Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Jul 28, 2012

Rafał Blechacz on July 21, 2012 @Menton

From Royal Monaco Web magazine,
(See more pictures from the link).

Rafał Blechacz playing Beethoven's piano concerto No.2
@Parvis of the St Michael Church, Menton,

Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo
Conductor: Roberto Abbado (nephew of Claudio)

"the surprising and eclectic Rafał Blechacz at the piano"(Royal Monaco magazine)

At a post-recital reception sponsored by the city of Menton.
".....almost instinctively he has a rapport of symbiosis with the piano when placing his long fingers on the keyboard." (Royal Monaco magazine)

**Thanks a lot to hiro (a web-savvy Japanese music fan) for feeding the link!
Hiro says Rafał may have been given his fingers by God.

Reminiscent of the hands of his compatriot composer.
(@Chopin's manor, Duszniki-Zdrój, Poland,
 from my personal photo book, June, 2008.
Chopin stayed and gave charity concerts there in the summer of 1826.)


Some of the images and literary works on this website remain the property of their owners. No copyright infringement is intended.
Visitors are asked to contact the author of this website personally before quoting any material which is exclusive to

Jul 27, 2012

Blechacz, the selected touch - preview of recital in La Roque-d'Anthéron

A preview of Blechacz's recital at the Festival of La Roque-d'Anthéron, July 23, posted on Liberation.
Original article

Blechacz, the selected touch

The promising Polish pianist with sophisticated style plays tonight at the Festival of La Roque-d'Anthéron.

by Eric Dahan

In early June in Paris, Rafał Blechacz played this program of his recital at Salle Pleyel. Five years ago, his recording of Preludes, Op. 28 by Chopin impressed. His left hand in the Prelude No. 3 in G major, without exceeding the speed of the masters, was an evidence of his care for notable characterization. Blechacz seemed to have scrutinized the text in every corner, and deployed for each of the preludes arms of attacks, gradations of dynamics and nuances of light in an incontestable sophistication. The young man was not unknown to music lovers, since he won in October 2005, the first and second prize at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. The prize is awarded every five years, which revealed once Martha Argerich and Maurizio Pollini. Some may have cried out the genius a little earlier, compared Blechacz to his compatriot Zimerman, crowned in Warsaw in 1975. After a CD of sonatas by Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart, Blechacz recorded both of Chopin’s concertos with the Concertgebouw. Still a very nice record, but not reference news.

Conscientious. This year, Blechacz distinguished himself with an album of Debussy and Szymanowski, giving a measure of his talent and his limitations. He has a sense of color and characterization, and his sonority is beautiful and clear, but in his Debussy, one hears more intentions and a determination to show timbre than natural efflorescence and resonant colors. Touch is sometimes hard and dry, or rather lack of density when Blechacz plays pianissimo. In Szymanowski, he seems to have difficulty in articulating musical speech over a long period.

With these reservations, he remains a conscientious musician, both in terms of the class of instrumental technique and that of musical poetics, which could be required in the future for such folks as Yuja Wang, Jan Lisiecki and other promising sensations of these days.

Born on June 30, 1985 in Nakło nad Notecią, Poland, Rafał Blechacz first became fascinated by the organ.

"We went to church every Sunday, and I learned the organ and I played it for the masses until I won my first piano competition at age of ten," he says. As for the piano, he went deepening it at the Music Academy in Bydgoszcz, a city where he won in 2002 the second prize in the Arthur Rubinstein Competition.

Medals. "As a child I had a dream: playing Mozart and Chopin in the whole world. Going to compete in Japan at the age of 18 motivated me even more," says he who two years later, swept in Warsaw; in addition to the gold and silver, three special awards: for the best performance of mazurka, polonaise and concerto.

Asked if he was influenced by pianists, and he answers:

"Yes, by Rubinstein for his very natural rubato that comes from the heart; by Michelangeli, who gave proof, in Beethoven, Scarlatti and Debussy's Preludes, of an ideal balance between intelligence and emotion, and finally by Paderewski, for his sound and his very natural phrasing. Among the living, I enjoyed meeting Maurizio Pollini and András Schiff. It is rewarding to be able to discuss with musicians of this level.”

