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Mar 2, 2012

Review of album Debussy Szymanowski (UK)

A review of Blechacz's album Debussy Szymanowski, by Gavin Plumley, a British music journalist.

original review site

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Expressive Impressions 

How often is Debussy played like fog? Over-pedalled, labouring under rubato, the music hardly breathes. Pallid delivery can likewise rob the music of its drive. The 26-year-old Chopin Award Winner Rafał Blechacz has learned from others mistakes. Balancing voluptuous swagger with metallic reserve, his new disc of Debussy and Szymanowski is a dazzling treat.

Blechacz's clarity is immediately apparent in the opening trill of L'Isle joyeuse. Every note tells, though he doesn't stint within the ensuing cadenza. Rather than an ashen wash, Blechacz places opposing colours right next to each other. The two become doubly illuminated through the comparison, lending real tang to Estampes. And when Debussy demands a full panoply of sound, there's giddy joy to the climaxes.

Given the persistent harmonic intensity of this repertoire, Blechacz's level of detail, from miniature to epic, makes for a constantly invigorating listen. Szymanowski's counterpoint is given an aloof edge, simultaneously channeling baser passions. Witty, wild and wonderful, Blechacz is an expressive impressionist.
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