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Dec 29, 2011

Polish media introduces the new album of Blechacz

Rzeczpospolita, a major national daily in Poland, introduces Rafał Blechacz's new album "DEBUSSY SZYMANOWSKI" on its website on Dec. 29.

Rzeczpospolita website

"Another face of Rafał Blechacz"
 (Rough summary of the article written by Jacek Marczyński).
Rafał Blechacz’s new album scheduled to be released from Deutsche Grammophon on February 1, 2012 will be a surprise for those who regard Blechacz as Chopin’s expert. The world’s best label, which had an exclusive contract with Blechacz in 2006 just after his brilliant victory in the Chopin Competition and extended the contract after releasing two albums by Blechacz, has produced three of his albums, which sold 160 thousand copies worldwide...

(then the author describes DG's engagement with other artists such as Krystian Zimerman to reiterate that its contract with Blechacz is beneficial to the label.)

 .....Now the time has come for Blechacz to cease to be seen as a specialist of Chopin’s music and to change the image. The new album consists of works by Karol Szymanowski and Claude Debussy with which Blechacz seeks the opportunity to present the wealth of colors and moods of music. It is worth recalling that he had already performed the music by these two composers for long years even before the Chopin competition in 2005. If you are interested in how he interpret them now, you need to wait until Feb.  For now please visit DG’s website.

Dec 27, 2011

Congrats and thanks to our Pianist

To recap this year, the blog posts that were accessed most for the past year were:

1 Rafał Blechacz talks about music interpretation (video).
(Philosophical discussion at his university.  Yes he is a philosopher. →related interview)

2 Birthday wishes to our beloved pianist.

3 Rafał Blechacz comes to US and Canada and
   Blechacz to perform Chopin's Concerto with London Philharmonic Orchestra, Oct 26 /interviewed by BBC3


Courtesy Torun's festival of
Science and Arts website
Looks like fans want to hear his interpretation either by performance or voice (though not many of them understand in Polish), and thank him for the beautiful music and experience.

I'm pleased to see increased accesses from Americas and other new countries.


I manage Japanese blog too and the trend of readers' favorite is similar, except that in Japanese blog, the most accessed post was;

Special album "In Solidarity with Japan" to be launched in Poland
with by far the biggest traffic.
The charity album was compiled in Poland with performances by outstanding Polish Chopin players (Blechacz, Zimerman, etc...), intended for benefiting the children hit by the quake/tsunami in Japan in March.  Japanese people were very much grateful to the country of Chopin for extending helping hand with the special Chopin's album.

******
Reesendamm Strasse, Hamburg
Courtesy Deutsche Grammophon
In January, Rafał Blechacz had a recording session for the new album of Debussy and Szymanowski at Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg.

In the following month, he began to give live concerts, first from America.

☆program website
★review, news
♥ interview


Feb. 6 Recital @Sundin Music Hall, Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota  podcast
Feb.11 Recital @Hill Auditorium, Michigan
Feb.13 Chopin Concerto No.1 with Concertante (a string sextet) @Rackham Auditorium, Michigan  
Feb.18 Recital @Folly Theater, Kansas City
Feb.20 Recital @ @Herbst Theatre, SF
Feb.22 Recital and Chopin Concerto No.1 @ Winspear Centre, Edmonton 

March 16, 17 Beethoven Concerto No.4 with Orchetre de Paris conducted by Paavo Järvi @ Salle Pleyel, Paris

March 20 Recital @Casa de Cordón, Burgos, Spain 
March 22 Recital @ Auditorio Nacional de Musica, Madrid 

March 25 Recital @Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Italy 
March 28 Recital @Musica Insieme, Bologna press release

April 7 Recital @Haus-Konzerte, Berlin  press release 

May 25 Recital for Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele @Rokokotheater

June 7 Recital @Salle Pleyel, Paris
June 27 Recital a recital for Tivoli Festival @Koncertsalen, Copenhagen

Sept.15 Concerto No.2 by Liszt with Orchestre National de Belgique Conductor: Antoni Wit @Palais des Beaux-Arts / Salle Henry Le Bœuf

Oct. 7 Recital @Kloster Polling, Bibliotheksaal, Weilheim
Oct. 8 Recital @Prinzregententheater, Munich  interview (podcast) is available on iTunes store (please search by "Blechacz").

Oct.14 Recital @ Konzerthaus Dortmund
Oct.17 Recital @Kammermusiksaal, Berlin


from BBC3, Oct. 25
Oct.26 Chopin Concerto No.2 with the London Symphony Orchestra under Jaap van Zwedenat @ Royal Festival Hall, London

Nov. 2 Recital @University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
Nov. 4 Recital @Victoria Hall, Geneva
Nov. 7 Recital @Tonhalle Zürich

Nov. 11 Chopin concerto No.2 with Sinfonia Varsovia, conductor: Grzegorz Nowak @Salle Pleyel, Paris



Plus,
In June, Rafał Blechacz was awarded The Medal for Merit to Culture - Gloria Artis by the Polish government.


June 22 at the Medal awarding ceremony
 by Polish Government

Congratulations to our Pianist.
May the new year bring many more opportunities to your way, to explore every joy of music.

We are grateful to be able to appreciate your interpretation of Debussy and Szymanowski early next year.



*****
In February, 2012, he will begin the new year's performance in Madrid and Rome with Beethoven's piano concerto No. 4.  He will perform the concerto in La Scala, Milan and Smetata Hall, Prague in May as well.

Here he talks about his thoughts on this concerto by Beethoven (video interview from Orchestre de Paris website, shot in March 2011.)

from Orchestre de Paris website



Dec 23, 2011

Review of Rafał Blechacz playing Chopin at Salle Pleyel (2)

Another review of the concert at Salle Pleyel, Paris, on November 11, when Rafał Blechacz played Chopin's concerto in F minor with Sinfonia Varsovia directed by Grzegorz Nowak.

Original review on Concertclassic.com
by Michel Le Naour

Again I'll post the part related to Chopin's concerto only.

(Excerpt)
At the head of the Sinfonia Varsovia (the group that he often directs), Nowak showed authority when conducting the Concert Overture by Szymanowski with accuracy, flame and impulsiveness, giving to the score written by the young composer heavily influenced by Richard Strauss all its own lyrical and passionate dimension.

The same spirit is manifested in the accompaniment of the Concerto No. 2 by Chopin, beautifully defended by the lofty and noble performance of Rafał Blechacz who, since his victory in the Competition in Warsaw in 2005, has refined the purified style of restrained lyricism close to that of Zimerman.

His encores are in the same vein: Polonaise “Heroic” implacable of vehemence and of rhythmic sense, and Mazurka in A minor op. 17 No. 4, subtle and of contained emotion. Of the great art!

