Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz

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May 30, 2010

Rafał Blechacz received double platinum disc for CD Chopin Concertos (Poland)

Article from Poznan naszmiasto about Rafał Blechacz’s playing Chopin concerto nr.2 in F minor on May 22, written by Andrzej Chylewski.
On that occasion, Blechacz received the double platinum disc for his recording of Chopin’s two concertos.

Original article of Poznan (Polish)







(Excerpt from the article)
Blechacz found his own idea for mazurkas
Fortunately, from time to time we get exceptional people among us, few people, who have a specific idea and able to achieve it with a degree of genius. The ascertainment fits perfectly with what was presented by 25-year-old pianist Rafał Blechacz at the symphony concert on Saturday at the Auditorium of Adam Mickiewicz University.

The respectable contest judges have long expressed about his talent, including most of the world renowned music critics and music lovers love the filigree pianist, seeing in him next incarnation of the great Frycek.

Leaving aside these sympathies, I must stress that Blechacz’s approach to the interpretation of mazurkas (including three for encores he played after the concerto: A minor, op. 17 No 4, A flat major, op. 50 No 2, C sharp minor, op. 50 No. 3, and a piece popular recently in Poznan, counted as one of the Nocturnes, in C sharp minor Lento con gran espressione), due to his deep musicality, sensitivity, naturalness, and yet philosophical look, was a performance creating a proper climate and fascinating differentiation of the extreme and central parts.

Presented in the evening program, Piano Concerto in F minor, Op. 21 by Frederic Chopin also impressed with naturalness unique to Rafał Blechacz, simplicity of interpretation even in the best sense of the word. Without apparent busy "inspiration", without weirdness, without so fashionable, "assault" but with a very good accompaniment by Poznan Philharmonic, led by very careful Wojciech Rodek. The concert sounded cheerful, sunny, youthful.
(End of the excerpt)



Blechacz Japan tour 2010 leaflet (English) provided by Japan Arts

If you want to buy a ticket from outside of Japan, please e-mail JapanArts:
ticket@japanarts.co.jp

May 27, 2010

Change of concert in Kraków on May 28

(Japanese)


Report by RMF classic as of May 25 about the concert at Philharmonic Hall Karol Szymanowski, Kraków on May 28.

"Due to illness Rafał Blechacz’s performance was canceled. The soloist during the concert on May 28, 2010 will be Ingolf Wunder. Tickets are valid for a recital by Rafał Blechacz, whose term will be announced shortly".


dziennik.krakow.pl reports that Blechacz will give a solo recital in Kraków in June. No specific date has been decided. The ticket for May 28 is valid for the recital.




We sincerely wish Rafał a quick and complete recovery!


Gazeta.pl Krakow on May 31, review of Wunder's performance (Polish) Wunder showed a great performance.

May 24, 2010

Rafał Blechacz playing in Poznań

Pictures of Rafał Blechacz playing & receiving awards in Poznań on May 22
from Radiomerkury.pl (←See beautiful pictures!!)(←Hear Blechacz's interview!!!)






"The concert was great. It was amazing and unforgettable experience.
I will never forget that. I still hear sound of music. I can quote adjectives but it is not enough.
Words can't describe my emotions.
During encores when he finished a piece for couple seconds everybody was quiet and moved.
That moment was amazing.

After the concert Rafał gave autographs !!!!
I have his autograph and photo with Rafał .
It was amazing feeling to talk with him for a while. Rafał is magnificent !!!"
"


***A comment from Karolina, a fan of Rafał, attending the concert in Poznań.
She found this website, too. Actually, she is the one (a pretty girl) in the audience in the photo below.
Thank you and congratulations!




Blechacz interview - aesthetics: philosophy of music

(Japanese)
From , a interview with Rafał Blechacz in Poznań, posted on gloswielkopolski.pl on May 22.
It seems that the interview took place on May 21.


Original interview (Polish)




Philosophy enriches and develops me

With Rafał Blechacz, pianist, Alina Kurczewska and Marek Zaradniak talk about life, Chopin and philosophy.


--You live very intensely. You came to Poznań at night, and on Friday you had two rehearsals. On Saturday at 18:00 the concert with the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra. Is this always the case?

Not always. Just as it happened. I am forged (trained) to some extent in such situations. I play 45 concerts a year.


--Four years ago you signed a five-year contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Three previously recorded discs spread well. The year of contract ends. What’s next?

