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Mar 31, 2012

Klara's 10 selection (Belgium)

Music editors of Radio Klara, Belgium, selected Klara's top 10 CDs of this week.
Rafał Blechacz's Debussy Szymanowski is selected first, given five stars.

Click "Lees Meer" and you can read the review written by Bart Tijstens.
He writes,
"This is without doubt one of the CDs of the year!"


Klara 10 page (Dutch)
English by google translate.

Klara's 10 will be broadcast on March 31 @13:00.









This is without doubt one of the CDs of the year!

On his previous three CDs for Deutsche Grammophon the young Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz played works of Frederic Chopin and the three great Viennese classical masters: Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart. That experience is an excellent step to him for this new recording containing music of Claude Debussy and the Polish composer Karol Szymanowski. For Blechacz, according to the CD booklet, Debussy is an impressionist who has borrowed his structural virtues from Classicism and then continued to work out to translate it into the language of musical modernism.

The Debussy of Blechacz is downright impressive. The Prelude and Toccata from "Pour le piano" sound powerful, brilliant and vivid. What a technique, what a piano sound, what a wonderful, sparkling touch! The middle part, the Sarabande, gets an elegant, noble and serious approach. And the next work, "Estampes", seems even more astounding run: Pagodas bathed in wondrous Oriental (gamelan!) sounds, and "La Soiree dans Grenade" Blechacz shows sovereign mastery in making colors and controlling volumes.

From Blechacz’s compatriot Karol Szymanowski, two of more accessible works follow: the Prelude and Fugue in C sharp, and the first piano sonata op.8, the least played of the three of this composer. Blechacz seems also in this emotionally charged and expressionist music (in which also traces of Bach and Chopin emerge) to be excellent and feel at home. With a strong combination of youthful enthusiasm and a great poetic sensitivity he brings unity, tension, and again a stunning technical mastery (the double fugue in the finale) in this sonata.

Bart Tijskens

CD review by LeTemps (Geneva)

Review of CD Debussy Szymanowski, written by Julian Sykes, LeTemps, dated March 30.


http://www.letemps.ch/Page/Uuid/9dad3d80-7a85-11e1-95ab-2d726865a361/Debussy__Szymanowski_Pour_le_piano_Estampesetc.
If you can't reach the review page of LeTemps, the text is shown below. 


(Quote)
With this new disc, Rafał Blechacz, 26, asserts himself with more audacity than in his previous recordings. We have always appreciated the delicacy of the Polish pianist, his elegance that expresses with Chopin his purity of soul and his royal vein (the Preludes Op 28). We could regret a style sometimes too smooth and controlled, especially in his CD dedicated to Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. This disc that intersects the art of Debussy, for whom we celebrate 150th birthday, and that of Karol Szymanowski, Polish composer, shows himself more fiery and inclined to take some risks.

This does not prevent some dryness. Rafał Blechacz plays Debussy with a rejection of any fog. The use of the pedal is parsimonious; everything is clear, with a touch of rubato almost Chopinesque at times. What he lacks is a dose of sensuality. Is it due to his touch, his pianistic technique very "digital" (we do not find the weight or greasiness of Claudio Arrau there), or the recording of clinical sound? It is striking in the first part of the compilation Pour le piano ("Prelude"). There is a beautiful impetus, but the sound seems a bit dull and insular. The "Sarabande" is very well done - a fine study of timbres - and the "Toccata" is carved with a scalpel, with accumulative effects of sound. Rafał Blechacz adopts tempo allant for Estampes. He seeks to advance the discourse, hustles the flow in "Soirée dans Grenade" more torrid and nervous rather than evocative.  "Jardins sous la pluie" impresses by the neatness of the line. L’Isle joyeuse spins a little faster, but the inflections are flexible and well conducted.

Indeed, both works of Szymanowski that complete this recital alone are worth buying the CD. In addition to the Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor, Rafał Blechacz chose the Sonata in C minor Op 8. He throws himself wholeheartedly into this early work with a relatively classical form, but full of fever and emotional ourbursts. The pianistic capability is significant. Magnificent and bewitching.
(Unquote)



CLASSIQUE Vendredi30 mars 2012


Debussy – Szymanowski, «Pour le piano», «Estampes», etc.