Generalprobe @Salle Pleyel, Nov.11
Courtesy Piotr Iwicki


**france musique will broadcast this concert on January 11, 2012 14:00-15:56
france musique program (see Jan. 11)


Karol Szymanowski
Ouverture de concert opus 12
Frédéric Chopin
Concerto pour piano n° 2
Rafal Blechacz, piano
Félix Mendelssohn
Symphonie n° 4 "Italienne"
Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra
Direction : Grzegorz Nowak
Frédéric Chopin
Polonaise "Héroique" opus 53
Bis n°1
Rafal Blechacz, piano
Frédéric Chopin
Mazurka opus 17 n°4
Bis n°2
Rafal Blechacz, piano

Dec 22, 2011

Review of Rafał Blechacz playing Chopin at Salle Pleyel

This is a review of the concert at Salle Pleyel, Paris, on November 11, when Rafał Blechacz played Chopin's concerto in F minor with Sinfonia Varsovia directed by Grzegorz Nowak.

Original review on ConcertoNet.com
written by Didier van Moere


Let me pick up the 2nd half of the review where the author writes about Blechacz and Chopin's concerto.

(Excerpt)
The orchestra of the Second Concerto by Chopin, so often confined to a condescending accompaniment, was standing out in relief, where one recognized the hand of the master accustomed to the theater. The orchestra deserves the winner of the Chopin Competition in 2005, now twenty-six years, who has continued to mature and expand his repertoire. Here one remembers Rafał Blechacz’s CD led by Jerzy Semkow (see review by ConcertoNet.com), with Maestoso which the young pianist gave his proper weight, of freshness, clarity and precision recalling that Chopin diligently revisited his Bach and his Mozart. The performance remains yet very concentrated, doesn't have anything superficial; something reminding us of a certain Polish tradition, illustrated by Rubinstein or by Zimerman, as opposed to the fanciful liberties of Paderewski. This is how one should play the concertos of Chopin, without anticipating the great maturity. The Larghetto happily recalls the passion of the musician for the bel canto, with the right amount of dramatization in the recitativo in the middle part. The final Allegro vivace has the bouncing lightness of some mazurkas.

Superb Polonaise in A flat as first encore, notable by the mastery of the left hand in the persistence of the octaves, free of all patriotic exaltation, rendered the music as Szymanowski wanted it. Poetic Mazurka in A minor, finally, pure sound, without escalation in nostalgia.

Without doubt, Rafał Blechacz will be one of the great pianists of tomorrow.

Dec 21, 2011

Album release news (UK,etc...)

Release news from UK
Rafał Blechacz's new album "DEBUSSY SZYMANOWSKI" to be released in UK February 6.

PRESTO Classical
Crotchet UK
"Rafał Blechacz is one of DG’s best-selling young artists – his stunning albums have sold more than 160,000 units worldwide. Blechacz is by talent, proclivity, and nationality the perfect choice to record works by his fellow Pole, Szymanowski, and therefore to record Debussy, too – whose presence in Szymanowski’s musical DNA looms large.

Arguably the greatest Polish composer since Chopin, Szymanowski was also influenced by Ravel, Scriabin, and Strauss. For the first time on record Rafał Blechacz plays Szymanowski’s reverie-inducing music – a revelation to those unfamiliar with it. Debussy’s Impressionist soundscapes (also new to Rafał Blechacz’s discography) – including Pour le piano and Estampes – are also a natural fit for Blechacz with his Chopin expertise".


********
CD Wow.net will begin to ship the new CD on February 2.
It looks like this shop is servicing in main countries in America, Europe and Asia.
This is US page.
Germany   France   the Netherlands


********
Blechacz's official website updated its reviews page for 2011. (Polish only)

Interview in 2007 (3)


The interview (3) that Rafał Blechacz gave in April 2007 which was included in the program booklet of his 2007 Japan tour. Please note that this interview was carried out more than four years ago and therefore some of his remarks are not current.

Interview (1)
Interview (2)


Impression of Japan
I've toured in Japan three times after participating in the Hamamatsu Competition. The time I spent there is the longest outside of Poland. This Japan tour (in 2007) is the fourth one and my fifth visit. I’m grateful for being able to play in these excellent concert halls for the nice and friendly audience. I feel very much relaxed when playing for you. I have an impression that the audience understands my interpretation fully and shows honest reactions. During my previous tour (in 2006), I had an opportunity to visit Kyoto and was deeply impressed by the historical city. It’s a great joy to visit such a city which gives me more knowledge of culture and history. It’s not easy to describe difference between Poland and Japan but it can be humorously compared to the differences between men and women. We are different but interested in each other. One example is food. What you eat is very different from what I eat daily in Poland. I’m very interested in trying various Japanese food. To be honest, I like some Japanese food; sushi and shabushabu, in particular.

About the repertoire of the recital for 2007 Japan tour
I played all Chopin program for my previous Japan tour (2006). So I decided to introduce works by other composers from my repertoire. Bach is the composer I was deeply fascinated, especially by his organ music, which became the catalyst for me to quest for music. Liszt offers virtuosic music. Debussy, I play for colors of music. I’ve performed works by Liszt and Debussy many times and their pieces have been included in my concert repertoire. If I want to explore style of a music work in-depth and in order to play Chopin’s music better, I need to enter deep into heritages from other composers. Playing Debussy’s works is a worthy challenge because it strongly requires building up coloristic traits in each single phrase. By playing pieces by Liszt, I can deepen understanding of technical skills and sounds. I entrust the audience and critics with any judgments of my interpretation. I’ll just do my best. (End of the interview)

Dec 16, 2011

Rafał Blechacz's new album (import version) will be sold by Tower Records Japan on Jan. 20

Tower Record Japan will release Rafał Blechacz's new album (import version) on Jan. 20, 2012.

Tower Records Japan
They began to accept pre-order.


"For the long-waited 4th album from Deutsche Grammophon, Rafał Blechacz, the perfect victor of the 2005 Chopin Competition, has recorded three pieces by Debussy, best-fit for the composer's 150th birthday.  2012 will celebrate the 150th anniversary of  Claude Debussy's birth, 130th anniversary of Karol Szymanowski's birth.....  In 1910, Szymanowski, Blechacz's compatriot, was awarded the first prize for his Piano Sonata No.1 in C minor in the Composers' Competition in Lemberg (L'viv) which was held on the occasion of Fryderyk Chopin's 100th birth year".  (excerpt from Tower Records album description).


★☆。.:*:・"゚★('-^v) congratulations (v^-')★。.:*:・"☆★

Dec 15, 2011

Rafał Blechacz's new album (import version) will be sold by HMV Japan on Jan. 31

HMV Japan will release Rafał Blechacz's new album "DEBUSSY SZYMANOWSKI" (import from Europe) on January 31, 2012.

HMV Japan website
HMV album description
They bagan accepting pre-order.

**HMV Japan delivers products to other countries.
delivery fees.



☆.。.:*・゚☆.。.:*・゚☆happy☆゚・*:.。.☆゚・*:.。.☆

Dec 13, 2011

You can hear some clips from Rafał Blechacz's new album (audio) (2)

You can hear some clips from Rafał Blechacz's new album on KlassiAkzente's updated website.