I already have extended it to the next projects. I can say that the next album will be a solo album and nothing more to say.


--As a winner of the Chopin Competition – what advice do you have for the next group of younger colleagues?

I do not feel like imposing anyone an advice. Each personality is different and everyone needs to know what is best for him to develop his own strategy, and action.


--Do you prefer chamber music to bigger concertos?

Recently, I play a lot of solo programs, and less with the orchestra. It's two different situations and cannot be compared. I love playing recitals. Then I’m really alone with the audience. In case of performing with orchestra, we play as a team and It’s also a pleasant experience. It is the orchestra first of all, and then a rehearsal is the first audience.


--Your life is not complete only by music, but also study of philosophy. At the University in Torun you write for PhD. Fascinated by Roman Ingarden and the reception theory. Why did you choose such a topic?

It was the great Polish phenomenologist and priest Antoni Siemianowski who guided me toward Roman Ingarden and the trend of phenomenology. When I started to come into these themes deeply, I realized that they enhance my personality and affect my interpretation. It's all well connected. I am focused on the issues of aesthetics, philosophy of music.
(End of the interview)


Blechacz received double plutinum disc. (Polish)
Review on Blechacz's Chopin concerto No.2 in Ludz "Blechacz as anti-Pogorelic" (Polish) (Thanks to Roman Frackowski)
English descriptions will follow (on weekends, hopefully).

May 23, 2010

Enthusiastic rage for Rafał in Poznań

Rafał Blechacz played Chopin's concerto nr2 with the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Wojciech Rodek who replaced Michael Sanderling because of his illness.
I received news about the concert from Roman Frackowski. My deep appreciation to him!


"Rafał is now on stage at the Aula of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań playing Chopin's No. 2. Before, in part 1, the orchestra played suites by Bizet and Faure. Michael Sanderling couldn't come because of illness so there is a replacement by Wojciech Rodek. Rafał had already played with him and yesterday rehearsals proved him OK for Rafał and orchestra too. Saturday for the general rehearsal at 18:15 in the same auditorium as today's concert there were 1000 people in attendance!! After today's concert there will an award ceremony."
(as of 19:30 local time)


"It was a thunder of standing ovation after Rafał and the orcherstra under Wojciech Rodek finished the Chopin's concerto No. 2 in Poznań Saturday night.
Again they couldn't stop clapping and shouting even though Rafał gave four encores! "
(after the concert)

May 22, 2010

Autographic session in Łódź (Poland)

Rafał Blechacz at autographic session in Łódź, May 20, 2010



from Łódź Gazeta.pl (see other pictures)


(Thanks to Jan for the info♪)



Interview with Andrzej Haluch, Director of Warsaw Artists Management (Polish)(audio)


(Blechacz's previous appearance in Poznań, Nov.2007)



Andrzej Haluch is talking about Rafał Blechacz's concerts in this year. This year Rafał is busy because he would like to play on the most important scenes in the Chopin's year ;
about concerts in Poland ( Łódź , Poznań , Kraków ) , rehearsals before these concertos;
that Rafał is spending his time on studies philosophy in Toruń; he is going to write (a paper for) doctorate; about his fans around the world and the website by his fan (=this site Preludia) for people to see pictures and read reviews.

(The link with the outline of the interview was offered by Karolina. Thank you for your contribution and ENJOY the concert in Poznań!)

**Beata and Dana also informed me of this interview by Andrzej Haluch afterwards. Thanks for your vigilance!

(In this interview, it looks like there is a miscommunication about who is the author of this site;)
This site Preludia is written by an individual listener working occasionally with international volunteers from Poland, US and the Netherlands, etc... This site is meant for all the music lovers who want to hear and read about this special musician. Majority of the readers have had no opportunity to attend a real performance by Rafał Blechacz, mainly from a geographical reason. But their love of his music and the depth of understanding of his music are amazingly profound, partly because they can hear the music not only via published CDs but via web broadcast of concerts. A few days ago many people were able to hear his latest recital in Germany; his clear, beautiful and purifying sound. The situation is tough for musicians (and I feel sorry for that) but today's world is democratized for music fans. What I do on this site is to contribute to this democratization. Why? Because I know that Rafał's music makes people happy. I truly believe that Rafał is the once-in-a-hundred-year talent and the gift coming down from Heaven.
I also would like to thank those who contribute to this site day by day, those enthusiasts of Rafał's music from US, Poland, the Netherlands as well as those who send me news and their stories about Rafał's music. All fully understand how valuable it is to live in the same era as this great artist

May 21, 2010

Standing ovation in Łódź - Rafał Blechacz

(Japanese)
"Tonight Rafał Blechacz played Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in Łódź Philharmony with Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra of Łódź under the baton of Christian Ehwald.
He played in the 2nd part of the concert. Just finished half an hr ago.
The house was full and additional rows of seats had to be added.