If the practice of organ explains the characterization of voice, color, and sound levels that made the value of his recording of Préludes by Chopin, Blechacz gives a nuance:

 "The polyphony is certainly intensified in late compositions by Chopin, because he played the Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach so much, but the most important thing is to have a good instrument! Before each recital, I speak with the tuner, about intonation, acoustics of the hall. For my latest CD, I was looking for a piano with lots of colors, to render right sounds of Debussy, and a big sound, to give full dimension to the sonata by Szymanowski. I finally found the ideal Steinway in Hamburg. "

Tonight, for his third visit to La Roque-d'Anthéron, Blechacz has chosen a program of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Szymanowski.

Asked about his preparation, he replied:

"Belief in God helps me in my art.  I look for the time of the Mass by the Internet, even when I am in Japan.  Otherwise, I do a lot of jogging and I avoid the plane, too dehumanizing. I prefer driving to go from one concert to another.  I am very much interested in Husserl's phenomenology, and participate in seminars on the limits and freedom of musical interpretation. I think an artist must respect the composer's intentions and find a space that also allows him to express his own sensibility. Our performance is permanently changing, depending on our mood. But it is necessary to keep the composer’s style. Otherwise it’s as if composing by himself."



Jul 24, 2012

Nice weather but a hurricane-like applause - Rafał Blechacz in La Roque d’Anthéron

On July 23, Rafał Belchacz gave a recital for La Roque d’Anthéron Festival @Parc du Château de Florans.  It was the third concert he performed for the Festival.  His previous appearance was in August, 2008.

Blechacz in La Roque d'Antheron, July 23, 2012
from Festival website

"Rafał's recital tonight was excellent. From the first moments he made a very good rapport with the audience who was immersed in and mesmerized by his music. The cicadas were no disturbance at all because they almost stopped entirely in the evening. Also Rafał seemed to enjoy this rapport, the weather helped because it cooled off for the evening. Before the intermission it was already a hurricane of applause and enthusiastic shoutings "Bravo! Bravo!" After he finished it was a huge applause again, shouting and tramping on the wooden floor. And even some people stood up which is not common in France. He played two encores: Chopin's waltz a-moll and mazurka No. 2 op. 17".

(Note)The audience member observed cicadas doing their concert around the stage in the daytime.

From a preview of the recital
Crowned with the First Prize at the Chopin Competition in 2005, Rafał Blechacz continues to impress with his maturity, his depth, his ample interpretation, to the accuracy of tone, sonorous beauty and clarity of those who are called “master”.

No bluff in the interpretations of the young Polish pianist, but the rigor that is married with the virtuosity never ostentatious. This height of view, where nothing is left at random, every note and every accent seeming to have been maturely reflected, and this sophistication allied to a lot of life, is a matter for the tour de force.

Blechacz in concert, which is certainly a brilliant demonstration, so much instrumental as musical. Of the great art, in short.

Another preview
Wonderful because it includes his interview.
English will come out soon.

From the Festival's website


Jul 22, 2012

A beautiful concert in Menton, France

On July 21, Rafał Blechacz played Beethoven's piano concerto No.2 @Parvis of the St Michael Church, Menton,

Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo
Conductor: Roberto Abbado

program brochure of Menton Festival

"Rafał's interpretation of Beethoven's No. 2 was accepted with a big and long applause. He played on Yamaha concert piano. For encores he played two mazurkas. It was an open-air concert in front of the church, a little breezy and a thunder storm was upcoming but held off. The conductor Roberto Abbado (a change from Jakub Hrůša) has Claudio Abbado as his uncle."

The Parvis of the St Michael Church,
Basilica Minor, the title given by Pope John Paul II in 1999


Jul 21, 2012

American admirer of Japanese pianist and Japanese admirer of Polish pianist

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from Ms.ML Liu, an American who is a big fan of Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, the winner of 2009 Van Cliburn Competition, and has created a website for Tsujii, similar to this website for Rafał Blechacz. She happened to land on this website when searching for Tsujii's info.