Julian Sykes
Rafal Blechacz, 26 ans, célèbre le compositeur français qu’il juxtapose à Karol Szymanowski
Genre: classique
Réalisateurs: Debussy – Szymanowski
Titre: Pour le piano, Estampes, etc.
Studio: (Deutsche Grammophon/Universal)

VVVVV
Avec ce nouveau disque, Rafal Blechacz, 26 ans, s’affirme avec plus de cran que dans ses enregistrements précédents. On a toujours apprécié la finesse du pianiste polonais, cette élégance qui rendait à Chopin sa pureté d’âme et sa veine princière (les Préludes Op. 28). On a pu regretter un style trop lisse et maîtrisé parfois, en particulier dans son CD consacré à Haydn, Mozart et Beethoven. Ce disque qui croise l’art de Debussy, dont on célèbre le 150e anniversaire de la naissance, et de Karol Szymanowski, compositeur polonais, le montre plus fougueux et enclin à prendre des risques.
Ce qui n’empêche pas une certaine sécheresse. Rafal Blechacz joue Debussy avec un refus de toute brume. L’utilisation de la pédale est parcimonieuse; tout est clair, avec une touche de rubato presque chopinien par instants. Ce qu’il manque, c’est une dose de sensualité. Est-ce dû à son toucher, à sa technique pianistique très «digitale» (on n’y trouve pas le poids ou le gras d’un Claudio Arrau) ou à une prise de son clinique?
C’est frappant dans la première pièce du recueil Pour le piano («Prélude»). Il y a un bel élan, mais le son paraît un peu mat et étriqué. La «Sarabande» est très bien réalisée – une fine étude de timbres – et la «Toccata» est ciselée au scalpel, avec des effets d’accumulation du son. Rafal Blechacz adopte des tempi allants pour Estampes. Il cherche à faire avancer le discours, bouscule le débit dans «Soirée dans Grenade» plus torride et nerveux qu’évocateur. «Jardins sous la pluie» impressionne par la netteté du trait. L’Isle joyeuse file un peu vite, mais les inflexions sont souples et bien menées.
A vrai dire, les deux œuvres de Szymanowski qui complètent ce récital valent à elles seules l’achat du CD. Outre le Prélude et Fugue en ut dièse mineur , Rafal Blechacz a choisi la Sonate en ut mineur Op. 8 . Il se jette à corps perdu dans cette œuvre de jeunesse à la forme assez classique, mais pleine de fièvre et de débordements. Les moyens pianistiques sont considérables. Magnifique et envoûtant.


*****
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 www.blechaczinfo.com

Mar 30, 2012

Review of CD Debussy Szymanowski by Diapason (France)

Review of Rafał Blechacz's CD Debussy Szymanowski by Bertrand Boissard for Diapason, April 2012.
This disc is awarded "5 de diapason".



When interviewed in the publication of his debut album in the wake of his victory at Warsaw Chopin Competition, Rafał Blechacz confided his love of another piano colorist, that of Debussy, to whom he dedicates today his playing that is absolutely clear and pearly, fine, of firmness and splendid strength. The vibrant beginning of Pour le piano exudes healthiness. La Sarabande impresses all the more because it doesn't move and, although performed with a scalpel, la Toccata dazzles.


Pagodes of Estampes seduces with control of sonority. This reading then admits its limits at Soirée dans Grenade devoid of superb languor. However, we salute his beautiful eager introduction, almost feverish. One can imagine further breathing in the suites of chords, passion in the expression. Pianistically beautiful, Jardins sous la pluie makes water heard 'sharp': it rains halberds. L’ Isle joyeuse is not the sonorous orgy as expected: it lacks grand gesture, the basses do not explode, everything seems too quickly carried out.


For many, the two works by Szymanowski bears the aspect of revelation. In the Prelude and Fugue, Blechacz escapes pesante and little nuanced reading by Stefanski (Adda), and respects with discernment the indication of rubato, hence rendering a living and incarnate interpretation. In the Sonata Op.8, a piece of youth that won a prize at the Competition for Chopin in 1910, the pianist shows an amazing maturity. His considerable virtuosity - he never carries it as a banner - allows him to take sharp tempos and control many pitfalls of the score, especially in the frenzied Allegro moderato, which resembles the early Scriabin. What a slap, with the finale! After majestic chords introducing the legendary atmosphere comes the fugue, played with absolute clarity, particularly by the left hand. Martin Jones (Nimbus) seems a bit messy in comparison. Only drawback (bémol) in these Szymanowski: a trend of dryness.  A little bit of greasiness in the sound would have done more justice to the many indications of "con passione" and "amoroso."