Claude Debussy
Pour le piano, Sarabande
L'Isle joyeuse

Karol Szymanowski 
Sonata in C minor, Tempo di Minuetto

Click picture to go to KlassikAkzente

Dec 12, 2011

Rafał Blechacz's new album "DEBUSSY SZYMANOWSKI" to be launched Feb. 15 (Japan)

Universal Classics Japan official website announced that Rafał Blechacz's new album "DEBUSSY SZYMANOWSKI" will be launched on Feb. 15, 2012 in Japan.


Click the picture to go to Universal Japan.


Universal Classics Japan
**Debbusy "clair de lune" will be added as a bonus track to the Japanese version.

**Tower Records and other Japanese vendors began accepting booking. **

**People are delighted that "clair de lune" is included according to some tweets.

Dec 10, 2011

Season's Greetings



***Click the picture to see the animation.





Dec 9, 2011

You can hear some clips from Rafał Blechacz's new album (audio)

You can hear some clips from Rafał Blechacz's new album "DEBUSSY, SZYMANOWSKI",

Click to hear music.

Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
Pour le piano, Prélude
Estampes, Pagodes

Karol Szymanowski (1882 - 1937)
Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor, Prelude
Sonata in C minor, Op.8, 1. Allegro moderato

*******
Decca Classics catalogue

Universal Music Germany


Dec 6, 2011

DEBUSSY, SZYMANOWSKI -RAFAŁ BLECHACZ (import version)

From amazon.com (US)

From amazon.ca  (Canada)

From amazon.de (Germany)
**I noticed that "import" was replaced by "Universal Austria"in the German album description. (Dec. 17)


From amazon.fr  (France)

From amazon.jp  (Japan)

The import version will be made available by Amazon in these countries on February 14, 2012.
Big present for St. Valentine's Day!

From amazon.uk  (UK)
The sale of import in UK is Feb.6.


(Thanks to Konstancja for the info.)

Dec 4, 2011

DEBUSSY, SZYMANOWSKI -RAFAŁ BLECHACZ (Poland)

Universal Music Poland
Release date: February 1, 2012

"Maestro"
In Poland, the international and Polish versions will be released.

Hi Fi Choice

RMF Classic

Dec 1, 2011

From "About the Album" , Rafał Blechacz DEBUSSY SZYMANOWSKI

From "About the Album" , Rafał Blechacz DEBUSSY SZYMANOWSKI
German and French texts are available from this page.


The Triumph of Sensibility 

Some of us can still recall a wet and windy autumn evening in Hamburg in 1984 when the world suddenly stood still – at least in the city’s Musikhalle, as it was called at that time. No one dared to breathe, so utterly remote from the world did we feel. Instead, the whole audience stared in astonishment at the performance onstage. For what we could hear was not just music, it was music by Debussy – Book Two of Les Préludes – and the man who was playing it was playing it so divinely that listeners inevitably felt they had been transported to the Arcadian Fields.

It was a miracle of a kind that rarely happens, and yet it was no miracle at all. For the pianist who held the world in the palm of his hand for this one brief moment in time was godlike in stature: Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, a master magician. His appearances on the platform were always akin to an epiphany, especially when he was playing Chopin or Debussy. Then it was more than music. It was a spell cast over the listener’s soul.

It is entirely understandable, therefore, that Rafał Blechacz’s eyes light up when he speaks about this great artist, one of his favourite pianists, along with, among others, Alfred Cortot and Walter Gieseking. Michelangeli’s interpretations of Debussy offer the Polish artist an inspiration. This is clear not only from the translucent and almost transcendental way in which Blechacz interprets Estampes but also from the pianistic brilliance he brings to Pour le piano and from the iridescent colours of L’Isle joyeuse. Few pianists have ever been able to interpret Debussy’s musical language with such lucidity and at the same time in such virtuosic ways.


The young Polish pianist is not really interested in the ongoing musicological debate as to whether Debussy’s works are Impressionistic or not. For Rafał Blechacz, Debussy is unquestionably an Impressionist, but an Impressionist who has borrowed his structural virtues from Classicism and developed them a stage further. In short, Debussy was a composer who was fully aware of all that Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin had achieved but was able to translate all of this into the language of musical modernism. That is why Rafał Blechacz is able to describe Debussy as the king of colours.

If we stick to this image, it may not be presumptuous of us to describe Karol Szymanowski as the king of existential poetry. With the single exception of his compatriot Chopin, Szymanowski was unique in his ability to speak straight to the heart with his music. That was what he wanted. And there is no doubt that listeners are right to describe him as an Expressionist. Szymanowski’s musical language is filled with emotion, intuition and inspiration and with wit, voluptuousness and yearning. These were the qualities that struck Rafał Blechacz when, still little more than a child, he first heard Szymanowski’s music while at a recital by Jerzy Godziszewki, a teacher at the Bydgoszcz Academy where Blechacz was later to study. Godziszewski played several pieces by Szymanowski, among them Metopes and Masks, emotionally charged works full of sensual sonorities and remotely reminiscent of the mysticism of a composer like Scriabin but entirely distinctive in tone. The young Rafał Blechacz was fired up by a very real desire to enter this world, which he did by the circuitous route of the Variations op. 3.

Blechacz feels a tremendous affinity for Szymanowski, especially for a colossal work like the early C minor Sonata, which could be described as a continuation of Beethoven’s ideal of a free sonata form culminating in a fugue but using Expressionist means. The resultant work is a powerhouse of feelings not least because its monumental structure is combined with a range of sonorities extending from Classicism to Scriabin. Rafał Blechacz performs this music with a nobility and authority that are almost disturbing when we recall how young he is. But at the same time the listener can sense the degree to which his extensive work on Bach and the Viennese Classical composers has influenced his sense of form and sonority. Apparently contradictory elements come together here: youthful impetuosity and the greatest poetical sensitivity. One might think there could be no greater contradiction, but this is only superficially the case, for, as physics teaches, opposites attract – especially when they are combined with such enormous reserves of energy.

Jürgen Otten
11/2011

Nov 30, 2011

Rafał Blechacz new album "Debussy, Szymanowski" to be released Feb. 1, 2012

According to Deutsche Grammophon catalogue page, the international release of the new album "Debussy, Szymanowski" will be February 1, 2012.

Track List 
Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
Pour le piano
1. 1. Prélude 3:48
2. 2. Sarabande 4:11
3. 3. Toccata 3:57

Estampes
4. 1. Pagodes 5:00
5. 2. Soirée dans Grenade 4:12
6. 3. Jardins sous la pluie 3:36

7. L'Isle joyeuse 5:36

Karol Szymanowski (1882 - 1937)
Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor
8. Prelude Lento, ma non troppo, rubato 2:37
9. Fugue Andante 4:05

Sonata in C minor, Op.8
10. 1. Allegro moderato 6:39 Sonata in C minor, Op.8
11. 2. Adagio 5:04 Sonata in C minor, Op.8
12. 3. Tempo di Minuetto 3:43 Sonata in C minor, Op.8
    4. Finale
13. Introduzione 2:26
14. Fuga a tre voci 7:28

Total Playing Time 1:02:22

Recording: Hamburg-Harburg, Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, 1/2011
Executive Producer: Christian Leins
Associate Producer: Matthias Spindler
Producer: Arend Prohmann
Recording Engineer (Tonmeister): Rainer Maillard
Piano Technician: Jan Höppner

Facebook Rafał Blechacz began to announce.
Facebook Deutsche Grammophon began to announce.


