Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


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

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Apparently quite a few people asked for refunds when they discovered that Maria João Pires had withdrawn from this concert.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

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."

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
"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."

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..

Review of Blechacz's recital in Berlin

Written by Isabel Herzfeld, posted on Der

Original review (German)

Machine-translated English

Oct 18, 2011

Overwhelming applause in Berlin

On Oct. 17, Rafał Blechacz gave a recital at the Chamber music hall of Berliner Philharmoniker, his final recital in Germany in October.

"Again Rafał played excellent recital in Philharmonie Berlin Kammermusiksaal. After the first half there was already a standing ovation. But at the end it was a thunderstorm of clapping, shouting .... all on their feet. Rafał played two encores, two mazurkas: e-moll and As-dur from op. 41".

The audience included those coming from other countries especially for the recital - from Poland and even from Japan.

I received an email requesting more of the information of Krystian Zimerman. But....let me say this is a website of Rafał Blechacz written by his fan for his fans.

Oct 15, 2011

Fantastic night in Dortmund

Rafał Blechacz gave a recital at Konzerthaus Dortmund on October 14.

"Rafał played beautifully again in Dortmund's Konzerthaus. At the end he was rewarded with a big long lasting applause. The audience stood up, the entire house on their feet, and clapping and shouting couldn't stop. Rafał thanked them by playing Chopin's Polonaise As-dur Op. 53 as an encore. Very nice piano evening in Dortmund for Rafał and for the audience!"

And on Oct. 17, he will be back to Berliner Philharmoniker, to give the final recital in Germany in October.

From program page
".......Since then, Rafał Blechacz belongs to the absolute top of the international music scene. But the hype surrounding him does not rise in his head. When he is in his home town, Nakło nad Notecią of 20,000 residensts, he plays the organ on Sundays for the holy mass with exactly the same dedication that he gives to his concerts in the world's most important concert halls. His highly acclaimed balanced rubati, richness of colors and intelligent warmth of playing made him one of the best interpreters of the younger generation."

Berlin Philharmonie program site

Oct 14, 2011

His playing immerses us in this "sweet abyss"

From Point; Polish-German Portal as of October 7.

Rafał Blechacz gives concerts in Germany

Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz will play three concerts in Germany. The program includes works by Mozart, Szymanowski, Debussy and Chopin. The last concert will be held on October 17 in Kammermusiksaal Philharmonie, Berlin.

The wide recognition in Germany was brought by Blachacz’s album "Frédéric Chopin The Piano Concertos", recorded with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam conducted by Jerzy Semkow. Released two years ago by the label "Deutsche Grammophon", the album has received excellent reviews.

 “The technical mastery, subtle distribution of tempo and poetic sensibility make listening to the recording a real treat”, Corina Kolbe from the weekly "Die Zeit" praised the album. Elisabeth Richter in a column for "NDR Kultur" recognized Blechacz’s album as worthy opening of the Chopin Year. “Blechacz’s playing has something subtle, brittle. At the same time there is an unusual elegance, lightness and effortless virtuosity.

Thanks to this album Blechacz received the "Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2010". In jury's justification of the prize one can read: "Blechach's playing, very well supported by the conductor Jerzy Semkow, entails impeccable technique and youthful vigor. A creative strength of this young interpreter is even more moving. His miraculously balanced rubato, that encompasses melodic phrases with a subtle charm, immerses us in this - to quote Heine - 'sweet abyss' that makes Chopin's art so undeniably beautiful".

October 8, Munich
October 14, Dortmund
October 17, Berlin

Oct 12, 2011

Dortmund will be thrilled and excited

From Kulturkenner

Rafał Blechacz in Konzerthaus Dortmund (Oct. 14)

In 2005, a 20-year old inconspicuous pianist set out to Warsaw in order to participate in the prestigious Chopin Competition. Rafał Blechacz came, played and won. Since then, much has happened to the life of the Pole. In all the music capitals in the world Blechacz has appeared; his debut CD published in 2007 with the 24 Préludes of Frédéric Chopin was awarded with the ECHO-Klassik. Blechacz stunned with perfect performance, sure sense of style and possibilities of formation, which added an exciting and thrilling dimension to his poetic and intimate music making. Fortunately, Blechacz cannot let Chopin go until today. For his solo recital, he also brings works of two composers, who essentially should influence his playing Chopin significantly: Mozart and Debussy.

Konzerthaus program page

He will have all of our best wishes ♫

Oct 8, 2011

Interview (Germany, podcast)

The interview that Rafał Blechacz gave to Bayerische Rundfunk-Klassik in Munich, posted on its website on Oct. 8. (Original language: Polish with German translation)

(BGM includes recordings from his albums "Chopin Complete Preludes" and "sonatas" from Deutsche Grammophon)


Rafał Blechacz, a modest, exceptional pianist.
Presenter: Agnieszka Schneider

(C)Mostly Classic, Nov.2010

Excellent recital by Rafał Blechacz, in Weilheim

“Rafał played excellent recital in Polling bei Weilheim, Kloster Polling, Bibliotheksaal tonight at 19:30. Big ovation with shoutings of admiration. He played one encore; Chopin’s nocturne cis-moll Op. posthumous and the organizer had praising words at the end expressing his gratitude for such a beauty given to the audience in Rafał's music”
(R. F, 23:32, Oct.7)

News by Portal Point on Oct.7 previewing his three concerts in Germany (Polish).

Oct 5, 2011

Wonderful concerts in Germany!



On October 8, 2011, the pianist Rafał Blechacz comes to Munich for a concert at Prinzregententheater!

In 2005, the young Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz won the first place of the Warsaw Chopin Competition in an outstanding manner. A second prize was not awarded to emphasize the unique talent of this young musician and leave it of great value.  In this context, he also received the prize donated by Krystian Zimerman for the best interpretation of sonata. The young musician convinced audience and critics not only by his musicality and his talent, but also particularly by his quiet, authentic style.

Now the 1985-born pianist is considered as one of the leading Chopin interpreters, which he will prove in his concerts in Munich (Oct.8) and Polling (Oct.7);

"Chopin can also be understood quite differently. He conveys a whole range of emotions. In his concertos, which he wrote as a young man, he puts a lot of energy. One must sense it all as an interpreter and must re-create it.”

(Source: Münchner Konzertdirektion Hörtnagel GmbH)

Another site for Polling