Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Jan 31, 2011

Flyer of Rafał Blechacz's recital in St.Paul, Minnesota February 6, 2011

Flyer of Rafał Blechacz's recital in St.Paul, Minnesota
February 6, 2011
Click♪ the photo to see the total picture

(Courtesy The Frederic Chopin Society, Minnesota)

Jan 28, 2011

Rafał Blechacz comes to U.S. and Canada

Rafał Blechacz will give concerts in six locations of the US and Canada in February.
Please let your friends, acquaintances in these cities know the news of this important opportunity.
Sincerely hope that the severe winter storm will never recur during his stay, never affect those who are going to his concert!

Recital @Sundin Music Hall, Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota
This concert has been sold out!

MOZART  Variations in C Major (“Lison dormait”), K. 264
DEBUSSY   L’Isle joyeuse
SZYMANOWSKI   Sonata No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8
Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23
2 Polonaises, Op. 26
4 Mazurkas, Op. 41
Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38

The Frederic Chopin Society program page
Sundin Music Hall

Brochure by The Chopin Society

Feb. 11
Recital @Hill Auditorium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

UMS program page, ticket
You can hear beautiful performance.

Hill Auditorium, Michigan

Chopin Concerto No.1 with Concertante (a string sextet)
@Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor

UMS program page

Rackham Auditorium, click♪

Recital @Folly Theater, Kansas City (Friends of Chamber series)
Program book
See p.72 to 75 for Blechacz's program.

Folly Theater, Kansas City

Feb.20, 2011
Recital, @Herbst Theatre,  SF

Chamber Music SF program site

Feb.22, 2011
Recital and Concertos with Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, William Eddins, conductor
@ Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
To celebrate the end of the Chopin Year on Chopin's 201th birthday!

program site, click♪
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor
Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23
2 Polonaises, Op. 26
4 Mazurkas, Op. 41
Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38


Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre
Access tour of the hall of Winspear Centre

Polonia w (Polish)
Chopin 2010 Alberta
to Chopin's birthday and
Rafał's success in US/Canada

Jan 22, 2011

Rafał Blechacz and Maurizio Pollini

From my archive, a short review of Salzburg recital in 2008 written by Ernst Naredi-Rainer, an Austrian journalist and editor of Kleine Zeitung.

A few days ago I posted the ATV video of Highlights - Das Kulturmagazin where Rafał Blechacz was interviewed alongside with his concert in Vienna and it reminded me of this review simply because it is in Austria.  Actually there were so many reviews written about Blechacz's Salzburg recital in 2008,  I couldn't afford to cover them all on this blog.

Original review on the website of Kleine Zeitung, Aug.17, 2008

Solo concerts: a prodigy and a wise master
Two winners of the Chopin competition performed the last two evenings solo recitals at the Salzburg Festival. 

Winning the Chopin Competition has pushed both pianists in an international career. Italian Maurizio Pollini had won in 1960 as a 18-year-old in Warsaw, and Pole Rafał Blechacz with 20 years in October 2005. Both picked up exclusively Deutsche Grammophon after that. If Pollini had to wait for 13 years the first invitation to the Salzburg Festival, where he has performed almost every summer since 1973, Rafał Blechacz was already entitled this year to celebrate his Salzburg debut. Of course, he played works by Frédéric Chopin, alongside with pieces by Franz Liszt. Both composers were also on the program of Maurizio Pollini. To be exhaustive, apart from the sovereign technique and the ability for sound sensualim, there are similarities  between the two artists..

Foto © AP
Rationalist. Pollini (66); after the forthcoming retirement of Alfred Brendel, the role of the great figure among the world class pianists to play comes; he played three big, dark sonatas from 1836 to 1853 in the Great Festival Hall. In Robert Schumann's Sonata in F minor from his "darkest time", in Chopin's B flat minor Sonata of apathetic and nobly interpreted funeral march, with the simple D-flat major Intermezzo fascinating, and in Franz Liszt's B minor Sonata, he clearly proved to be a rationalist analizing, prone to objectify, who doesn’t cross the boarders to passion.  In a generous mood, he reacted to the cheers with four encores.

(© Felix Broede)
Melancholy. The 23-year-old Rafał Blechacz has a striking affinity to the melancholy of Chopin. His performance seems sensible, almost precocious, but always relaxed, and no distance was made at Morzarteum with enthusiasm for Bach, Liszt and Debussy through the fresh and personal immediacy.


Jan 20, 2011

Rafał Blechacz's album of Chopin Concertos, the No.1 best seller of 2010 (Poland)

Empik, a major store chain in Poland selling books, media products such as music, films, computer software, announced the best selling products of 2010.

In the category of music, Rafał Blechacz's album "Chopin The Piano Concertos" won the the top bestseller of classical music in 2010.

Empik website

(Thanks to Konstancja for the info. She is looking forward to Rafał's concert in North America in Feb.)

↓It is nothing to do with Blechacz, but for those who might be interested in the topic.

Earlier this month, I received an e-mail from Jerzy Szkamruk of TV Project 2010, informing me of a movie about Chopin the project produced.