Nov 25, 2011

Rafał Blechacz plays Debussy, Szymanowski - trailer of the new album

See Deutsche Grammophon Rafał Blechacz Debussy Szymanowski page



Trailer video
 
                                                           

"For my next CD I chose music by Szymanowski and Debussy. I wanted to show a sharp contrast between impressionism and expressionism..."


Sarabande from Pour le Piano by Debussy



"Most of Debussy pieces which I decided to record for the CD, I’ve been playing around ten years…each has specific style, specific atmosphere, and I must say that I’m very happy that I found a really good piano which allows me to show a lot of colors, values, shades of the sound and also of the moods.....   I chose two cycles,  'Estampes',  'Pour le Piano', and very interesting short piece 'Island of Joy', which I performed as an encore after my recitals... "


Minuet from Szymanowski's piano sonata in C minor



"...My story of Szymanowski music started relatively early.  I was 11 or 12 years old I remember I attended the concert by Polish pianist Jerzy Godziszewski **.  And I was absolutely delighted by the Szymanowski music. I remember everything sounded so beautiful, heart-breakingly beautiful, especially harmony, wonderful modulations, melodies, and I really wanted to play Szymanowski’s music…I chose 'Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor' and 'the first Sonata opus 8',..."




Interview


"... Szymanowski was quite young and he was absolutely fascinated by expressionist music like Scriabin.  We can hear typical atmosphere of expressionism...The first sonata opus 8, the 3rd movement is a kind of minuet, which proves that a classical thinking, approach was very close to Szymanowski,…and it’s very optimistic piece and especially the middle part in this minuet is very interesting, a lot of polyphonies..."


Nov 24, 2011

Review of the concert at Salle Pleyel, Nov. 11

A review of the concert at Salle Pleyel, Paris on November 11, written by Piotr Iwicki, a journalist and percussionist, member of Sinfonia Varsovia which performed the concert with Rafał Blechacz as soloist.  Mr. Iwicki shares this article for Gazeta Polska Codzienna and beautiful pictures of the concert with us and I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to him.

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

Chopin conquers Paris again 


About 180 years ago, the audience in Paris enthusiastically welcomed the performance of Concerto in F Minor by Frédéric Chopin. The difference was that this time in the famous Salle Pleyel sitting at the piano was the winner of the Chopin Competition, Rafał Blechacz - worthy successor to the master Frédéric.


The Paris concert was a special event, one of the three presentations of our excellent orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, which visits the European capitals to mark the lasting Polish presidency of the European Union. Two weeks before, the orchestra was at the Brussels Palais des Beaux-Arts BOZAR presenting Polish music masterpieces, including Karol Szymanowski, Stanisław Moniuszko, Mikolaj Górecki and Krzysztof Penderecki. The latter personally led the execution of his own second violin concerto, " Metamorphosen " (Julian Rachlin - Violin). The evening before the Warsaw's symphony was conducted by Marc Minkowski, presenting a very impressive and brilliant vision of orchestral fragments of "Halka" by Moniuszko, and the 2nd violin concerto by Karol Szymanowski (soloist Kuba Jakowicz).

 To these concerts in Brussels, like the one from November 11 in Paris, the center of classical music, ovations were crowned, with one difference that in Paris, the thrilling interpretation by Rafał Blechacz never ended the ovation, but even a frantic reaction reserved for pop and rock music stars was given (conducted by Grzegorz Nowak). The rapturous, loud cries, "Encore!", "Bravo!" were rewarded by encores.


Not surprisingly, our 26-year-old virtuoso seems to be constantly, "in an artistic way." His Chopin continually shines supported by the incredible lightness of interpretation with noble, slightly bravura taste. The precision and virtuosity supported by incredibly simple lightness and freedom in the concerto as well as the romanticism of the light, airy mist played in the encore Mazurka op.17-4, must have satisfied the most demanding music lovers-scholars. Similarly played the first encore Polonaise no. 6 in A flat major, Op. 53, where the soloist shone not only with phenomenal technique but with noble elegance. Not surprisingly, it’s the crown - signature status in Blechacz’s repertoire.


Piotr Iwicki with Rafał Blechacz

The performance in Paris for the audience of more than two thousands (tickets sold out long ago) once again showed that music, especially this serious music, is one of the best Polish exports. In two weeks, the Sinfonia Varsovia will play in Madrid under the baton of Jerzy Maksymiuk, ending the cycle of gala concerts of our EU Presidency and next week in Warsaw National Philharmonic two concerts under the baton of Maestro Jerzy Semkow to perform the complete symphonies by Johannes Brahms.

Piotr Iwicki - Paris
from: Gazeta Polska Codzienna

Piotr Iwicki @Orchard Hall, Tokyo












******************
(Original Polish text)


Chopin ponownie podbija Paryż 

Jak przed niespełna 180 lat temu, paryska publiczność owacyjnie przyjęła wykonanie Koncertu f-moll Fryderyka Chopina. Z tą różnicą, że tym razem w słynnej Salle Pleyel za fortepianem zasiadł laureat chopinowskiego konkursu, Rafał Blechacz. Godny następca mistrza Fryderyka.

Paryski koncert był wydarzeniem szczególnym, to jedna z trzech prezentacji naszej znakomitej orkiestry Sinfonia Varsovia, która odwiedza europejski stolice uświetniając trwając polską prezydencję Unii Europejskiej. Przed dwoma tygodnia orkiestra w brukselskim Palais des Beaux-Arts BOZAR prezentowała arcydzieła polskie muzyki m.in. Karola Szymanowskiego, Stefana Moniuszki, Mikołaja Góreckiego i Krzysztofa Pendereckiego. Ten ostatni osobiście poprowadził wykonanie własnego II koncertu skrzypcowego „Metamorfozy” (Julian Rachlin – skrzypce). Wieczór wcześniej warszawskimi symfonikami dyrygował Marc Minkowski, prezentując bardzo efektowną i błyskotliwą wizję orkiestrowych fragmentów moniuszkowskiej „Halki” i II koncertu skrzypcowego Karola Szymanowskiego (w roli solisty Jakub Jakowicz). Brukselskie koncerty, podobnie jak ten z 11 listopada w paryskiej Mekce muzyki poważnej, zwieńczyła owacja z tą różnicą, że paryskie, porywające interpretacje Rafała Blechacza zakończyła już nie owacja, ale wręcz frenetyczna reakcja zarezerwowana dla gwiazd popu i rocka (dyrygował Grzegorz Nowak). Okrzyki zachwytu, gromkie „Bis!”, „Brawo!” zaprocentowały bisami. Nic dziwnego, nasz 26.letni wirtuoz zdaje się być cięgle „w artystycznej drodze”. Jego Chopin nieustannie nabiera rumieńców podpartych niebywałą lekkością interpretacyjną w szlachetnym, z lekka brawurowym sosie. Precyzja i wirtuozeria poparte niebywałą wręcz lekkością oraz swobodą w Koncercie podobnie jak romantyzm w lekkiej mgle eteryczności zagranego na bis Mazurka a-moll z opusu 17 nr 4, musiały zadowolić najbardziej wybrednych melomanów-erudytów. Podobnie jak wykonany jako pierwszy bis Polonez nr. 6 As-dur op. 53, gdzie solista zabłysnął nie tylko zjawiskową techniką ale i szlachetną elegancją. Nic dziwnego, to koronna - popisowa pozycja w repertuarze Blechacza. 