See Ms. Liu's website for Nobuyuki Tsujii.

I read her website and found that we are very similar, having the same spirit of trying to share news and information of the favorite artist for him and his fans by even learning foreign languages unfamiliar so far.  I was deeply impressed by her writing, for example;

(from Ms. Liu's website)
"Since discovering Nobuyuki....., my life has been immensely enriched by this extraordinary artist. I have acquired all of his CDs and am frankly addicted to his music. I have attended numerous of his live performances on multiple continents,..... and have plans to attend many more . I consider myself fortunate to be a witness to the many accomplishments of Nobuyuki Tsujii".

I felt as if looking into the mirror. It's about me if you replace the artist name.

Encountering a great artist makes our life enriched.  Sharing his art with others is a big source of joy.  And for me, knowing that there is someone of the same soul, devoting herself to spreading music of her beloved artist is a big comfort.

When I renewed this website two years ago, I learned a lot from other websites of artists created by their fans; e.g. those of Ivo Pogorelić (Japanese), Nikolai Lugansky (English & Russian), and Mikhail Pletnev (English, Japanese & Chinese) were well organized and informative. I was impressed by the great efforts done by these listeners who’d kept on collecting data of their favorite artists for long years.

Blechacz and Tsujii, courtesy Monthly Chopin March 2006

This photo was taken in Tokyo, on January 29,  2006.  Nobuyuki Tsujii became the youngest semi-finalist of the Chopin Competition in 2005 when Blechacz won. One of the Japanese sponsor companies of the Competition gave a special award to Tsujii.  The sponsor gave the winner's award to Blechacz, who appeared at the venue because he was in Japan to perform for the Special Gala Concerts by the Competition's Laureates for about two weeks in Jan.-Feb., 2006.


Some of the images and literary works on this website remain the property of their owners. No copyright infringement is intended.
Visitors are asked to contact the author of this website personally before quoting any material which is exclusive to

Jul 19, 2012

From a review by an audience member

From a review by an audience member of the concert @Amsterdam Concertgebouw,May 11, 2012 when Blechacz played Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.3 with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen; Conductor: Trevor Pinnock.

Original review

(excerpt of the review)
Rafał Blechacz - performance of Beethoven in style

Listening to Beethoven's piano concertos with symphony orchestra it happens that we forget they represent not only development of form and compositional factors realized in each concerto by the composer, but also changes in orchestration. During a concert in Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on May 11, 2012, listeners were able to get great joy not only from the excellent performance of the third concerto by Rafał Blechacz, but performance in style by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen under the direction of Trevor Pinnock.

Trevor Pinnock is also a harpsichordist and conductor. .....

This type of execution in style determines proportion of dialogue between the concerto instrument and the rest of the team. From this experiment Blechacz emerged prevailing.

Through the stage setting of this event, you can let your imagination run wild: how this concerto could be performed in an environment of court?

The pianist of great sensitivity operated sound and pedaling from Allegro con brio-he actually performed con brio - through Largo to light and radiant Rondo Allegro with this instrumental setting.

Blechacz as always charmed the audience with his natural sensitivity, maturity and awareness of each extraction from sound of instrument. With great attention to the nuances - such as polyphonic elements. This does not mean that the concerto exhibited only style of traditional aspects. The execution didn’t emphasize archaic or romantic elements. Very well-balanced, classical, centered, as if indeed a turning point in the work of the Viennese classical concerto.

During the performance of Beethoven, the stylish harpsichord, from which Trevor Pinnock conducted throughout the first part of the evening was still on the stage near the piano. Inevitably a comparison occurs between the economical ostinato, just performed by Trevor Pinnock with the harpsichord and the wealth of resources presented by the pianist with the piano.

Although Blechacz sometimes delivered single color, as in Largo, through the dialogue with piano, there was no doubt that this is the performance with the instrument, which among all the other instruments on stage, develops a royal position, it opens a new era for keyboard instruments.

After the first part of the concert, as an encore Blechacz played Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op. 41, No. 1, leaving the audience in suspension,...