Uneven but quite breathtaking, the album confirms the prominent place that the Polish pianist occupies among the artists of his generation.
(End)

**********

(French)
Interviewé à la parution de son premier disque, dans la foulée de sa victoire au concours Chopin de Varsovie, Rafał Blechacz confiait son amour pour un autre piano coloriste, celui de Debussy, qu’il honore aujourd’hui d’un jeu absolument clair et perlé, millimétré, d’une fermeté et d’une force splendides. Le début vibrionnant de Pour le piano respire la santé. La Sarabande impressionne plus qu’elle n’ émeut et, bien que jouée au scalpel, la Toccata éblouit.

Les Pagodes des Estampes séduisent par le contrôle de la sonorité. Cette relecture avoue ses limites lors d’une Soirée dans Grenade dénuée de ses superbes langueurs. Néanmoins, saluons sa belle introduction impatiente, presque fébrile. On peut imaginer davantage de respiration dans les suites d’accords, de passion dans l’expression. Magnifiques pianistiquement, les Jardins sous la pluie font entendre une eau ‘tranchante’ : il y pleut des hallebardes. L’Isle joyeuse n’est pas l’orgie sonore attendue : manque le grand geste, les basses n’explosent pas, tout semble trop rapidement mené.

Pour beaucoup, les deux oeuvres de Szymanowski feront figure de révélation. Dans le Prélude et fugue, Blechacz échappe à la lecture plutôt pesante et peu nuancée de Stefanski (Adda), et respecte avec discernement l’indication rubato ; d’où une interprétation vivante et incarnée. Dans la Sonate op.8, page de jeunesse qui remporta un prix au Concours Chopin de 1910, le pianiste démontre une étonnante maturité. Sa virtuosité considérable- qu’il ne porte jamais comme un étendard – lui permet de prendre des tempos vifs et de maîtriser les nombreuses embuches de la partition, en particulier au sein de l’Allegro moderato échevelé, qui ressemble au premier Scriabine. Quelle claque, avec le finale ! Après des accords majestueux introduisant une atmosphère légendaire arrive la fugue, jouée avec une absolue clarté, notamment à la main gauche. Martin Jones (Nimbus) semble un peu brouillon en comparaison. Seul bémol dans ces Szymanowski : une tendance à la sécheresse. Un peu de gras dans le son aurait davantage rendu justice aux nombreuses indications con passione et amoroso.

Inégal mais assez époustouflant, l’album confirme la place éminente qu’occupe le pianiste polonais parmi les artiste de sa génération.
(End of French review)

**********
I was looking for bio of Bertrand Boissard and visited this video where Boissard gives review. It has nothing to do with Blechacz's disc but the performance is interesting.


**********
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 www.blechaczinfo.com





Mar 29, 2012

Recital review by Luxemburger Wort (Luxembourg)


Review of Rafał Blechacz's recital @Luxembourg Philharmonie, March 21, 2102
by Johannes Schmidt,  Luxemburger Wort, March 23

A gifted interpreter of Chopin
Pianist Rafał Blechacz with a wide-range of program













Ein begnadeter Chopin-Interpret
Pianist Rafał Blechacz mit einem breit gefächerten Programm

Von Johannes Schmidt

Der junge Pole, dem sein spektakulärer Erfolg beim Warschauer Chopin-Wettbewerb 2005 aller Voraussicht nach eine große Saal der Philharmonie schien jedenfalls ausverkauft – gehört sicher nicht zu der mit Leistungssportlern vergleichbaren Spezies der Pianisten, die ihr Vitruosentum auf dem Präsentierteller vor sich hertragen.  Im Gegenteil: „Ganz nah am Komponisten!“ So lautet fast unisono das Lob der Kritiker für seine interpretationen.

