Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Sep 28, 2011

Happy name day! / Interview in 2007 (2)

September 29 is a namesday for Rafał Blechacz.
(Raphael, the archangel: It is God who heals.)
A very happy name day to Rafał, wishing his continued health and success in the new season.

 To Rafał, we wish you a life full of joy. 


The interview (2) 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 in 2007 (1) 

In the wake of the Chopin Competition
The Chopin Competition was really a big challenge for me. In order to be ready for the greatest and the most prestigious piano competition, I made careful preparations for an extended period of time. Undoubtedly, the experience two years before in 2003 at the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition was useful for preparing and strengthening me physically and mentally. Hamamatsu was also hard, lasting for a long period and I had to perform time and again. That experience gave me a clue of how to apportion my energy to each stage in Warsaw.

Participating in the Chopin Competition was a great experience and I cherish a lot of good memories. After the Competition, however, I remain the same person as before winning it. There is no change to my attitude toward people and environment surrounding me. If there is something that changed, it is that I’m now well-known and popular in several countries. This naturally causes a change to my lifestyle and daily scheduling. But the biggest challenge for me is now that I won this Competition, I must always prove that I am the pianist worthy of the gold medal. Therefore, I’m destined to seek perfection for life, but we are humans with a lot of weak points and limits. If I tell you my commitment in a few words, “I will follow the same path that I have always followed, striving not to lose sight of the most important thing in my life.”

My next goal is to graduate from the Music Academy which will probably happen this summer, practice for new repertoire and have communications with those important people in the classical music world who will give me prudence and musical experience. In February this year, I stayed with Krystian Zimerman in Switzerland for five days. He was very caring about me and generously gave me advice and helped me in music. The occasion was for me “a very important workshop”.

 (To be continued.)

**My blog friend lotus-eater (Germany) posted an article of Rafał Blechacz on his name day (Namenstag)

Sep 23, 2011

Two interviews that you may have missed (video)

For those who came to know about Blechacz recently.

1  Rafał Blechacz talks about the album "Chopin The Piano Concertos".
(July, 2009)
Some of you may have missed the 2nd half of this interview, where he talks about Maestro Semkow, RCO and his career (in addition to the 1st half of the interview available in the trailer video).

2  Another interview (video) that he talks about his album "sonatas-haydn, mozart, beethoven" (summer, 2008).
Recently this video was re-posted on the website of myclassicworld with some additional description.
Interviewer: Axel Brüggemann

Watch the video.

(Excerpt of the description)
" .....Rafał Blechacz is different (from other pianists). He is a man of subtle tones. You should listen to the Polish pianist with a special attention....."
"......Currently no other young musician lets the piano sing like Rafał Blechacz. He is always on the search for the orchestral sound on the keyboard; on the search for the core of the piece that he plays; in a direct manner without embellishment. The way he goes ahead is incredibly emotional and accurate. Rafał Blechacz is a classical artist of the new generation—generation of seriousness. He leaves glossiness behind in order to take care of what is at stake: the joy of music....."

Sep 21, 2011

Blechacz playing Liszt's concerto, impression by an audience member, Brussels

I found a blog post by a Japanese who used be a concertmaster for an amateur orchestra in Tokyo and recently moved to Brussels due to a new job assignment in his organization, writing of the concert at Palais des Beaux-Arts / Salle Henry Le Bœuf on Sept. 15.

Original blog (Japanese)
You can see some photos.

(Excerpt of the part related to Rafał Blechacz’s performance.)
".....The second piece was piano concerto No.2 by Liszt, with the young Polish pianist Rafał Blechaz as the soloist. Selecting this concerto rather than No.1 was good in taste.

Blechacz, what a formidable pianist! Winning both the hall’s acoustics and the orchestra’s sound to his side, he successfully blended them to create his own music. Each sound he rendered was clear and brilliant but never a tinkling, harsh sound of attacking keys. He has a wide range of resonances, delicate and soft as well. I was astonished by the fact that he produced such various nuances in this concert hall. In phrases where the piano and the orchestra played in turn, the directivity of sounds by the pianist and the orchestra was perfectly harmonized and I felt as if there were two pianos in a favorable dialogue. He never showed off his tremendous technique, never played to the gallery excessively. He was sincere and modest in facing the music, the attitude I had a very good impression of....."

Sep 19, 2011

Web radio broadcast, Sept.19

Rafał Blechacz's recital at Salla Santa Cecilia, Parco Della Musica in Roma, March 25, will be webcast by Radio 3, Italy.

22:30, CET, September 19.