Paryski występ dla ponad dwutysięcznej publiczności (bilety wyprzedano już dawno) kolejny raz pokazał, że muzyka, zwłaszcza ta poważna to jeden z najlepszych polskich towarów eksportowych. Za dwa tygodnie Sinfonia Varsovia zagra w Madrycie pod batutą Jerzego Maksymiuka kończąc cykl koncertów-gal naszej unijnej prezydencji. a już za tydzień w warszawskiej Filharmonii Narodowej w czasie dwóch koncertów pod batutą Maestro Jerzego Semkowa wykona komplet symfonii Johannesa Brahmsa.

Piotr Iwicki - Paryż



Nov 19, 2011

Rafał Blechacz's new album "Debussy・Szymanowski"

From KlassikAkzente 03/2011, (dated November 10, 2011)


Please see the final page of this KlassikAkzente 03/2011, "Preview of January".

It refers to Debussy's "Pour le piano" and Szymanowski's sonata No.1 in C minor, the pieces that Blechacz played in his recital in Berlin last month,

".....In early February you will be convinced by Blechacz with excitement in his eagerly anticipated new recital - by the playful brilliance and emotional depth of these two pieces - a true find of the secret (Geheimtipp)."


A German fan received the DG news magazine"Klassik" that included the same photo and article, therefore, I knew about the news and found this on-line Preview by KlassikAkzente.
(Many thanks to lotus-eater for the info.)

We still have about two months to go in waiting....

**Universal Music Germany posted the same newsletter on Nov.20

*******************
From a review of Blechacz's recital in Berlin posted on Berliner Morgenpost

Kammermusiksaal: Pianist Rafał Blechacz feels at home
Oct. 19, 2011

With concise controlled movements, shaken out of the sleeves, the slender pianist can create his sound world and let it faint as equally quickly. The audience can only sit, amazed and celebrate him at the end.

Rafał Blechacz is a precious secret (Geheimtipp), as before, which incidentally explains the sparsely occupied Kammermusiksaal. Now, the young Pole is on a par with all the greats like Pollini, Argerich or Pogorelich. (The latter was, however, at the elite Warsaw Chopin Competition, which takes place only every five years, got no prize, which once led to a scandal.) Blechacz got the prize unanimously in 2005. Blechacz is from the countryside from a pianistic viewpoint, born in 1985 in Nakło and matured far away from the molding of big musicians. But Chopin's music is his nursery. With the four Mazurkas from Op 17, he feels quite at home and therefore can take liberties as the brilliant technician in accentuation. His own way of cool dissection of emotional states, he transfers to other composers. Bach's Partita No. 1 in B flat major gaining deep shades, Szymanowski's Sonata in C minor at ease, Debussy's Suite "for the piano" in abundance, unique nine variations by Mozart KV 264 - the unpretentious Blechacz has no manierismo, has some lengths.

Nov 17, 2011

Review of Rafał Blechacz's recital in Berlin (Oct.17) by Der Tagesspiegel

Review of Rafał Blechacz's recital at Philharmonie Berlin Kammermusiksaal on Oct.17, posted on Der Tagesspiegel website on Oct. 18.

Original review (German)

His Mazurkas carried away the house

Many roads lead to Chopin, and multiple traces originate from him. From the center of his pianistic creativity, Rafał Blechacz goes on searching these traces, to Bach and Mozart, and again to his Polish compatriot, relatively unknown Karol Szymanowski. With powerful gesture and enormous inner tension, Blechacz presents the monumental sonata No.1 by Szymanowski, which unifies many influences of the eclectic bundles and the fascinating late romanticism into one existence. The plethora of characters, urgent bass, cascading octaves and controlled fizzy arpeggios characterize the pianist with impressive clarity, compelling contrast between the bright "bell" sounds in the scherzo and the somber "Funeral March" motif in the final.

Chopin is in the heart of the 26-year old Pole, and since six years ago when he won the Chopin competition in Warsaw, he is truly regarded as the specialist. Also this evening in the Kammermusiksaal, the bright clarity of the As-Dur Polonaise boasts, whose octave fray always remains transparent – Blechacz doesn't have to pretend virtuosity with pedal fogs. The only real bravura appears from the four early Mazurkas Op 17; Blechacz facing with the fragile structure with colorful shades, violent outbursts, or thinning its tender melancholy mood.

@Yokohama, Oct. 2010

Blechacz has infinite amount of time in these miniatures, building huge melodic arcs, telling stories of great emotional range. His mature, personal, but not originality-addicted playing also characterizes Bach’s Partita in B flat by powerfully vibrant serenity whose heart is the very inward turned Sarabande. Playful contrast shimmers in the variations "Lison dormait," by 22-year-old Mozart, a typical piece of Rococo with all kinds of garlands and trills. Even with Debussy's "Pour le Piano" the confident style of the pianist is impressive, his toccata's layer of impressionistic sounds intoxicating.

In the storm of applause, the artist seems fragile and shy. But the public was rewarded by two encores: Chopin's mazurkas carried away the entire house.

by Isabel Herzfeld

************
Webradio broadcast
On November 29 @10:00 (local time, EET) Radio Romania will broadcast the concert at Hamburg Laeiszhalle (Nov. 21, 2010) by  NDR Sinfonieorchester, Conductor: Krzysztof Urbański,
Soloist: Rafał Blechacz who played Chopin's Concerto No.1 in E minor.

Radio Romania program site



Nov 15, 2011

Bene Merito medal to be awarded to Rafał Blechacz (Poland)

Gazeta Wyborcza reports "Rafał Blechacz and Adam Małysz, the best ski jumper in Polish history, will be awarded Bene Merito medal (Foreign Service of Poland award ) for their contributions to promote Poland in the international community.  The award giving ceremony will be held at the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday, the Foreign Service Day, also attended by the President Bronislaw Komorowski".




tvp.info, Nov. 15
kultura.wp.pl "We are proud of them"

Many other websites report the same release.

tvp.info. Nov. 16
On the Foreign Service Day.

Nov 14, 2011

Performance Today airs Rafał Blechacz's L'Isle Joyeuse by Debussy

Performance Today, US public media, on November 14 airs Blechacz's L'Isle Joyeuse by Debussy, from Schwetzingen Festival, Schwetzingen, Germany, May 2011.
Usually a program of PT is available for the next seven days.

