Review of Rafał Blechacz's album Debussy Szymanowski, written by Nicholas Kenyon for The Observer (UK), a Sunday National paper and a sister paper of The Guardian.
Original review posted on guardian.co.uk
The young Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz won all five first prizes in the Warsaw Chopin piano competition in 2005 but has since been in and out of the limelight: this finely characterised recital will surely place him centre stage once more. His Debussy is transparent, pure, yet not lacking in depth, driven with impetus and excitement. The real finds here, however, are the two early works by Karol Szymanowski (before his music absorbed its full measure of folk influences): virtuoso pianism at full stretch. The influence of Liszt's Sonata is perhaps too evident in Szymanowski's last-movement fugue, but the music sustains a rugged individuality right through to the final slightly banal climax.
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