When he finished the audience roared with applause and there was no end to the standing ovation. After the first encore there was again a standing ovation and again and again after two more encores.
A big success!

On Saturday Rafał plays the same Concerto in Poznań with the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Michael Sanderling.
At the concert in Poznań Platinum Disk Award and two Fryderyk Awards will be handed over to Rafał by the President of Universal Music Poland.
Roman"


(The news received at 10:40pm, May 20 CET;
A sincere appreciation to Roman Frackowski for the wonderful news about the concerts AND the award giving!)



With Poznań Philharmonic
Received Platinum disc for CD "Preludes"
November, 2007



Preview of Poznan concert from Poznan naszemiasto (Polish)
"Since the tickets for the concert in Poznan have been sold out for months, a rehearsal will be held on the previous day or on May 21 with the public participation...His concerts always met with friendly reception by music lovers and critics who do not spare praise... They talk about the miracle pianist from Warsaw, highlight the natural elegance of the artist, his interpretations of Chopin are considered to be masterful, and some even say that Blechacz's music deserves the Nobel..."

Preview by Gazeta.pl Poznan (Polish)


May 18, 2010

Review-Rafał Blechacz recital @Concertgebouw (1)

Rafał Blechacz gave a recital at Amsterdam Concertgebouw on May 9.
It was his 2nd appearance in Meesterpianisten (Master Pianist series).

I'm pleased to report that Jan, a serious fan of Blechacz's music, found two reviews from Dutch papers and sent us them after translation.
I want to extend my sincere appreciation to him.
First is the review by NRC, the most prestigious newspaper in the Nehterlands, giving an insight into two young pianists performing for the Master Pianist series.

NRC

Eckartstein and Blechacz: young generation in Meesterpianisten.
Classic.Severin von Eckardstein, piano. May 7th Muziekcentrum Frits Philips, Eindhoven; also June 13th Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.
Rafał Blechacz, piano. May 9th Concertgebouw, Amsterdam


By Wenneke Savenije

They are opposite in many ways: the modest Severin von Eckardstein (1978) of a German noble family from Düsseldorf and the quicksilver Rafał Blechacz(1985), born in Nakło nad Noticą, a little village in Poland. Both are young, play the piano fantastically and earned important rewards in recent years. In the serie Meesterpianisten they maintain their positions in cogency amongst the honourable giants as Sokolov, Pollini and Zimermann. Von Eckardstein reminds to a romantic wanderer on “Wanderer on the misty Lake”, the famous painting of David Friedrich, where as Blechacz is more as frisky as a lamb: full of energy and potency, but not always fully in balance.

In Eindhoven Von Eckardstein showed his musical versatility in starting with the delicate performed Duportvariaties in D, KV 573 van Mozart, followed by a wave of severe pathetic in the intensely felt and balanced Etudes symphoniques op. 13 van Schumann. After the break Von Eckardstein skipped from the strange late romantics of Medtner to the perfumed symbolic of Skrjabin.
With strong accords and metaphysical ornaments he opened a cathedral of sounds with the Regard de l’ Eglise d’amour van Messiaen.

The brilliant Blechazc flew with the enthusiasm of a young dog through the polyphonic world of Bach’s Partita nr 1 in Bes and the subtle floating material of the Sonate in Bes, KV 570 of Mozart. At Debussy’s Pour le piano he wandered into the archaic world of the 17th century clavecinists and with an unprecedented velocity and musical nerve he landed via the French Romantic in the beautiful atmosphere of the sounds of Debussy. After the break Blechacz indulged in the works of Chopin. Skilfully changing from athletic virtuosity to poetic musicality.
He was a reincarnation of Chopin for a while.
  

Rafał Review-Blechacz recital @Concertgebouw (2)

(Japanese)
Rafał Blechacz gave a recital at Amsterdam Concertgebouw on May 9.
It was his 2nd appearance in Meesterpianisten (Master Pianist series).

This is the second review that Jan sent to us, the review by De Telegraaf, the largest daily newspaper based on Amsterdam.
Milliards of thanks to Jan!!