Performance Today
Go to HOUR 1 Listen.  Blechacz's performance begins at 10:00.

Nov 13, 2011

A review of the concert at Salle Pleyel Nov.11 posted on French website


Generalprobe at Salle Pleyel, Nov.11, from "Raszyn"
the photo was taken by an orchestra member

A review posted on Andanteconanima dated Nov.13 of the concert at Salle Pleyel, Nov.11 when Rafał Blechacz played Chopin's Concerto No.2 with Sinfonia Varsovia directed by Grzegorz Nowak.

Andanteconanima website
Reference to Blechacz's playing is in the 2nd half of the post.

Especially touching is this reply to the comment about the encore, Mazurka op 17 in A minor.

"Un très beau moment, en effet, vous avez raison ! Très musicale, tantôt douloureuse, tantôt violente, et avec de somptueuses harmonies… Mais quand on écoute cette pièce après ses trois soeurs du même opus 17, sous les doigts du même Rafal, c’est peut-être encore plus beau".

"A beautiful moment, in fact, you're right! Very musical, sometimes painful, sometimes violent, and with sumptuous harmonies ... But when you listen to the piece after its three sisters op. 17, under the fingers of Rafał, it supposedly becomes even more beautiful".


*************************************************************
From Culture.pl-France Facebook
"En direct du concert Salle Pleyel...magnifique! Rafał Blechacz est vraiment exceptionnel! Bravo a lui et au Sinfonia Varsovia!"

 "Live from the Salle Pleyel concert ... beautiful! Rafał Blechacz is truly exceptional! Bravo to him and the Sinfonia Varsovia!" (21:23 Nov.11 via mobile)

*************************************************************
From De la note à la plume, an impression by Carmen (France) who attended the concert.
You can see photos of the hall before the concert begins.

"Fantastique, la prestation de Rafał Blechacz ce vendredi 11 novembre à la Salle Pleyel à Paris ! Suspendue à ses mains, la salle archi-pleine retenait son souffle..."

"Fantastic!....suspended by his hands, the entire house held its breath....."


**This concert at Salle Pleyel was recorded and will be broadcast by France Musique on Jan. 11, 2012 at 14:00 (local time).  (Thanks to Carmen for the info.)


**For new readers of this blog, you can hear the Mazurka in A minor op.17 from this NPR website that Blechacz played on March 2, 2010 at NPR studio in Washington DC while giving an interview to Fred Child.  The interview is also very interesting; he explains about Mazurkas by Chopin extensively.





Nov 12, 2011

Beautiful Polish night at Salle Pleyel

Rafał Blechacz played Chopin's concerto in F minor with Sinfonia Varsovia directed by Grzegorz Nowak at Salle Pleyel, Paris, on November 11.


"Tonight at Salle Pleyel, Paris, Rafał played Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Sinfonia Varsovia under Grzegorz Nowak. After he finished (he played in the 1st part) he got a huge applause and a loud vocal expression of admiration. The ovation was going on and on until he played an encore. The shouting and clapping resumed afterwards and did not stop until he played another. For encores he chose Polonaise As-dur and Mazurka a-moll op. 17. Beautiful evening with Rafał and his music for all those present at Salle Pleyel!"
(R.F.)


(Program)
Karol Szymanowski Concert - Ouverture opus 12
Frédéric Chopin Concerto pour piano n° 2
Felix Mendelssohn Symphonie n° 4 "Italienne"

**This was his last concert of this year.  Thank you Rafał Blechacz!


from Chopin 2010 website, playing the Chopin's concerto
in Poznań, Poland, May 2010, other photos are viewable



Report by PAP site about the concert.

(excerpt of interview with Blechacz and Nowak)
Immediately after the concert, Rafał Blechacz said in an interview with PAP, that before the concert at the prestigious Salle Pleyel, he didn’t get particularly nervous but rather very "excited". He explained that on the day of the concert he would concentrate solely on music, avoiding all other activities that might distract him, such as interviews for the media.

Grzegorz Nowak noted after the Friday's concert that "the orchestra was great, and Rafał proved to be excellent”. "I played with Rafał Blechacz for the first time and we had only one rehearsal just before the concert. Time was limited, but mutual understanding was gained immediately”, said Nowak.

Polskamuza
"Tickets have been sold out long ago".

Nov 11, 2011

A review of Rafał Blechacz's recital in Tonhalle Zürich by Neue Zürcher Zeitung

A review of Rafał Blechacz's recital in Tonhalle Zürich by Neue Zürcher Zeitung dated November 9.


Poetic virtuosity 

Rafał Blechacz in Tonhalle Zürich
by Jürg Huber

A warm-up piece, certainly. However, already the Variations "Lison dormait" KV 264 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart let the Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz flash his qualities: the perfect fluency and the ability to evoke feelings with lightweight hands. The Piano Sonata No.1 in C minor is weightier in the claim in which Karol Szymanowski exerts his whole proficiency at the beginning of his career as composer. Indeed the virtuoso should often beat the keyboard thunderously, which Blechacz did not disguise. However he shaped islands of contemplation in-between, gave the minuet bell-like sound and pointed out the impressionist traits, which are found especially in the introduction of the finale. Guided towards Szymanowski, in 1904, Claude Debussy also composed a piece "L'Isle Joyeuse," which Blechacz equipped with sparkling colors. The distinctive galloping rhythm in the second portion was in a way from a taste of the polonaise, which should follow after the break.

So Blechacz was at this Meisterinterpreten- Konzert in the Tonhalle Zurich arriving with his core repertoire: Frédéric Chopin. The Polish-French composer positions as godfather for his remarkable career, which the 26-year-old pianist can already show. Because the winning of the Warsaw Chopin Competition in 2005 had the gates to the great concert halls open for him and gave him a contract with Deutsche Grammophon. With good reason, as his Chopin playing proved. It is powerful, and fascinates simultaneously by smooth elegance, by coolheaded virtuosity, without neglecting deep contemplation. Especially impressive was the formation of the energy gradient in the two ballads, and Opus 23 proved him the master of subtle rubato at the same time. In the first of two polonaise, Opus 26, he revived the individual voices carefully, in B major portion of the second, he found very own poetry that flowed through the four Mazurkas Op 41.