Und doch ist man geneigt, sein Luxemburger Konzert, was Programm und Ausführung angeht, in Pflicht vor der Pause und Kür nach der Pause zu splitten.

Rafał Blechacz ist dabei, sein Repertoire nach fast allen Stilrichtungen auszuweiten.  Sympathisch, dass er sich dabei auch um weniger häufig gespielte Stücke bemüht.  Also nicht die 1. Oder 2., sondern die 3.  Partita von Johann Sebastian Bach und nicht die Pathétique oder Mondscheinsonate, sondern die durchaus gewichtige D-Dur Sonate op.10 von Beethoven.  Und sein Zugriff auf diese Werke ist respektabel: In der Partita überzeugt vor allem die Allemande, in der er sich für Bachs Verzierungskunst Zeit lässt, aber auch den Spielfluss nicht vernachlässigt und die Wiederholungen dynamisch absetzt.  In der Sarabande bringt er Bachs Arbeit mit dem Eingangsmotiv gebührend zur Geltung, während die Gigue so hurtig abschnurrt, dass die Polyphonie des Satzes etwas zu kurz kommt.

Erstaunliche Balance
Dass Blechacz das Eingangspresto der Beethovensonate auch im Prestissimo schafft, ist ein Beweis für seine enorme Technik.  Im Largo überzeugt er aber durch eine für sein Alter erstaunliche Balance zwischen analytischer Durchdringung und Ausdrucksstärke.  Dabei klingt das Instrument auch bei vollem Ausspielen der großen dynamischen Spanne nie hart.  Im Rondo, das quasi improvisatorisch aus den ersten drei Anschlägen entwickelt ist, hätten ab und zu deutlichere Ruhepunkte die Aufmerksamkeit für Beethovens überraschende Volten erhöht.

Mit Frederic Chopins 1. Ballade begann dann die Kür. Hier ist Rafał Blechacz gleichzeitig ganz nah beim Komponisten und bei sich.  Wann hat man das Unisono der Einleitung jemals so genau nach dem Notentext (Pausen!) und schmerzerfüllt gehört?  Das der Gattung Ballade eigentümliche Nebeneinander von Epik, Dramatik und Lyrik beherrschte den gesamten Verlauf von Anfang bis Ende.  Auch in den beiden Polonäsen op.26 zeigt sich Blechacz als großartiger Mittler Chopins.  Stupend, mit welch unterschiedlichen Farben er in op.26, 2 die beiden marschartigen Nebengedanken vom düsteren Hauptthema abhebt.

Für die 1. Klaviersonate seines Landsmannes Karol Szymanowski erklimmt er souverän den Gipfel klavieristischer Möglichkeiten.  Szymanowski muss ebenfalls ein toller Pianist gewesen sein, und er lässt in diesem Jugendwerk, das wie Beethovens Hammerklaviersonate und Liszts h-Moll Sonate mit einer Fuge abschließt, beträchtlichen kompositorischen Ehrgeiz erkennen.  Unübersehbar bleibt aber ein gewisses Missverhältnis zwischen Aufwand der Mittel und Ausdruck.  Und so war man ganz froh, dass Blechacz in seinen Zugaben wieder zu Chopin zurückkehrte. 


*****
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 www.blechaczinfo.com





CD review by Neue Presse and recital in Hannover, April 16

A mini-review of CD Debussy Szymanowski by Neue Presse, in relation to the upcoming recital by Rafał Blechacz in Hannover, April 16.



Der Klavier-Romantiker 

Bisher war er auf Chopin abonniert, Rafał Blechacz, der junge Klavierstar aus Polen. Das ist bisher so gut gelaufen, dass er sich auch in so ganz andere Welten Vorwagt. Die neue CD from Deutsche Grammophon gringt Werke von Debussy und Szymanowski. Mit diesem Melancholischen Ansatz Debussy interpretieren, das hat was: Sanfter und abgeschatteter hat man die Sarabande von Debussy selten gehört, wie auch dessen Pagodes. Selbst die blitzende Toccata wird ein wenig herab gedimmt. Der Ansatz bewährt sich natürlich bei Blechacz‘ Landsmann Szymanowski besser, dessen spätromantische Sonate wird vor allem im Adagio zu einem wunderschönen Stück Salonmusik, das man bei Kerzenschein genießen sollte.