"The movie is about the rise of extraordinary artistic genius of young Frederic Chopin and documents his Polish years.
Ian Gillan, the vocalist of rock band Deep Purple, takes you on the journey around Poland to show how his home country and the local people helped creating one of the most prominent artist in the history of classical music.
The movie is a contemporary take on how a piece of local culture morphed into beloved treasure of European culture".

A trailer of the movie was attached.

Trailer (Youtube)

TV Project 2010 website

How many of you visiting this website for Rafał have heard of Ian Gillan?


Jan 16, 2011

ATV--Austria TV has a program introducing Rafał Blechacz (Video)

↓Now this program (video) is available from ATV archive.  (Updated on Jan. 17).  
  ATV archive (Video, German) 
  Please select the video dated 16.01.2011.
  Rafał Blechacz appears at 10:48.
  The video clip includes Blechacz's interview and the rehearsal with ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra (Conductor: Cornelius Meister) for the concert at Konzerthaus in Vienna on December 10, 2010.

On January 16 @19:00 (CET), ATV (Austria), Highlights - Das Kulturmagazin will iintroduce Rafał Blechacz.

ATV program page.
Click on 19:00  Highlights - Das Kulturmagazin, to see the description detail.

This German website has the same info.
This website about cultural events also has the program description.
See "ATV-  Highlights – Das Kulturmagazin Sonntag, 16. Jänner 2010 um 19.00 Uhr bei ATV"

"Auf den Spuren von Chopin 
Rafal Blechacz gewann 2005 den Frederic Chopin Preis in Warschau, der als wichtigster Klavierwettbewerb der Welt gilt, seitdem ist der junge Pole regelmäßig in den großen Säulen renommierter Konzerthäuser auf der ganzen Welt zu Gast auch einen Plattenvertrag mit der Deutschen Grammophon hat er bereits in der Tasche."

"In the footsteps of Chopin
 Rafal Blechacz won the 2005 Frederic Chopin Prize in Warsaw, the most important piano competition in the world.  Since then the young Pole appears regularly in the major pillars of renowned concert halls around the world as a guest..  He already has a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon in place."



Jan 13, 2011

Rafał Blechacz's performance to be aired by Polish Radio2

Rafał Blechacz's performance of Piano Concerto No.2 in A major by Franz Liszt will be broadcast by Polish Radio 2, on Friday, January 14,
@13:00 14:00 or 13:00?? (Poland local time).
The air time and program title have been changed according to the latest program page. It begins at 14:00 and the program lasts for 30 minutes.
But according to a Polish newspaper, the broadcast begins at 13:00.  
I don't know which notice is right.  We'll see...

This performance was recorded seven years ago on January 18, 2004 at Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of the Polish Radio in Warsaw.  Blechacz was 18 years old.

Franz Liszt Piano Concerto No.2 in A major
Pyotr Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64

piano solo: Rafał Blechacz, Polish Radio Orchestra, directed by Wojciech Rajski.

Polish Radio program page
To see the playlist, select 14 from the calendar on the top and go to "13:00 Trzy godziny pod słońcem" "14:00 Koncerty z pamięci" under Dwójka.

To listen to the program live, click on Dwójka.
If then you click on four arrows on the player on top-right, a separate window will pop up where you can select from WMA or Flash.

**Deep appreciation to Beata and Dana, fans of Blechacz in Poland, for informing me of the great news.

**Please be reminded that the planned broadcast is subject to sudden change/cancellation without prior notice.

**It was aired at 13:00 in the end.
The presenter explained that this performance on 18th of January 2004 took place two months after the 5th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in which Blechacz won the 2nd prize and way before the 2005 Warsaw Chopin Competition, organized by the Health Promotion Foundation, at Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of the Polish Radio in Warsaw.

I received listeners' voices who were amazed by the powerful, clear and "perfect" performance of by the 18 years old virtuoso.

Blechacz had won the award performing this concerto participating in the Polish Piano Festival in Słupsk when he was young.

“Rafał Blechacz – Starry young Lisztian.
......he demonstrated what you ought to demonstrate in these pieces: a big technique and a Romantic imagination. In other words, Mr. Blechacz is a Lisztian.
.....He is brash, smiling, and talented. Even when he's wrong, he's not boring. He obviously enjoys playing the piano, and being a phenom. I like him a lot. You will too."
(Jay Nordlinger, on Blechacz's recital at Salzburg, Aug. 2008)


Jan 10, 2011

Hypnotic silence in Berlin--interview with Rafał Blechacz

On December 11, 2010, Radio Darmstadt broadcast a music program which included an interview with Rafał Blechacz (in Polish).  The program lasts for approximately 20 minutes and the interview is for a few minutes.

Following is the Blechacz’s part translated by Marzena Jaworska, his fan in Poland.  I would like to express my deep appreciation to Marzena who already contributed her review on Rafał’s recital in Berlin (November 30).

You can hear the program from this link.

(I'll keep this link open until January 14.)