Program page

To listen to the program

Thanks to Maria Pia from Italy for the info. Grazie!!

".....And here's the talent, musicality “marcatissimo”, a spontaneous and immediate pianism, a mellow sound and well-stamped, performed with extreme naturalness by Rafał Blechacz....."
(Corriere della Sera, March 27)

Read the full review of the recital.

-- posted via iPad

Sep 16, 2011

Full success at Bozar

"Rafał played tonight at Bozar, Henry Le Boeuf Hall in Brussels with Antoni Wit, conductor, and Orchestre National de Belgique.
Program: Piano Concerto No. 2 by F. Liszt.
It was a big success and a big ovation. Rafał played an encore: Waltz a-moll op. 34 by Chopin.
He reportedly played the Rubinstein way. We can only imagine how beautiful it was!"
( R. F)

-- posted via iPad

Sep 14, 2011

Best wishes for the new season

Rafał Blechacz will begin his new 2011/2012 season on September 15 in Brussels.
He then will go to Germany, Switzerland and Paris this year.
All the best to our beloved artist!

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

Cultural Service of Polish Embassy in Belgium
"The uncontested winner of the prestigious Warsaw Chopin competition in 2005, Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz has wasted no time in revealing, behind his reserved appearance, a delicate touch, a rich imagination and, above all, a great musical heart. "
(unquote) (Dutch)
similar contents

October 7
Recital @@Kloster Polling, Bibliotheksaal, Weilheim, Germany

The cloister is located in a beautiful environment of Bavaria.

October 8, 2011
Recital @Prinzregententheater, Munich
Prinzregententheater program page
Panoramic view of the concert hall

October 14, 2011
Recital @Konzerthaus Dortmund, Großer Saal
Program page

"It is a rarity indeed so that so many outstanding young pianists aged 20-25, would set the trend to grand stages. All perform Chopin this year. However, only few of them play as well as Rafał Blechacz...".(Ruhr Nachrichten” Julia Gaβ, from the review of the recital in 2010 in Dortmund)

October 17, 2011
recital @Kammermusiksaal Philharmonie, Berlin
Berlin Philharmonic website
another ticket site

** airs Blechacz's recital in Schwetzingen (May), 14:00, September 15.

(Scheduled post)

Sep 12, 2011

Rafał Blechacz, pianist and philosopher --preview/interview (Belgium) (Sept. 12) posts a personal profile of Rafał Blechacz before the concert at Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, on September 15, when Rafał Blechacz will perform a piano concerto by Liszt with Orchestre National de Belgique (conducted by Antoni Wit) plus a mini-interview with the pianist.

Titled "Rafał Blechacz, pianist and philosopher".
Author: Martine D. Mergeay

Original article (French)

Sorry, I have NO time to convert it into English for the next week or so, but it's not complicated and a machine-translated version will give you a basic idea.

Sandrine Georges sent me the translation just after this post.
Many thanks to her for the great help and sorry for the delay to post the English translation here.  (updated on Sept. 16)

 Rafał Blechacz: Pianist and Philosopher

Original online publishing date: September 12th, 2011

 The young Pole will play Liszt with the National Orchestra of Belgium under the direction of Antoni Wit, the Belgian public having been introduced to him in 2010 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts.

 By Martine D. Mergeay

With a delicate stature, smiling, and reserved, he seems at first glance more like an agreeable child than anything else. But when he sits at the piano, the visionary musician emerges: exceptionally intimate, driven by refined technique, but willing to take risks. Doubtless, it is this combination of confidence and ability that earned his extraordinary win at the 2005 Chopin Competition in Warsaw at the age of 20. Blechacz also swept all the additional prizes for best mazurka, best concerto, best polonaise, and best sonata. The jury made a point of not awarding a second prize, giving the third prize to the two Lim brothers.

Since then, his success has been assured. In 2010, the people of the Palais des Beaux-Arts were introduced to the artist by a marvelous recital. The young Pole will be back in Brussels, invited by the National Orchestra of Belgium to play Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto.

 Blechacz gave a phone interview, beginning, “I was not born into a family of professional musicians, but there was always a piano in the house – my father played a bit as an amateur – and there was the organ in the neighborhood church where I discovered Bach. At five years old, I wanted to become an organist, but I started studying the piano in my hometown, Nakło nad Notecią and then at the Arthur Rubinstein School in Bydgoszcz, the neighboring city.” (Our interlocutor was kind enough to spell out the “artistic” names of the Polish towns.) “After two years of studying piano, the instrument had completely captured my heart. The competitions followed, notably the All-Poland Bach Competition when I was 13, the Hamamatsu competition in 2003, and of course the Warsaw Chopin Competition, the one that opened all the doors for me.