De Telegraaf

Fresh play of Polish Master on hand
Classic
Five years ago he won the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Since then Rafał Blechacz played in many important concert halls and made several CD for Deutsche Grammophon. This Sunday evening the young talent was guest in the serie Meesterpianisten for the second time.
Pianostudents, listening to Blechacz in the Grote Zaal of the Concertgebouw could be desperate. Only 24 years old and so excellent. The pianist has no technical limitations and his performance on stage is simpatico and admirable. As a good listener you are wishing some more warmth and nuance. In Mozart’s Sonata in Bes (KV 570) he hold the reins firm. In the adagio he gave more freedom provoking immediately elastic lines and a profound experience of the apparent simply to interpret melodies. In Pour le piano van Debussy the imperturbable approach of Blechacz was sometimes replaced by a range of loosely painted colours and turns. If there was Bach in the piano season in Amsterdam there was a partita. We heard already the 6th and the second partita. Blechacz performed nr. 1.
No matter which partita you choose, they are all miracles of beauty. Blechacz interpretation was joyful in a good way, manifested in swift tempo’s, only the natural silence between Bach’s notes was somewhat obstructed. The Polish pianist played freshly, with strong accents and extraordinary feeling for voicing. This jewel of piano literature needs just a little more experience of life.
The handful of works of Chopin sounded with deep-felt phrasing. The Ballade nr. 3 was somewhat untouchable, where as an attractive passion characterised the pure interpretation of the Polonaise-Fantasie in As of Blechacz.
Character, intelligence and a crystal clear touch: that is Rafał Blechacz capability.

by Frederike Berntsen



May 16, 2010

Blechacz recital in Germany webcast on May 17

Rafał Blechacz's recital for Schwetzinger SWR Festspielen (May 14) will be broadcast via German SWR2 on May 17.

@20:03-22:00, May 17 (CET)

ラファウ・ブレハッチのシュヴェツィンゲン音楽祭でのリサイタル(5月14日)が、結局、ドイツのSWR2で放送されることになりました♪
日本時間で、5月18日午前3:02-5:00。

Listen to SWR2 from here
Please select a media (mp3 or WindowsMedia) and click on "Player starten".
こちらから聴きます。
左側の3つのラジオボタンからメディアを選び、右下の"Player Starten"をクリックします。

SWR2 program for May 17
Please click on "Abend, 18-24 Uhr. öffnen" to expand the page to reach the Blechacz's program.


(Program copied from this SWR" site)

Johann Sebastian Bach: Partita Nr. 1 B-Dur BWV 825
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sonate B-Dur KV 570
Claude Debussy: Pour le piano L 95
Frédéric Chopin: Ballade Nr. 3 As-Dur op. 47
Scherzo Nr. 1 h-Moll op. 20
Mazurka As-Dur op. 50 Nr. 2
Mazurka cis-Moll op. 50 Nr. 3
Mazurka G-Dur op. 50 Nr. 1
Polonaise-Fantasie As-Dur op. 61





Sono così felice che non ho parole. 




Milan, Jan. 2010             

May 15, 2010

Heartfelt applause to the extraordinary Pianist

"Rafał played extraordinarily again! After the first half he was called three times to bow.
The recital ended with thunderous applause, stumping and shouting for encore.
Rafał played two encores".


On May 14, Rafał Blechacz played a recital for Schwetzinger SWR Festspielen with a very short notice in place of an injured master pianist.




from Hamburg recital, Oct.2009 (Courtesy to ARTE)



"W.A. Mozart played in the same theater three times".

(Appreciation to Mr. Roman Frackowski for the gratifying news.)



Rokokotheater ceiling painting by Carolus Vocke
W. A. Mozart as a child prodigy aged 14 during a visit to the Schwetzingen court




*****************************************

Rafał Blechacz will play Chopin's concerto in Poland during the rest of this month.

May 20 @ Łódź
May 22 @Poznan
May 28 @Krakow

Preview of Gazeta.pl on May 14 about Łódź:
"...It is the third time for Blechacz to play here; the first in Sept.2005 as a rehearsal for the Chopin Competition, the second in Nov. 2005 in the glory of the triumph..... "I had the impression that I was in the nineteenth century, when the much-loved concert virtuosos fluttered caps and hats, and women fainted from the experience" Magdalena Sasin reported in the review. No tickets since January, but an hour before the concert, "very limited" number of tickets will start selling....."