Hypnotic Silence in Berlin

The programme contains excerpts from the interview with Rafał carried out on the occasion of his debut at the Berliner Philharmonic Hall. Rafał’s recital closed the Chopin Year celebrations in Germany. The journalist Arkadiusz Łuba says that the Berliner audience, who are accustomed to listening to the crème de la crème of stage performers and therefore are extremely demanding, liked the recital very much.


A.Ł: How do you usually feel on stage? What does the audience mean to you?

R.B: The bond between the artist and his audience is crucial. It actually starts from the very first sounds, or even from the moment the artist appears on stage. It is very important to feel that you are playing for someone, not only having these four walls as your audience - which, of course, is also important when a musician is preparing for the performance, but what comes later is a great joy once he or she can present their interpretation to the wide audience.

Blechacz @Berliner Philharmonie, Nov.30, 2010
Sometimes a musician can feel the audience enter into some particular spirit. For instance, when I hear silence, a sort of hypnotic one, I know that the performance goes well, that the audience are really listening to me and following each and every sound or phrase. I remember that I had such impression when I was playing Chopin’s Mazurkas op. 17. It happened several times both Japan and Germany, last time in the Hamburger Laeiszhalle. After I finished playing the last A minor mazurka, the audience didn’t immediately applaud as usual, but remained in that particular silence for about a dozen of seconds. I must say that it was the biggest prize for me: not the applause, but the silence after the last chord, which meant that they really had indulged in the music and didn’t want to listen to any extra sounds afterwards. For me it was something exceptional and unforgettable.

On artistic intuition when playing Chopin:

R.B: There is a whole range of moods, emotions and colours in Chopin’s music, from melancholic or even depressive feelings to tremendous joy, which mainly appears in his early compositions, along with great youthful energy and apotheosis of victory. There’s no recipe for playing Chopin, as many interpretative ideas come at a given moment.

On planning his artistic future:

R.B: For now, I am planning my artistic activities in a 3-year’s advance and currently I am setting the concert dates for 2013… I must say that playing for the audience of all over the world and performing in all these great concert halls like the Concertgebouw, the Tonhalle, the Herkulessaal or the Berliner Philharmonic Hall, has always been a great dream of mine. After my winning the Chopin Competition I can do it and continue what I started back then in 2005. If I could still do it in 10- or 15-years’ time, I think I would be very happy.

  Hypnotic silence at Hamburger Laeiszhalle, Oct. 2009



Jan 8, 2011

Blechacz in Spain -- San Sebastián in 2010 and Barcelona in 2008 -- will be in Madrid, etc...


From my archive, a photo of Rafał Blechacz during his recital at Teatro Victoria Eugenia, San Sebastián, on August 27, 2010.

Teatro Victoria Eugenia, San Sebastián, on August 27, 2010

"...he transforms everything into art, in a speech built on a unique sonority that also combines logic and passion...his posture at the piano looked like an extension of the piano itself.  He made everything work in the service of music.
...the incredible maturity of the pianist who was able to talk to you one on one with a highly technical and thematic Szymanowski..... ‘L'isle joyeuse (The Island of Pleasure)’ by Debussy was fresh, appropriate in style and extremely convincing.."
(From a review of recital at Teatro Victoria Eugenia.)

Blechacz will return to Spain to perform recitals at such venues as Auditorio Nacional  de Musica, Madrid on March 22 this year; the recital at Auditorio Madrid is for the first time since May, 2007.
I looked for a review of the 2007 concert but couldn't find one.  

Instead, this is a review on his performance of the second piano concerto by Saint-Saëns at L'auditori de Barcelona on November 14, 2008.
Original review (Spanish), published by "Scherzo" December 2008 edition, from Pere Porta Concerts website.

A path to the glory 
by Javier Pérez Senz

Maturity in music does not always depend on age. In fact, some performers do not even reach maturity by the end of their lives. So the case of the young Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz (Naklo, 1985) is very special. Jumping to fame in 2005 when he won with only 20 years, the Chopin Competition in Warsaw and since then, he doesn't stop, recording two albums from Deutsche Grammophon and the best concert halls in the world have been competing for obtaining him. 

It is true that each year younger pianists with overwhelming virtuosity appear and the technique of Blechacz is indeed phenomenal, but what makes a difference between him and other rising stars is his mature expression, rare for a musician of 23 years of age . 

He has amply demonstrated it in his debut for the season of OBC (Orquestra Simfónica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya), playing a sensational version of the Concerto No. 2 by Saint-Saëns. Without vanity or eccentricities, Blechacz made full of luminosity and sonorous beauty the most famous of the five concertos by the French composer, the work with much pianistic science hidden under the jovial cape of dazzling virtuosity. In his version, of the overwhelming precision and clarity, he avoided the sentimentalism to brighten the vital impulse and the jovial character of the concerto which contains quite a few reminiscences of the best of Mendelssohn. The accompaniment of Victor Pablo Pérez was a model.

As an encore he presented a Chopin’s Mazurka expressed with exquisite poetic nuances and fair atmosphere.  

A sensational pianist, who, if things don’t twist him, will follow a path to the glory. 

Scherzo, November 2007

(The final short paragraph in the original review is a comment on the orchestral works: Gerhard and Brahms and I'm skipping it.)