WerdenRomantiker des Klaviers live erleben möchte: Am 16. April ist Rafał Blechacz im Großen Sendesaal (20 Uhr), spielt auch Debussy und Szymanowski sowie eine Sonate von Beethoven hat begonnen.

*****
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 www.blechaczinfo.com


Mar 26, 2012

Review of CD Debussy Szymanowski (UK) / Die Zeit on-line (Germany)

Another good review from UK, posted on Musicweb-international, a website for CD, DVD reviews.
Rafał Blechacz's Debussy Szymanowski is regarded as the recording of the month.

Original review on Musicweb-international
"An altogether brilliant recital from an outstanding young pianist."
by Robert Beattie


from Deutsche Grammophon website









The review by Die Zeit that I posted on the blog with the title of "Why this is so beautiful and wise" is now available from zeit.de on-line. The article is spread to many websites in Germany and Austria.

zeit.de on-line website.
"Früh vollendet 
Der Pianist Rafał Blechacz kann mehr als großartig Chopin spielen"
(The pianist Rafał Blechacz can do more than marvelously playing Chopin)

Mar 25, 2012

CD reviews (Japan) (2)

A review written by Jiro Hamada, for Record Geijutsu (=music, art), April 2012, which gives Blechacz's CD Debussy Szymanowski the status of "specially selected disc".

*****
Record Geijutsu
After conquering the 2005 Chopin Competition in Warsaw, Rafał Blechacz has been rising in his reputation. He now shifts the gear to work on music by Debussy and Szymanowski. My guess is that he addresses Szymanowski combined with Debussy because like his predecessors such as Zimerman and Anderszewski, he feels affinity to the compatriot composer and even duties in playing his music. Also Szymanowski is certainly appropriate to juxtapose with Debussy.

From Debussy, Blechacz selected three pieces from "Pour le piano",  "Espampes", "L'Isle joyeuse" and "Clair de lune", and from Szymanowski, "Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor" and "Sonata No.1 in C minor, opus 8".

Also I suppose Blechacz selected the classical and romantic sonata produced during Szymanowski's earlier period rather than more characteristic and original work of the composer such as Metopes and Masques to let listeners appreciate merit of its own. This objective has been fully satisfied by his performance of quality musicality.

He demonstrates his excellent performance that people expect of him for Debussy, brilliant, meticulously paying attention to the smallest detail. Especially the way he expresses the image full of sensitivity in playing "Pagodes" and "Soirée dans Grenad" is fabulous.
For "Clair de lune", the final piece, Blechacz offers dedication which reads;

"This performance of Debussy's Clair de lune is specially dedicated to my audiences in Japan as a sign of my heartfelt solidarity and compassion in the face of the natural disaster that struck your country in March 2011 and its tragic consequences. - Rafał Blechacz"
(End)


Hamada's review on "Chopin Complete Preludes (2007)"
**This review was the article of this artist that I translated into English for the first time in '07, starting point of writing this website.


*****
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 www.blechaczinfo.com


Mar 24, 2012

CD reviews (Japan)

Three Japanese magazines published on March 18 have reviews of CD Debussy Szymanowski by Rafał Blechacz.

Record Geijutsu (=music, art), April 2012 gives Blechacz's CD Debussy Szymanowski the status of "specially selected disc" and has two reviews written by Jiro Hamada and Tsutomu Nasuda.

Also in this April issue, Hidekazu Yoshida, a leading critic of music, literature and arts, picks up this Blechacz's CD in his essay titled, "What is French Music -my thoughts after listening to Blechacz". Yoshida is 99 years old and his serialized essay is quite popular among readers.

In Ongaku-no-tomo (=music friend), Yoshiko Ikuma gives her thoughts on the new album;
".....Blechacz's tranquil, serene and introverted expression is effective in encompassing the whole title with noble flavor...."

Monthly Chopin also has picked up Blechacz's CD with a review by Kyoko Michishita.

I would like to post these reviews sometime soon.


