A review of Rafał Blechacz's recital @Beethoven-Saal, Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Liederhalle, Stuttgart on April 27,
written by Frank Armbruster for Stuttgarter Zeitung.
Deep insight into the music
For 30 years no more Pole won the Chopin Competition after Krystian Zimerman until Rafal Blechacz came up in 2005, reaping not only the first prize, but also four special prizes of the jury. Even though it is probably coincidence: that now Blechacz played the last concert of the master pianist series and Zimerman will open the new season in September, is an evocative constellation, connecting the two once more in addition to the competitive success. Not only both like to arrive in their own car to the concerts, they are also considered tenacious. While Zimerman has at times even withdrawn completely from the concert scene, Blechacz insists on not playing more than 40 concerts a year. He wants to have enough time to prepare.
This pays off when he was now heard in his acclaimed solo recital at the Beethovensaal. Blechacz begins with Bach's third Partita in A minor. Highly complex music, which preserved only geste and basic metrics from the traditional dance-forms and Blechacz discloses their contrapuntal structures with a plasticity, as is accustomed only by big Bach interpreters like Perahia or Schiff. Every voice emerges consistently articulated, as Blechacz can let individual voices evident time and again. He tones down repetitions again, plays with ornamentations. The soft-voiced Steinway sparkles like a jewel.
In Beethoven's Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op 10/3, it is above all in the Largo e mesto, where Blechacz’s singular talent is obvious. He brings the metaphysical dimension of this movement to this poignant expression throughout it, by renouncing the conventional espressivo maneuver, with which slow movements are usually charged. Blechacz trusts only the expression of the notes and text.
And then Szymanowski's First Sonata: Blechacz defines himself as an advocate for the still-underrated music of his compatriot, he plays with pianistic bravura and the border exploding impetus, which reveals the composer as soul mate of Scriabin and Liszt.
As an encore he played two of Chopin's mazurkas, in which it’s difficult to describe perfection. One must have heard it.
Another review written by Annette Eckerle for Eßlinger Zeitung
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