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

(Original German text)

Poetische Virtuosität 

Rafał Blechacz in der Tonhalle Zürich
Jürg Huber

Ein Aufwärmstück, gewiss. Doch schon in denVariationen über «Lison dormait»KV 264 vonWolfgang Amadeus Mozart liess der polnische Pianist Rafał Blechacz seine Qualitäten aufblitzen: eine perfekte Geläufigkeit und die Gabe, mit leichter Hand Stimmungen hervorzuzaubern. Gewichtiger im Anspruch ist die Klaviersonate Nr. 1 in c-Moll, in der Karol Szymanowski zu Beginn seiner Komponistenlaufbahn sein ganzes Können aufbietet. Zwar schlägt das Virtuose oft genug um in Tastendonner, was Blechacz nicht verheimlichte. Dazwischen aber gestaltete er Inseln der Einkehr, verlieh er dem Menuett glockenhellen Klang und strich er die impressionistischen Züge heraus, die besonders in der Introduktion des Finales zu finden sind. Zu Szymanowski hingeführt hatte Claude Debussys ebenfalls im Jahr 1904 komponiertes Stück «L’isle joyeuse», das Blechacz mit sprühenden Farben versah. Der ausgeprägt galoppierende Rhythmus im zweiten Teil gab gleichsam einen Vorgeschmack ab auf die Polonaisen, die nach der Pause folgen sollten.

Damit war Blechacz an diesem Meisterinterpreten- Konzert in der Zürcher Tonhalle bei seinem Kernrepertoire angekommen: Frédéric Chopin. Der polnisch-französische Komponist stand Pate für die beachtliche Karriere, die der 26-jährige Pianist bereits vorweisen kann. Denn der Gewinn des Warschauer Chopin-Wettbewerbes 2005 hat ihm die Tore zu den grossen Konzertsälen geöffnet und ihm einen Vertrag mit der Deutschen Grammophon beschert. Mit gutem Grund, wie sein Chopin- Spiel bewies. Es ist kraftvoll und besticht gleichzeitig durch geschmeidige Eleganz, ist von unaufgeregter Virtuosität, ohne das Grüblerische zu vernachlässigen. Besonders beeindruckte die Gestaltung des Energieverlaufs in den beiden Balladen op. 23, die ihn zugleich als Meister des subtilen Rubatospiels zeigten. In der ersten der beiden Polonaisen op. 26 belebte er die einzelnen Stimmen sorgsam; im H-Dur-Teil der zweiten fand er zu ganz eigener Poesie, die auch die vier Mazurken op. 41 durchströmte.

Nov 9, 2011

Rafał Blechacz returns to Salle Pleyel, Nov. 11

On November 11, Rafał Blechacz will appear at Salle Pleyel to perform Chopin's concerto in F minor with Sinfonia Varsovia (dir.Grzegorz Nowak) for the concert to be held in connection with Poland's presidency of EU.
It will be his last concert in 2011.


Salle Pleyel program page

(quote)
The winner of the 2005 Chopin Competition in Warsaw, Rafał Blechacz, then twenty years old, deeply impressed both the jury and the public. Since then, he has confirmed that he knows how to find the right tone, lyricism without affectation, which suits works of Chopin. After recording it under the direction of Jerzy Semkow, he interpretes here the Concerto in F minor, along with the Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by Grzegorz Nowak. If the program assumes a certain national tone, in addition to Chopin, a rare page of Karol Szymanowski is also inscribed at the heart of Europe, a cosmopolitan Europe where art and music flow freely. Nourished by impressions from a trip to Italy - unavoidable destination for romantics – the fourth symphony by Mendelssohn, who at the same time resurrected the masterpieces of Bach, is one of the most perfect illustrations.

(Program)
Karol Szymanowski Concert - Ouverture opus 12
Frédéric Chopin Concerto pour piano n° 2
Felix Mendelssohn Symphonie n° 4 "Italienne"

(unquote)

preview "Concert exceptionnel de Rafał Blechacz et du Sinfonia Varsovia"

preview on Le Figaro
"One cannot change the team who wins! Between the young pianist Rafał Blechacz and his compatriot Chopin, the history continues since ten years ago......"

Institut Polonais Paris
culture.pl  (Polish)
culture.pl2 

Nov 5, 2011

Overwhelming standing ovation in Victoria Hall, Geneva

On November 4 @20:00, Rafal Blechacz held a recital at the Victoria Hall, Geneva.

"Rafał played his recital in Geneva's Victoria Hall tonight. He likes this concert hall very much. And he played again there to a big applause bordering a tumultuous rage! Already after the first part there were shoutings and thunderous ovation. Not to mention after the finale: standing ovation and huge applause. He played two encores: a mazurka and Polonaise As-dur".
(R.F.)

List of " Les Grands Interprètes"  

Brochure of Les Grands Interprètes (PDF)
Blechacz is on the 5th page.

Slide show of Victoria Hall
To see next picture, click "suviant"





Nov 3, 2011

Ovation in Fribourg

St.Nicolas Cathedral, Fribourg

On Nov. 2 Rafał Blechacz gave a recital at Aula de l'Université Fribourg, Switzerland.

"Again very good news about Rafał's recital! It was tonight in Fribourg, l'Université de Fribourg, Aula Magna. After each part there was a huge applause for Rafał. The public were very much moved experiencing his artistry and sensibility of his playing. He played two encores for them: Waltz a-moll No. 2, op. 34 and Mazurka e-moll No. 2, op. 17".
(R.F.)


***
This is a comment that a German fan left on this blog just today, about Blechacz's recital in Munich on Oct.8).

"..... I'm still oberwhelmed. Rafał Blechacz caught me and I hope I can manage to hear him again (maybe Stuttgart or Heidelberg)! If you hear Rafał for one time, you won't be quiet until you've heard him for another time.

It was a wonderful experience, after the Ballade no. 2 there was silence. Nobody moved, nobody sneezed, nobody applaused, we sat there...and...I've no words for it!"


Thanks for sharing how you felt at that precious quiet moment at the end of Ballade in F major.

Oct 29, 2011

To Switzerland

Rafał Blechacz will give three recitals in Switzerland in early November.


From Fribourg University's website
November 2 @Aula de l'Université Fribourg

November 4 @Victoria Hall, Geneva 

November 7 @Tonhalle, Zurich

These are the venues inviting Blechacz time and again.




@Tonhalle, Zurich, March 2010

Oct 28, 2011

Review of Blechacz's playing Chopin's concerto in F minor in London (2)

A review written by Peter Reed posted on Classicalsource.com.

(Quote related to Blechacz's playing)

Apparently quite a few people asked for refunds when they discovered that Maria João Pires had withdrawn from this concert. That’s their loss, because they missed an outstanding performance of the Chopin from the 26-year-old Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz. We and the LPO were lucky to get him. Blechacz has been developing an impressive career since he swept the board at the 2005 Chopin Competition, and you can hear why he’s being spoken of in the same breath as his fellow Pole, Krystian Zimerman – although he’s yet to assume the latter’s aristocratic poise and personality.

The elements that made the Chopin such a pleasure were his tactful assertion of ‘soloist’s rights’ – this is not a concerto for first among equals the definition of his playing and the clarity of his wide-ranging sound. On the back of these, other aspects of his impressive, non-showy technique and a natural, pragmatic musicianship fell into place – an unmannered feel for rubato, a tensile litheness powering the velvety lyricism and irrepressible, fluid decorations, and an infectious generosity of style and personality. He was very impressive, as was Jaap van Zweden in infusing the conventional orchestration with an unusual degree of breadth and colour. Blechacz’s encore, Chopin’s last, unfinished Mazurka, was a delight.
(Unquote)

Queen Elizabeth Hall /Royal Festival Hall

London Symphony Orchestra's blog refers to these two reviews and quotes this paragraph from The Guardian.