  

May 14, 2010

Fred Child says Blechacz is a real artist

Japanese

I listened to Rafał Blechacz's playing Pour le Piano by Debussy via Performance Today on May 10. I was so impressed that I e-mailed PT to thank Fred Child, the host of the program, for such a good selection. I also wrote that I enjoyed hearing Blechacz's interview in Washington DC with Fred Child for PT and made a request to air Blechacz's Bach 'cause it's really fabulous.

Unexpectedly, Fred Child gave me a reply mail very quickly.
Let me quote his mail.






(Quote) 
Dear Akiko
Thanks for your note, so glad you enjoyed hearing Rafal Blechacz on Performance Today.
He's a remarkable young man - a real artist and poet at the piano, and quite thoughtful and articulate about his work, as well.

I look forward to hearing his playing for many years to come.
I haven't heard his Bach yet, but...cant't wait to hear it!
All the best, 
Fred Child
Host of Performance Today
(Unquote)


After getting his e-mail, I asked Fred Child for allowing me to post the e-mail on this blog.
He returned amazingly quickly.


(Quote)
Yes, you are welcome to quote my email on your blog.
Thank you for maintaining a website devoted to such a special pianist!
Cheers,
Fred Child

(Unquote)

Impressively, the way Fred Child deals with a small listener like me is caring and respectful, in the same manner when he talks with a distinguished, celebrated artist during his program.
Thank you very much, Fred Child.




***************************
I withdrew the info. of SWR2 program of broadcasting Blechacz's recital that I posted today because it requires a confirmation among relevant parties. The broadcast needs to be authorized by the artist but currently SWR2 has not obtained the authorization.


May 13, 2010

Blechacz gives a recital in Schwetzingen Festival

On May 14, Rafał Blechacz will play a recital for Schwetzinger SWR Festspielen in place of Nelson Freire. The Brazilian pianist had to cancel his planned recital in the Festival due to the tendinitis. German media has reported that Freire will take a rest until August and the organizer was able to win Rafał Blechacz in his place.

@20:00 on May 14
venue: Rokokotheater, Schloss Schwetzingen


news from speyer-aktuell (German)
news from morgenweb.de (German)
Website of the festival-Blechacz's page (German)



Rokokotheater, Schloss Schwetzingen (←See beautiful pictures of the venue.)


For those who usually follow Blechacz's artistic performances, the news could be a reminiscence of his playing for the Verbier Festival in 2006, when Blechacz appeared instead of Lang Lang who became sick to make a sensational debut.

See a review & a short interview with Blechacz concerning the 2006 Verbier recital


May 10, 2010

Blechacz's Debussy Pour le Piano in US (audio)

Rafał Blechacz's playing Pour le Piano by Debussy @Spivey Hall, Morrow, Georgia on March 6 this year, is available via Performance Today. (Thank God!)

Performance Today on May 10, 2010.
Please go to Hour 2 Listen.
Blechacz's performance is starting at around 44:oo.

It's available for a week.



Spivey Hall, Clayton State University, Atlanta


ラファウ・ブレハッチ演奏、ドビュッシー作曲「Pour le Piano:ピアノのために」を、USのPerformance Todayから聴くことができます。一週間のみ。
今年3月6日、アトランタのクレイトン州立大学でのリサイタルより。

Thank God!!
ほんとうに、うれしい (泣)♪





"...the brilliant clarity of the concluding Toccata was thrilling..."
(Philip Kennicott: Washington Post)



Several German media report that Blechacz will play a recital @Schwetzinger SWR Festspielen on May 14.   

May 9, 2010

Welcome back, Rafał Blechacz, to Concertgebouw

"Tonight's recital by Rafał at Concergebouw was again Rafał's big success.
After both the first and second part there were thunderous clappings and loud acclamations along with the standing ovation.
Rafał was very grateful and responded with two encores".
(For the good news, with Appreciation to Mr.Roman Frackowski)


Encores: Chopin Nocturne in C sharp minor and a Mazurka (from op.17)
(Thanks to Jan for the information.)




Rafał Blechacz gave a recital at Amsterdam Concertgebouw on May 9.
It was his 2nd appearance in Meesterpianisten (Master Pianist series) and 5th at the Concertgebouw (if I remember it correctly) following the live recording of Chopin's two concertos in July last year.

I'm now away and writing this with my mobile phone. Hope that it will work.  