(by Marzenna Donajski, piano teacher and pianist)


Jul 16, 2012

Karol Szymanowski's website, a comprehensive website about Szymanowski.

Szymanowski website (English)
Szymanowski website (Polish)

About the composer, his life, music (literature, videos, audios), planned performances, etc...

Example:Symphonie Concertante for piano and orchestra op. 60 (excerpt)
performed by Arthur Rubinstein


Let me extend my sincere sympathy to those affected by tornadoes that hit northern Poland on weekend.

Jul 15, 2012

Two reviews on Blechacz's album Debussy Szymanowski (Japan)

These reviews were published months ago in March.
SORRY for the delay..I've been lazy.
(excuse:  I was very much overwhelmed by the huge amount of reviews from Europe in Feb.-April  and lost energy after that.  It's a testimony to the fact this CD has been enthusiastically and highly acclaimed in Europe just after its launch.)


Rafał Blechacz’s disc, released in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Debussy’s birth, Debussy: Pour le piano, Estampes, L'Isle joyeuse and Karol Szymanowski: Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor, Sonata in C minor, Op.8.

His Debussy with penetrating sound, floating texture, picturesque sense of color and poetic interpretation; the disc will surely enthrall many listeners. He then amply demonstrates the pianism full of inspirations by pairing with pieces by his compatriot composer Karol Szymanwoski he truly adores. The tranquil, serene and introverted expression by Blechacz manifests itself in the noble fragrance that pervades the whole title. His interpretation is distinguishing in that he lets fresh air drifting over each work as if it has just been written right now. The pronounced rhythm of Debussy’s works, the way to let the main subject sing and the sound of Szymanowski, mysterious or even sensual, resound in your heart. The extraordinary beauty of 'clair de lune' that he recorded especially considerate of the disaster in Japan is so beautiful that it should sanctify your soul. Through the sound, Blechacz’s pure and single-minded personality is surely felt to the point of tears.
(by Yoshiko Ikuma, for Ongaku-no-tomo, April 2012)

Courtesy Prague Spring, May 25, 2012

Rafał Blechacz, the winner of the 2005 Chopin Competition. Born in 1985, won the highest prize at the 2003 Hamamatsu Piano Competition with Alexander Kobrin, drawing high expectations to his potentiality from early on. I remember talking with his teacher who said that he used to be very interested in Debussy’s music when he was her student. The pieces of Debussy coupled with Szymanowski’s works are included in his 4th album for DG. How lively his interpretation is! In playing Debussy, rather than cherishing vague delineation of sounds, he brilliantly rolls out crystalline sounds and colors, giving dazzling luster. In Szymanowski, a wealth of sounds is heard clear and he intelligently structures the work of such a huge scale. The disc allows us to enjoy rich poetry and outpourings of delicate sensitivity.
(by Kyoko Michishita, for Monthly Chopin, April 2012)

Jul 11, 2012

Rafał Blechacz awarded ECHO Klassik 2012

Rafał Blechacz's CD Debussy Szymanowski was selected Solo Recording of the Year (piano, 20/21 centuries) of ECHO Klassik.

ECHO Award page

(Quote from ECHO Klassik)
The ECHO Klassik is one of the most renowned classical music prizes in the world and has been awarded since 1994. Every year the German Phono Akademie, the cultural institute of the German music industry association, rewards the outstanding and most successful recordings by national and international classical artists by awarding this prize in many categories. As in past years, countless stars of the classical music world are expected to attend the ECHO Klassik German Music Award ceremony in 2012.

Universal Music Germany
Universal Music Italy
Pianoinforum (German)

The award ceremony will be held at Konzerthaus Berlin on October 14, broadcast by ZDF.

**Rafał Blechacz won ECHO Klassik Award in 2008 : Instrumentalist of the Year, Piano, for his first recording from DG "Chopin Complete Preludes".
For the award-giving ceremony,  DG representative attended on Blechacz's behalf.


Jul 3, 2012

Excellent performance and big applause @Mariinsky Theatre

On June 28, Rafał Blechacz played Beethoven's piano concerto No.4 at Mariinsky Theatre's Concert Hall in Saint-Petersburg with the La Scala Orchestra under Fabio Luisi.