*****

"sonatas- Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven" available from DG radio.
Available for one week.
3rd album is by Blechacz. His classicals are also exceptional!
(from DG newsletter)

Review of Blechacz's recital at BOZAR, Brussels, March 14 (2)

Another review of Blechacz's recital at BOZAR, Brussels, March 14, written by Tim De Backer and posted on klassiek-centraal.be on March 18, titled,

An amazing whirlwind at BOZAR.

Original review (Dutch)
English by google translate

Mar 23, 2012

Review of Blechacz's recital at BOZAR, Brussels, March 14

A nice review of Blechacz's recital at BOZAR, Brussels, March 14, written by Hildegart Maertens and posted on Kwadratuur, titled,

"Young genius exceeds all expectations."


Original review (Dutch)
English by google translate
English by bing translator

Mar 22, 2012

"Why this is so beautiful and wise", - review on Rafał Blechacz'sCDs (Germany)

From Die Zeit No.12, March 15, tentative English
(I posted image of original before)

German article (text)

This article is made available on-line later.  (March 26.)


Early mastery 

The pianist Rafał Blechacz can do more than marvelously playing Chopin
by Wolfram Goertz

The nation in a state of emergency. Breaking news from newspapers.  His home city is flagged, because the young man was summoned back to be crowned as Chopin's glorifier.  [The crown] long ago was regarded as lost to the virtuosos, masters of the refined technique, steed-charmers and seducers of the senses. But now music sounds all at once pure, totally authentic, the message of the music that is heard here comes from his heart, and it seems to many that Chopin himself speaks to the audience - bright, vivid, compelling and yet melancholic to the core.

In 2005, the young Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz won the Warsaw Chopin Competition, during which even janitors in Kraków, unemployed in Łódź and hostesses in Warsaw were curious about the outcome. In the end, it is about a patriotic heritage and about the greatest composer that the country has produced. Blechacz's great compatriot Krystian Zimerman won the Chopin Competition thirty years ago, since then candidates from all over the world won. Blechacz won over other contestants not just simply being convincing to the jury members; he almost took them over as his property. They awarded him the first prize and all four special prizes, and didn’t award any second prize to the humiliation of the entire participants. Conspicuously, clearly, forcefully the difference and distance can’t be unmarked. Krystian Zimerman immediately phoned to congratulate him, and when the two musicians met for the first time, they embraced each other.

Since then Blechacz is often active in his leading role as the most recent executor of Chopin's testament. He has conquered several continents, such a victory is a catapult, which lets one fly high. Nevertheless, the young man still retains amazing traction, has his origin, the modesty, always visible. Some critics now praise Blechacz for his discretion, his fundamental classical spirit. But the 26-year-old is now never settled academically. In reality, he is - and this is the spectacular - an unheard-of systematic person.


After the victory in Warsaw, Deutsche Grammophon took him under contract, to which he first gave a sensational recording of Chopin's Preludes. Then he put with sonatas by the Viennese classics, then took the two Concertos by Chopin with the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, which was awarded the Annual Prize of the German music critics - and now he has recorded works for piano by Claude Debussy and Karol Szymanowski. So the pianist goes ahead with the expansion of combat zone.

For the Chopin Competition Blechacz, the boy from the Upper Silesian village Nakel (sic. Nakel or Nakło is not in Silesia) didn’t train particularly. It appeared to him like a toll-station, which one must necessarily go through on the way to being a soloist. With his teacher Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń he had prepared the competition pieces carefully, but his future was not conditional on a prize. In 2005, he was still in the middle of studying, and for one of the best young pianists in the world, a free style in public was at first a little unreal. It speaks itself much for his ground, that Blechacz was not megalomaniac.

From the first large honoraria he purchased for himself and his family (father, mother and sister), a beautiful house in the countryside, where he still lives and works, the number of concerts each year is limited to a maximum of 40 and he stubbornly refuses, within Europe too often to sit on the plane. He manages trips to concert venues with his father in the car together - and by now, a comparison with Krystian Zimerman is very obvious. He sometimes calls from a sense of solidarity, and then Zimerman says laconically:” I am here just 25 kilometers from Madrid in a traffic jam”. Zimerman also travels in the car to all concerts and always transports his own piano in the trailer. So far Blechacz is not yet so idiosyncratic. In the meantime, he fits nicely with the engagement, accepts the instruments on the site and represents his role as Chopinist.