“The finale was best of all, Blechacz giving the dance rhythms an irresistible swing. If this was a public, formal dance, then his mazurka encore was a private one, nonchalant and breezy but silky smooth.”

Review of Blechacz's playing Chopin's concerto in F by The Guardian, London

This is a review of the concert in which Rafał Blechacz played Chopin's piano concerto in F minor with the London Symphony Orchestra under Jaap van Zwedenat at the Royal Festival Hall on October 26, posted on the website of The Guardian.  Blechacz accepted the request to play on this day with a very short notice to replace Maria João Pires.

Original review by The Guardian
Written by Erica Jeal

(Quote of the part related to Blechacz's performance)

"Six years ago, Rafal Blechacz cleaned up at the Chopin piano competition in Warsaw, taking home every prize on offer, yet at 26 he is still a relatively unknown quantity in UK concert halls. Even here, he was a late stand-in; and, while he is not the same kind of pianist as Maria João Pires, he made those who returned their tickets when they learnt that Pires wouldn't be playing look pretty foolish.


Feb.22, 2010 Chopin's Birthday, Warsaw
 In Blechacz's hands, Chopin's showy Piano Concerto No 2 sounded easy. At times, almost too easy – some of the more restless, repetitive writing of the first movement came out sounding like a technical exercise. Yet this was only during the rare moments when the piano was in a supporting role. Whenever the melody passed to Blechacz, he handled it with care, and it is rare to hear this music sound so unencumbered by its own fiendishness.**

 The second movement didn't feel at all slow, and even if Blechacz did not quite realise its potential for breath-holding stillness, it still had a dreamy quality. The finale was best of all, Blechacz giving the dance rhythms an irresistible swing. If this was a public, formal dance, then his mazurka encore was a private one, nonchalant and breezy but silky smooth."
(Unquote)

Oct 26, 2011

Blechacz to perform Chopin's Concerto with London Philharmonic Orchestra, Oct 26 /interviewed by BBC3

Rafał Blechacz will play Chopin's concerto in F minor with London Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Jaap van Zweden at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

program page
(Quote)
"Due to illness, Maria João Pires has withdrawn from this concert at short notice, and has been replaced by Rafał Blechacz, winner of the 15th Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw in 2005."
(Unquote)

On Oct. 25, Blechacz did a rehearsal with the orchestra at the Robert Wood Hall.  He also was interviewed by BBC3 (@1:20 after Haydn and @1:34) and performed mazurkas (A flat major and E minor from Op.41) live.
(Presented by Sean Rafferty)

Another link to the same program of BBC3

**Attention! BBC's program is available only for the next seven days.  So the program Blechacz joined will be audible until the end of this month!

Rafał Blechacz @BBC3

London Philharmonic Orchestra's blog post about the change of the soloist
Pianist Magazine article about the change of the soloist

If I remember correctly, this is his second appearance at the Royal Festival Hall in London.  The first one was on Nov.11, 2008, playing Chopin's concerto in E minor. (conductor: Charles Dutoit)
 Read a review.

His last appearance in London was on Dec.7, 2010, giving a recital at Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Read a review.

Rafał Blechacz in Atlanta, March 6, 2010

I happened to find this article earlier this month.  Rafał Blechacz at the reception after his recital at at Spivey Hall, Clayton State University, Atlanta, Georgia.  The reception was organized in his honor by Friends of Spivey Hall Society, National Public Radio-Georgia, and Samuel C. Dixon, Artistic Director of Spivey Hall.

Read the original article, "Rafał Blechacz at Spivey Hall".



Related posts:
Blechacz's incredible Bach amazed Atlantans. 
Blechacz in Atlanta, March 6.

Oct 22, 2011

It was six years ago today

Rafał Blechacz won the 2005 Chopin Competition in Warsaw in an unprecedented manner (late at night on Oct.21, 2005 or early morning on Oct.22).
The entire universe agreed that Blechacz is the best interpreter of Frédéric Chopin on this planet, the verdict remains true until today.

And it remains a very special day for his fans.














For his fan, especially recent readers of this blog,
"The Winner Rafał Blechacz (video)", produced by TVP and ARTE.

*********
Two Japanese fans who made it to the recitals in Dortmund (Oct. 14) and Berlin (Oct. 17) sent me a comment.

"We were fortunate to be able to attend Rafał's recitals twice in a few days period.  We loved both;  he played beautifully in the intimate, heart-warming ambience in Dortmund and in a bit crisp and tense atmosphere in Berlin.  For us it was a right decision to go there.  We are really very much looking forward to seeing him again during his 2013 Japan tour!"

*********
It let me remember another Japanese fan who went to his recital at Salle Pleyel, on June 7, commenting;

"My husband and I were present at Salle Pleyel recital by Rafał, so I was sepcially delighted to see the photos on that day on the blog.  We were deeply impressed by his wonderful playing and became full of life."

Many thanks to you for the comments (and sorry for the big delay!)

Oct 19, 2011

Review of Blechacz's recital in Berlin (2)

Posted on Berliner Morgenpost

Original review (German)


If you cannot see the review, this is the copy.↓


Kammermusiksaal: Pianist Rafal Blechacz fühlt sich wie zuhause

Mittwoch, 19. Oktober 2011 03:17

Mit knappen kontrollierten Bewegungen, wie aus dem Ärmel geschüttelt, kann der schmächtige Pianist seine Klangwelten kreieren und ebenso schnell wieder ersterben lassen. Das Publikum kann nur dasitzen, staunen und ihn am Ende feiern.

 Rafal Blechacz ist ein Geheimtipp, nach wie vor, was beiläufig den dürftig besetzten Kammermusiksaal erklärt. Dabei steht der junge Pole in einer Reihe mit den ganz Großen wie Pollini, Argerich oder Pogorelich. Letzterer bekam allerdings beim elitären Warschauer Chopin-Wettbewerb, der nur alle fünf Jahre stattfindet, keinen Preis, was einst zum Skandal führte. Blechacz bekam ihn 2005 einmütig. Genau genommen ist Blechacz ein pianistisches Landei, 1985 in Nakel geboren und abseits der großen Musikerschmieden herangereift. Aber Chopins Musik ist seine Kinderstube. Bei den vier Mazurken aus op. 17 fühlt er sich ganz zuhause - und so kann sich der brillante Techniker Freiheiten in der Akzentuierung herausnehmen. Seine ganz eigene Art des kühlen Sezierens von Gefühlszuständen überträgt er auch auf andere Komponisten. Bachs Partita Nr. 1 B-Dur gewinnt an Farbtiefe, Szymanowskis c-Moll-Sonate an Leichtigkeit, Debussys Suite "Für das Klavier" an Fülle, einzig Mozarts neun Variationen KV 264 - der uneitle Blechacz hat nichts mit Manierismen - hat einige Längen..