May 7, 2010

Philip Kennicott essay for Gramophone on Blechacz

(Japanese)
A review written by Philip Kennicott and published by "Gramophone"(May 2010 issue) one of the influential classical music magazines. Kennicott writes about his experience of Rafał Blechacz's music--with his latest recording "Chopin The Piano Concertos" and his recital in Washington DC in March this year.

This article was sent to me by an American who adores Rafał Blechacz: she writes,
"Mr. Kennicott is the cultural critic for the Washington Post and writes a monthly column for Gramophone so his opinions do carry some weight".

I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to her for sharing such a wonderful writing. When I read it, I found that I'm of the same view with Kennicott in quite a few points.


Philip Kennicott

The ear needs a balance of live and recorded music to appreciate the full spectrum of art

I wonder if our ears are evolving to suit our scattered minds. For a week I tried to listen to Polish wunderkind Rafał Blechacz’s new recording of the Chopin piano concertos. For a week, I couldn’t make sense of them. The dog barked, work beckoned, dust swirled in the corners of the living room, demanding attention from the vacuum. And the best I could say about Blechacz’s performance was that I found it hard to describe. The best performances are often the most difficult to put into words. It is easy to make sense of the grand appeal; stormy and dramatic playing that is aggressively interesting and charismatic. But the subtle approach, the interpretation that is all in the details and nuance, often eludes any grand summation. Blechacz throws off very little glitter in these bravura pieces but I didn’t realize how much hidden substance I was missing until he came through town.



"The subtle approach often eludes any grand summation"


In the recital hall, with most of the distractions of life kept at bay, Blechacz’s playing was a revelation. The clarity, the finesse, the discipline with tempo and dynamics and the maturity of it was striking. There are singers, of course, who always sound ghastly on the radio or on recording, but who charm thoroughly when heard live. But that’s the quirk of the microphone. Blechacz is different. His musicality flourishes in the right repertoire, under the right conditions. And the most important of those conditions is the mind of the listener.

The Chopin concertos are public works, extrovert scores, music in the virtuoso tradition. One of them bears a dedication to Kalkbrenner, which demonstrates where Chopin’s mind and ambition were in 1830. Blechacz plays them with a kind of poetic firmness, a clarity of mind that doesn’t succumb easily to egotistical display. There is no wildness or swagger and no sentimentality. He plays these works rather like Alfred Brendel plays Beethoven.

Which is bound to disappoint ears looking for easy blandishments. If I hadn’t heard the same pianist play more Chopin—but very different Chopin—a few weeks later, I probably would have put the recording away, undigested. But his recital changed everything.

Blechacz, who won the 15th Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition in 2005, looks like a student—and his recital programme seemed almost dutifully exhaustive (Bach, Mozart, Debussy and Chopin) in the manner of a student playing for a prize of degree committee. There is a modesty to his public presence, mirrored in the humility of his interpretations. He is studious, in the best sense, searching and probing, but always within the confines of the text. I kept thinking of the little band of aspiring poets, philosophers and scientists who shame the meretricious world of cheap intellectual display in Balzac’s Lost Illusions. Somewhere, in spirit if not Paris, there is a garret with Blechacz’s name on it.

For his recital, he chose the darker, private side of Chopin, the Chopin of fits and starts and inward contemplation that is nowhere to be heard in the piano concertos. How many pianists can really make sense of the Polonaise-Fantasie, that weird slight-of-hand game Chopin plays with the famous Polish dance? This is more a deconstruction of the Polonaise, amid a tempestuous landscape of morbid introspection. Blechacz stitched this work of fragments together into something coherent, an edge-of-the-seat drama of micro-gestures.



Rafał Blechacz: striking maturity


He did the same with the Ballade in A flat major and the Scherzo in B minor, finessing the stark contrasts between the naïve and tempestuous. Both works became curiously pianistic, but not pedantic. Blechacz’s technique emphasizes clarity, the individuality of each note, the pure articulation even when Chopin seems to be calling for a blur of noise. He seems uninterested in making these pieces suggest an orchestral richness. The piano is enough, its textures and possibilities sufficient to capture everything Chopin put on the page.

Little surprise, then, that he chose the Mazurka Op 17 No 4 for his only encore. We gave it up abundantly for Blechacz and he chose to reward it with one of the most anguished of Chopin’s small essays in despair. I think the choice speaks volumes about his understanding of the composer. He isn’t searching for Chopin the young showman of Chopin the craftsman of perfect Parisian miniatures. He is interested in the Polish Chopin, and in this bicentennial of the composer’s birth, it’s good to hear from a young Pole on the subject.

