(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Apparently quite a few people asked for refunds when they discovered that Maria João Pires had withdrawn from this concert.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.
|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.”