Indeed, the young pianist’s career has gone well following the Chopin Competition, but the intensive practice of the instrument, like the unremitting sports training of professional athletes, continues to consume him. But has he interests outside the piano? Well, yes. The artist continues, “In 2005, I registered at university to take classes in philosophy, particularly the philosophy of art. It has helped me a lot by developing my understanding of the world in which I live, the art I play; which is essential for all young musicians. It has also helped me settle into my career by having me realize particular rules. For example, I don’t want to play more than a certain number of concerts per year (plus or minus forty). The same goes for recording. Occasionally, I have to resist, but I usually hold on. I play new programs with relatives, friends and family in small halls or private festivals, sometimes very stimulating, before accepting more prestigious invitations.” His favorite repertoire? “The composers of ‘color’: Chopin of course, Debussy and the Impressionists, Schumann too, and Bach for the organ when I can find the time.” Contemporary music seems conspicuously absent from his list though the artist practices chamber music with pleasure.

 Rafał Blechacz will play Liszt under the direction of Antoni Wit.
 “It was Wit who directed the orchestra during the Chopin competition; he was my guardian angel.”

Sep 11, 2011

Chopin concerto in F minor, 2nd movement, by Rafał Blechacz

Deutsche Grammophon, 2009
Rafał Blechacz
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Jerzy Semkow

I felt cleansed by the beautiful rendition when passing hectic days.
A moment of soul searching.
Here is a reason why I cannot detach my heart from this artist's sound.

The way the pictures are arranged nicely in synch with the music is admirable.
Recently I travelled in Germany. This video was a reminiscent of the beautiful, peaceful scenery that I saw in the southern Bavarian region.

It also let me remember Seoul, Korea where I stayed a few days for a business trip four years ago and I spent my spare time walking along some lovely streets listening to RB's music, feeling a perfect match between sight and sound...(and soul!)

**Actually it is a landscape of Poland in autumn, according to the description by the author on Youtube.

Sep 7, 2011

Interview in 2007 (1)

From my archive,
the interview that Rafał Blechacz gave in April 2007 which was included in the program booklet of his 2007 Japan tour. I was deeply impressed by his intelligence as well as his heavenly interpretations at the concerts, including Chopin’s concerto with the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Mikhail Pletnev.

Please note that this interview was carried out more than four years ago and therefore some of his remarks are not current.

(Interviewed via e-mail by Katsuhiko Shibata)

About myself.
I began playing piano at age of five. First at the music center in Nakło, then I was enrolled in the Arthur Rubinstein Music School to continue. I was an ordinary, quiet boy-next-door, there are hundreds of boys like me everywhere, but I was very sensitive acquiring music during early childhood. For example, when I was little, back home after the holy mass, I was absorbed in reproducing on the piano carols and hymns that I'd just heard. Soon, my parents were aware of this ability and decided to direct me toward music education. I was very patient, was able to dedicate myself for long hours to a music that I heard for the first time. When I play a piece, I intuitively get into the composition and the composer’s heart, striving to find out the true interpretation through my sensitivity, understanding and emotions.

I don’t have a single composer that I like most. Whenever playing a piece, I love its composer and his composition most. Of course there are many favorite composers. I especially love Bach, Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt and Debussy. There are so many beautiful music compositions that everyone can find and experience something specially important to him.

Now I’m working hard on Preludes by Chopin that I’ll record for Deutsche Grammophon in July. Preparing for the recording is so important for me that I have almost no time to allocate for other things. But I spend my time reading many books that can expand my knowledge about the world and its heritage. Recently I read a book written by Władysław Tatarkiewicz, a famous Polish philosopher.

My personality
One cannot be objective when talking about himself. But people surrounding me often say that I am a serious, modest person. Probably it describes me nicely. My parents say that my attitude toward the music goals is maintained consistently, though it requires perseverance and untiring practice, involving sacrifices by some ways, such as giving up free time. I can say that probably it describes my strong points. Undoubtedly, the fact that I am strong in faith has helped me in my life. If I talk about my weak points, I’m not good at swimming, because I’ve had no time to acquire this technique which should be very useful and make me feel very comfortable. I want to learn swimming sometime.

My favorite words that guide me in life are trust, hope and love. No one will regret not only saying these words but practicing them. The words that I most often use in daily life are probably “thank you”, “please” and “piano”. It is just from a simple statistical viewpoint.

(To be continued)