I went back to the Chopin concertos recording. It sounded entirely different. I was impatient with the orchestra as an unnecessary distraction, eager to hear Blechacz and Blechacz alone. The playing emerged with a profile for the first time. The fault isn’t his. It’s entirely mine. For all of us who live so many hours in the spectral world of audio recordings, it’s important to make regular pilgrimages to the concert hall. The bonds formed there between artists and audiences are the best guarantee that we will listen with ears adapted to the full spectrum of art.
(End of review)


Read Philip Kennicott's review of Washington DC recital by Rafał Blechacz
and readers' comments on that.

May 4, 2010

Avalanche of sounds from his piano took over me

Some reactions from the audience in Rafał Blechacz's recital @Toruń on April 20, from Pomorska.pl.
You'll see someone who has a similar view to yours.




A young fan rushed at her idol after the recital in Toruń.


Rafał Blechacz in Torun - Shivers on the back

First there was Bach, Mozart and Debussy. In the second part of the concert, Chopin.
“ We are delighted!” said our readers. Read on.


★ Arkadiusz Wyżlic from Gostkow (gm. Łysomice):-The concert was an unforgettable experience for me. I had tickets of the eighth row, and very good visibility and acoustics. I am delighted and enchanted, especially the second part of the concert.


★Alexander Klemańska-Helguero, a musicologist from Toruń: - I must admit that not once during the concert I felt shivers on my body. Blechacz - very young master of the piano in the first part of the concert he played Debussy. He is my favorite composer next to Chopin, whose music I rarely could hear live. Looking at Blechacz, his light, fine playing and gestures full of elegance, young Chopin came to my mind, to whom Blechacz is a little similar. May more often our concerts with his participation take place.


★Mierzwicka Margaret, a student from Toruń: - A ticket to the concert I managed to win, literally half an hour before it starts. I am very anxious to see how serious classical music recitals look like. Because I admit that this was my first, but certainly not the last. The audience stared at motionlessly and listened to the pianist. I'm very impressed.


★Barbara Zach, a student primary music school student in Toruń: - Yes I’ve never really listened to Rafał Blechacz. I loved this concert very much. It was cool music, sometimes sad, sometimes joyful. I also played piano for some time, and now I play flute.


★Dr. Janina Stankiewicz, Department of Economics and Management UMK: - I am in love with Blechacz! This is my second time of his piano recital. His approach gives me a huge impression, lightness and freedom. Phenomenal!


★Magdalena Stopińska, piano teacher at a music school - "Such a wonderful concert can never fail to please. In Blechacz’s music there is such a nobleness that I even lack words. Crystal execution. His mazurkas are poetry.


★Janusz Nath from Toruń: - A few days ago I could not believe the incredible luck, which was a shocking news, "you have a ticket!" For one day, the day of the concert by Rafał Blechacz, Toruń was certainly the European Capital of Culture.

It is difficult to describe in simple words a unique state of spirit of the artist noticeable at every keystroke. Millions of precise strokes, rightly touching the keys.

An avalanche of sounds flowing out of the piano took over me with a peculiar depth and charm.
Closing my eyes gave a very vivid picture that the artist created before our eyes.

Certainly Frykeryk Chopin would be surprised, amazed, shocked and excited listening to the songs composed by himself. Amazing songs played by the amazing pianist penetrated deep into my soul. At times I felt that along with Chopin and the pianist I was absorbed somewhere in Polish fields, meadows, red sad poppies.

It was difficult to accept the idea that this was the end and I should go back to reality.




"…Of course Chopin in my country is a very important composer and when I play Chopin especially after my winning there was something something special.
I’m always very happy when I can play for Polish people in our concert halls…".
(Rafał Blechacz in an interview with Fred Child, Washington DC, US, March 2010)



★Dana's letter (encore)
Rafał had a long meditation before the Polonaise. This work represents so plenty of emotions that it can be said that there is the whole history of Poland.
He said in the philosophical debate after the recital that never before playing of Mazurkas op.17 was so strong a metaphysical experience like during this evening.
In the recital, after Mazurka No 4 op.17 was the long silence.

Rafał also said,
"Artists ought to understand music from every aspect: understand composer’s intention, have intuition of style, know freedom and limits of interpretation".
This all you could hear in his concert in Torun.
Baroque, classicism, impressionism and romanticism. The difference between them was very much audible as well as composers’ intentions and Rafal's interpretation.
Bach - mathematical precision, Mozart - opera, Debussy - painter, Chopin - emotions.
All were very beautiful like a speech between humans and the nature.