"Great reception by the audience, big ovation including enthusiastic loud shouting. To thank them Rafał played two encores (Chopin's pieces)".

@Mariinsky Theatre, (Courtesy Filarmonica della Scala)

Program page of Mariinsky Theatre (Blechacz)
Program page of Mariinsky Theatre

Рафал Блехач  (Rafał Blechacz) rehearsing
(Courtesy Filarmonica della Scala)

A few hours before the concert began, I saw a tweet from Valery Gergiev official twitter account that was written by Gergiev himself.

"Wishing the Orchestra @FilarmoniScala, pianist Rafał Blechacz and @FabLuisi a very warm reception at the Mariinsky Concert Hall tonight!"

Maestro Gergiev conducted at Mariinsky the previous night

Courtesy Mariinsky Theatre

Preview by a Russian site
(Beautiful pictures of this site come from the concert in Milan, May 21)

News by Itar Tass news agency
"The fourth piano concerto by Beethoven is played by the winner of the 2005 Chopin Competition Rafał Blechacz."

Interview/ review (audio) on Орфей
Review of the concert + interview with Luisi and Blechacz.

This website was found out by a Japanese fan who has a passion for classical music and an amazing net literacy;  Big thanks!!


Jul 2, 2012

Fantastic reception of Blechacz's album Debussy Szymanowski in UK, 2012

This is a derivative from previous post.  Excerpts from the reviews on Rafał Blechacz's album Debussy Szymanowski published in UK in Feb.-April this year. (courtesy Presto Classical, UK)  I added a link to the full text of each review, already posted on this blog.

Every time I found a new review, it made me happy.  When I saw The Guardian's review with perfect score, in particular, I was breathless with excitement.  I remember when, where and how I read the article, then tried to post it, doing a lot of typos, then talking about it with my acquaintances.


“[the Szymanowski is] interpreted by Blechacz in a way that brings out its ripe personal voice and responds to its dramatic breadth of architecture...The disc is worth having for the Szymanowski alone, but Blechacz’s Debussy is also a joy of limpid colour and immaculately weighed articulation, encapsulating the character and imagery of the music with a masterly and imaginative touch.” The Telegraph, 17th February 2012 *****

“He's virtuosic on Debussy's "Pour le Piano", whisking us up and down the keyboard yet allowing pre-echoes of Gershwin to creep in to its more dramatic chordings; his "Pagodes" is weightlessly evocative. There's an almost existential yearning about Szymanowski's "Prelude & Fugue in C sharp minor", while "Sonata in C minor" is complex and involving.” The Independent, 17th February 2012 ****

“this pairing of Debussy and Szymanowski confirms Blechacz is much more than a one-trick pianist; he's an artist of imagination and perception, with a fabulous range of keyboard touch and colour. There's nothing obvious or ostentatious about his playing, either...the clarity of the playing is exceptional, but so, too, is the intelligence shaping it. It's a remarkable disc.” The Guardian, 1st March 2012 *****

“Blechacz’s Debussy is little short of miraculous, revelling in the luminous textures and tintinnabulating chinoiserie of Pagodes, from Estampes, the Lisztian flourishes of Jardins sous la pluie and the Gallic sensuality of La Soirée dans Grenade and L’Isle joyeuse. This is an unforgettable disc from one of the pianistic giants of our time.” Sunday Times, 11th March 2012

“This is breathtaking...There is never any doubt that there is a personality shaping the music and he has no fear about following his interpretative instinct on the day the microphones happen to be capturing it for posterity...Blechacz paints with the keyboard without sacrificing any clarity.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2012 ****

“I thought this was going to be a a disc of two halves. In fact, it is more of a continuous journey - and a most rewarding, artfully conceived one it is, too...I love Blechacz's crisp articulation and lightly pedalled bustle in the outer movements of Pour le piano...Blechacz's [Szymanowski] has the edge on [the competition] as much for his fierce emotional engagement with the music as for the superior sound quality.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2012

“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...virtuoso pianism at full stretch.” The Observer, 29th April 2012