Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Feb 17, 2012

Klassikakzente introduces Blechacz's new album

Klassiakzente as of Feb. 17
in line with the release of the album in Germany.
Deutsche Grammophon and other on-line shops began down-loading selling of the album. (

With works of the transition to artistic maturity - Rafał Blechacz plays Debussy and Szymanowski 

The five-fold winner of the Chopin Competition in 2005 presents his long-awaited fourth album for Deutsche Grammophon with works by Claude Debussy and Karol Szymanowski.

In his typical restrained manner, Rafał Blechacz talks of the beginning of his love of the music by Karol Szymanowkski. At the age of about 12, he heard his music in a recital by pianist Jerzy Godziszewski. All sounded so beautiful, heart-breakingly beautiful, recalls the now 27 years old: the harmonic wealth, the wonderful modulations and melodies. At that time, the desire to play this music was growing in him. The first work that he studied was the variations op. 3. And since his sensational success at the Warsaw Chopin competition in 2005 he often played it in recitals. The positive reactions from the audience encouraged the pianist to let them hear more this rarely performed Polish composer's works.

Bridges over the abyss
On his new album, Rafał Blechacz will have a selection of works by Karol Szymanowski and Claude Debussy against each other. Thus, the young pianist takes a fascinating look at the creative hothouse atmosphere at the beginning of the 20th century. Debussy, born in 1862 and Szymanowski born 20 years later, both were initially infected with the Europe-wide rampant Wagner fever. But soon they felt the way of the German late Romanticism as a dead end. In the essay "L’Influence allemande sur la musique française” writes Debussy in 1903: "Wagner was a beautiful sunset that you have held for a dawn." Szymanowski also turns away, later speaks of a "deep abyss, in front of that contemporary German music stands, a chasm that had to be crossed at any price."

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Blechacz and Debussy - A perfect pairing 
Both composers open to new influences and find own ways. And for his new recording "Debussy / Szymanowski" Rafal Blechacz chose the works of transition. In the conventional Baroque suite, Debussy opens in “Pour le Piano” harmonious new territory and a new piano style of virtuosity previously unknown. You hear about Blechacz' interpretation of the Toccata. The transparency of his playing and the richness of color in his touch found their optimal counterpart in this music. "Before the Chopin competition, I played lots of music by Debussy. It has made me more sensitive for colors and shades of sound, which play an important role in Chopin's music. I am happy that after three albums for Deutsche Grammophon I can record Debussy's music, which is very close to me and also my interpretations of Chopin.” And with his recording of the percussive sounds of a Javanese Gamelan music, the reminiscent track "Pagodes" from Debussy's "Estampes" in 1903, Blechacz is an impressive example for the precision of his playing and his subtle use of the pedals. 

Impressive sovereignty 
The Dionysiac sound of "L'Isle Joyeuse" forms the link to the work by Szymanowski in the year 1909 Prelude and Fugue in c sharp minor, in which the composer, similar to Debussy, takes a Baroque form model inside to a new musical language. Especially the beginning of Prelude, so Blechacz recalls the expressionist atmosphere of some standing at the border to the atonality works of Alexander Scriabin. Blechacz finds Szymanowski's 1st Piano Sonata especially appealing. "It's full of emotions and culminations, but also full of sublime and subtle moments," he says. "In particular the minuet is interesting." "It is rich in polyphonic voice leading - melodies unfold itself both in the left and in the right hand - and full of amazing harmonic twists and turns." And thanks to an impressive sovereign creative power in spite of his age, Rafał Blechacz succeeds in putting together diverse influences and excellent ideas in this monumental, youth work of Szymanowski into a coherent and compelling whole.

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