Public gave Rafał standing ovation after the recital, plenty of flowers and he played two encores Nocturne cis-moll and Mazurka.



"Nasz pianista" 


Torun.gazeta.pl on April 25
Nowociczi.com.pl on April 26
These newspapers report that the University wants to organize the 2nd round of philosophical discussion with Rafał Blechacz and schalars including Prof. Władysław Stróżewski, who was not able to join this time, sometime next year.
(Thanks to Beata Dana for the news clips.)  

May 3, 2010

Blechacz at Concertgebouw as master pianist

From the website of serie Meesterpianisten (the Master Pianists Series, , offered by Riaskoff Concert Management, the Netherlands,
program about Rafał Blechacz's recital to be held at Amsterdam Concertgebouw on May 9.
It will be his 2nd appearance in Meesterpianisten. The 1st recital was on October 7, 2007.





(Quote)
Explanation
"Holy devotion seems the key to the magic of Blechacz, who, in all respects, is an extremely conscientious performer. His supple virtuosity and pure insight of the score are just means to achieve a higher goal. As an exquisite sound architect, Blechacz creates sublime master pieces from musical material in style…This creates fascinating 'sound poems', which move organically and seamlessly and it seems to suggest what the composer in his noblest moments must have suggested ... Blechacz graduated with a ten (=perfect score) from the master class with his brilliant, dynamic and highly suggestive rendition of the 24 Preludes of Chopin. "

This was the comment of NRC Handelsblad following Rafal Blechacz 's superb debut recital at serie Meesterpianisten (the Master Pianists Series) in October 2007, two years after his glorious victory at the prestigious Chopin Competition. De Telegraaf headlined "Polish piano wonder" and also Trouw did not behind with "The World of pianists has a new coryphaeus. "

Meanwhile Blechacz has been recognized in all corners of the world. In the Netherlands, he also has performed with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, with whom he will capture even both Chopin Piano Concertos on CD. His honest, crystal clear piano playing reflects a tremendous refinement and musical maturity.

Besides works by Debussy, Mozart and Bach in his recital program is also ample space for his great love of Chopin, the composer with whom he feels a lifelong bond. That intense relationship with the music of Chopin was manifested in his debut recital in a phenomenal way. De Volkskrant wrote "Blechacz imparts wild and sensual charm to Chopin’s music " and explained: "That he does know what to do with Chopin is not surprising, but the 22 years old is unique, from hundreds of recognizable vision of the 24 Preludes put down, he traps you with the foresight on your seat. "

His big talent to make music clear and bright light as a feather was also nicely defined by the same newspaper: "... Blechacz changed unwieldy hammers in the mechanics of the Steinway for a tennis ball that rolls weightless and plummets rapidly over the strings..." Blechacz was born on June 30, 1985 in the tiny village of Naklo nad Notecią in the Polish countryside. "I was a busy child. Apart from the school, I practiced piano at home and did homework, "said Rafał with his characteristic honest tone.

His idol was and is, besides the deceased Arthur Rubinstein and Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Krystian Zimerman, who regularly advises on musical and logistical aspects of the pianist there.
(Unquote)


** Segments of the reviews referenced above are available on Blechacz official website.

Concertgebouw program page for May 9.

(Note: This preview was written early last year, way before Blechacz recorded Chopin's two concertos.)

(I like the way an artist is described in such a website in the Netherlands. My general impression of this country is that things are done in a fair, open, practical, meticulous and friendly manner.)

*** May 3 is Constitution Dan (national holiday) in Japan. I was told that Poland has their Constitution Day also on May 3. (coincidence!!)

**************************************

In autumn, Krystian Zimerman will work with Hagen Quartett
to play Quintet of Bacewicz and Schumann, and Quartet of Janacek in Tokyo and Osaka.

(Program)
Bacewicz: Piano Quintet No.1(1952)
Janáček: Strings Quartet No.1 ‘Kreutzer Sonata’
Schumann: Piano Quintet E flat major Op.44

(Dates)
Sept.28 Suntory Hall
Sept.29 Izumi Hall in Osaka
Sept.30 Musashino Citizen Hall, Tokyo
Oct.1 Toppan Hall, Tokyo
Oct 5 Tokyo-bunka-kaikan (Tokyo Culture Hall)

He is touring in Japan in May and June with all Chopin program.