The evening became an opportunity for Blechacz to show his charm at present.

Minoru Okamoto
Music critic.  Fluent in foreign languages.  Known for his critical reviewing.  Writes for Ongaku-no-tomo and Nikkei (economic daily).

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Another review of the recital at Tokyo Opera City Hall, written by Ms. Kyoto Michishita for Ongaku-no-tomo

Recital given by Rafał Blechacz, the winner of the Chopin Competition five year ago who was born in 1985.
Program: Ballad No.1, three Waltzes op.34, Scherzo No.1 (intermission) two Polonaises op.26, four Mazurkas op.41 and Ballad No.2.


©K.Sakayori
He doesn’t claim loudly.  The exquisite sound rendered by his hands quietly permeates into listeners’ hearts.  The profound contemplation he puts in details add subtle nuances to each sound.  He excludes excessive rubatos, restrains himself from indulging in sentimentality, always keeping stoic attitude.  The beauty of his pianissimos is supreme.

When he played the Neapolitan chords at the beginning of Ballad No.1, a fog enveloped the sound, impressing the onset of a story.  The whispering Sotto Voce and the contrasting elastic dynamics that is emerging from the depth in the A major, the way to associate motives to each other; all demonstrate his excellent ability to meticulously construct music.

The way he plays grace notes and dotted notes in Waltz is sublime.
In playing Polonaises and Mazurkas, the naïve rhythm is very compelling.
In Ballad No.2, Blechacz’s feelings and emotions were politely represented.

The sophisticated expression of rhythms, fragrance of poet in him.  It was a very refreshing interpretation of Chopin.

Kyoko Michishita
Born in 1969.  Graduated from Toho Gakuen School of Music (musicology). Music writer. Researcher at graduate school of Saitama University (modern music history in Japan and post-modern aesthetics).

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