A review of Rafał Blecacz's recital at L'Auditori Barcelona on November 15, posted on Revista Musical Catalana.
From Bach trough to Szymanowski, a recital by Blechacz to be remembered
By Lluís Trullén
(Introduction of Rafał Blechacz as the undisputed winner in the 2005 competition in Warsaw, selected in a very different way from the famous dispute of 1980 when Argerich left the jury,)
Blechacz's debut at the Auditorium was in November 2008, performing under the baton of Víctor Pablo Pérez, Piano Concerto no. 2 by Saint-Saëns and now four years later he is back to a recital at Sala Oriol Martorell. Blechacz, far from wanting to be listed as a Chopin specialist, gave a sample of different aesthetics, beginning with Bach's Partita in A minor and culminating in the music of Szymanowski’s first Sonata.
A seductive and magical magnetism surrounds his interpretations full of personality and destined for speedy tempo but of absolutely transparent clarity of diction. In his hands, everything must have a reason of existence. There are moments when he reaches conceptual dimension and yet so sublime that one can remember the style of legendary pianist like Pollini (incidentally, the first winner from Western Europe of the Chopin Competition in 1960), in other moments searching for depth in the pulse and in the very clean sound peculiar to Sokolov (his Bach is radically different in terms of concept, but the clarity in the implementation of sonority planes and effect of sound are identically prodigious) or even being able to delve into that sonority which is overflowing fruit of the perfect body disposition, approaching the great strength of Volodos. Blechacz never takes his eyes away from the keyboard, draws with elegance gesture always appropriate for technical necessity of the work.
The Partita no. 3, by Bach, powerfully articulated and exteriorized, reaches strength away from more conceptual other versions, but could acquire the most beautiful luminosity. Magic was in his passage through the slow movement of the Sonata op. 10 no. 3 of Beethoven, with the effects of an undeniable poetic magnetism, which contrasted with the spontaneity and naturalness appropriate to the tonality of D major shown in the other movements.
The second half had as protagonist two authors, focus of his latest recording, released in February this year: Debussy and Szymanowski. In Suite bergamasque, with his dreamy "Clair de lune" he set up a range of filtered colors, recreating the atmosphere so appropriate and magical that is necessary to exude from the music of Debussy, and his path to Sonata op. 8 of Szymanowski deployed the best of his techniques to serve the work full of chromatism, of tonal changes, of powerful elegance and which with the fugue of the final movement, exposes the pianist to complex interpretative difficulties.
Blechacz crowned the recital playing a Chopin’s waltz and mazurka, corroborating that his talent made him one of the greatest pianists of today.