All in finesse
Polish Rafał Blechacz came as every year to his Piano recital **** delivering his message of a remarkable musical purity. The piano all with finesse, intelligence and without ostentation. A true lesson for his colleagues in the young generation often inclined to engage in more external demonstrations.
A few days before his twenty-seventh birthday, Rafał Blechacz advances in his way towards full maturity, the road on which he has already covered the vast majority of the path. At a time when the extreme virtuosity is so often regarded as a prime value, he provides a contradictory message, that of music without unnecessary effects, sincere, sensitive, living with as much as subtle interiority, of close rapport with the keyboard.
The program is already significant, with the third Partita in A minor by Bach, Beethoven's seventh Sonata, Debussy's Suite bergamasque and Chopin’s third Sonata, the only concession to a dizzying deployment of digital skills, anyway.
The quality of touch by Blechacz is a mixture of firm precision and fluidity. Even in times when the dynamics is the most vibrant, all hardness, all violence are excluded. There is always a velvet cushion between his fingers and keyboard, which does not stifle the sound, but renders human, silky, full of light.
|A pixie with irresistible powers|
Yet it was with Suite bergamasque by Debussy that the pianistic art reached its peak tonight. With sonorities clear and iridescent as well as gracious or of mystery, he knows how to differentiate these four pieces while maintaining a unified approach to putting the sound world of Debussy at the right place in the history of literature for the piano. An alliance between the classicism and audacity, between references to the past and wide opening to discovery in a world of sound, sensual and immaterial at the same time.
About Sonata in B minor by Chopin, as much was expected, of course, we were not disappointed. Approach without violence from the beginning of the first movement, and constant desire to let poetry speak, singing in all its forms, whether with right hand or left hand, and especially, again, a unique way to build the great meditative Largo, somber, anguished with modesty.
And then, in broad strokes that appear in contrasts with the resonant outburst in the Finale, an astounding velocity that drives the piano close to possibility of the instrument and makes us forget that they are small hammers striking on the strings that produce these great streams of light. And yet, every note remains audible!
The strength of the work is there, but it relies more on the full exploitation of discoveries of writing than on purely technical effects. Kind of a pixie with irresistible powers, which some current literatures like to evoke, Rafał Blechacz remains definitely a very special case, worthy of the deepest admiration.
Review written by the same author on Blechacz's recital @Salle Pleyel in June, 2011.