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Feb 12, 2011

Review of Rafał Blechacz's recital @Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Review of Rafał Blechacz's recital @Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan on Feb. 11,
written by Susan Isaacs Nisbett for Annarbor.com, posted on Feb. 12.

Read the review from here.


(excerpt)
…Mozart that opened the program — the highly virtuosic Nine Variations in C Major on “Lison dormait,” K. 264; fast tempi were a hallmark of the evening. But he spoke clearly — occasionally there was a hole where a syllable seemed to get swallowed — and in pearly tones. His speech had balance and humor and dazzle equal to the musical writing. The playing was both effervescent and evanescent.

…Debussy’s “L’isle joyeuse,” was also notable for its clarity…his playing was wonderfully stereophonic, projecting the music’s many layers while never neglecting to direct the ear to the main event…there is brightness in his playing…brightness that from rhythmic vitality and flexibility — immeasurable assets that he used compellingly throughout the evening, with naturalness and taste combined.

In the Szymanowski, the least familiar of the works on the bill, for example, the listener could appreciate Blechacz’s utter clarity about where the interest was — who had the tune — in the complex outer movements. He was as good a guide in the inner movements — the plush Adagio and the graceful, lightly plucked Minuetto.

Chopin… the straightforward way Blechacz had of moving through a line, simplicity at its best. The directness of his playing was admirable, and so, too, was his rhythmic acuity and nuance, his sensitivity to the hierarchy of the beats.
In the first Ballade, the five-note upbeat to the first theme sounded natural in a way it rarely does…In the polonaises, Blechacz brought out inner lines and melodies; the second of the two, the e-flat minor, was stunning for the way in which Blechacz reconciled its upright carriage and its nightmare whirl. Blechacz showed that the Op. 41 mazurkas, though miniatures, are worlds in themselves, vistas that expand and fold in on themselves in no time at all. He closed with a powerful performance of the second Ballade, letting the piano ring with Chopin’s torrents and cascades before clearing the pedal for the final notes. It was a master touch. Stay tuned for more to come.
(end of excerpt)


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"I loved the recital and was impressed with Blechacz’s ability to handle the passages requiring muscular playing, without sacrificing lyricism and delicacy when that’s what the music called for. He was able to play the Szymanowski sonata in a way that held my interest throughout, and I’m not sure that would have been the case with another pianist. The Chopin was consistently beautiful and just sounded right: more youthful than many of the well-known recordings by other pianists, but never idiosyncratic"

"Thank you UMS for bringing this talented pianist to Ann Arbor. I enjoyed last night’s beautiful and ambitious program and like the previous commenters, I look forward to following Mr. Blechacz’s development as an artist".

"Fabulous performance…what a wonder it was to watch him and to hear the results of his keyboard artistry. Hope he returns soon!"


"My husband and I enjoyed the concert immensely. It was beautiful and engaging and I felt refreshed at the end — an unual feeling, late on a Friday evening in February! We look forward to more UMS appearences by Mr. Blechacz in the years to come. He should only get better!"

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