If you listen closely to Blechacz, you’ll recognize a singular talent that makes the most accurate idea of the sound. It was already noticed on the CD with Chopin Preludes. His playing has early mastery, something distinguished, an almost uncanny accuracy of the narrative. By no measure Blechacz is a drawing-room darling or a flattering supplier of any poetry deeply immersed in sentiments. Rather, there prevails a wonderful clarity, a flying transparency as a CT scanner drives at enormous speed around the music and touches it on its relief and its internal structures.

Through the sixteenth notes in the left hand of the G major Prelude, a pianist is hardly ever so unpadded, brilliant and pedal-free rushing as Blechacz. Even Artur Rubinstein or Martha Argerich plays the rushing, pompous. Blechacz fulfills by his flaming clear piano. Elsewhere one has an impression that the young pianist already understands the deepest secrets. As he is in dark C-sharp minor middle section of the infamous Raindrop Prelude (which he plays completely unaffected and swiftly), the middle voice melody is shaded, from which you want to declare under oath that it never occurred to you – this is the piano playing of special class. And out of the repeated deep A flat in the final part of the A-flat major Prelude, he makes a gong regularly reverberating into the unsuspected lyric from another world, and the listener is wondering why this is so beautiful and wise, no other player does.

The current Debussy Szymanowski disc resists completely the suspicion in Blechacz, that he is an excellent specialist that grows up for the romanticism. Wisely, the young Pole has waived the known cycles and instead provides Pour le Piano and Estampes, and once again his pianistic interpretations astound, looking almost to the foundation of the pieces. As he suddenly hardens the weighing of Habanera in La Soirée dans Grenade and brings to the fore an urgent bitterness by coolly knocking chord chains, that is more than Impressionism, more refined than mistiness. Blechacz shows us Debussy as a novelist, whose nuances were colored with the pencil. For him, the Frenchman is a classic, not watercolorist.

Rafał Blechacz does not surround himself with allure, he is still a guarded child of decent people who however must cope slowly with the image of the exceptional pianist.  In interviews he wraps himself in restraint and says platitudes for that. However, he who plays Szymanowski's lunatic, expressive early C minor Sonate so existential, is not a pussyfooter, but already penetrates into the expression zones of the Modern Age. Of course, the Pole Szymanowski is a dear fellow, but Blechacz has less patriotic interest: It's just fascinating music for him, and he plays it well. In the meantime, he must of course play a lot of Chopin. This is the curse of the big prize.
(End of review)


*****
In Feb. 2010, Die Zeit on-line posted its interview with Blechacz.

Interview (German)
interviewer: Corina Kolbe

**A short excerpt of this interview that I post for this blog (English).
"Chopin is much more than a melancholic."


Corina Kolbe praised Blechacz's previous album "Chopin Piano Concertos" (see quote).

“The technical mastery, subtle distribution of tempo and poetic sensibility make listening to the recording a real treat”



*****
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Visitors are asked to contact the author of this website personally before quoting any material which is exclusive to www.blechaczinfo.com




Unending ovation - Rafał Blechacz at debut recital in Luxembourg

Rafał Blechacz gave a recital at Philharmonie Luxembourg, Grand Auditorium, on March 21.

"Rafał's debut in Luxembourg turned out to be a big success tonight. Thunderous applause after the first part and more thunderous unending ovation at the end. He played two encores for the enthusiastic crowd at the Grand Auditorium of the Philharmonie Luxembourg."
(R.F.)

Mar 21, 2012

Review on CD Debussy Szymanowski (BBC Music Magazine)

BBC Music Magazine has included a review on Blechacz's CD Debussy Szymanowski in its CD review page (issue No. to be clarified), written by Christopher Dingle.


(Quote)    
This is exceptional playing

This is breathtaking. Rafał Blechacz approaches Debussy in much the same way as he plays Chopin’s Preludes. 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. It’s no surprise that Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli is among Blechacz’s heroes.

Whether this appeals or appals (?appalls) can be judged from the opening moments of the “Prelude” from Pour le piano. Fasten seatbelts, for Blechacz tears into the first few bars, then screeches to a halt to place the first bass notes, before moving through the gears, still periodically tapping the brakes when another important chord comes into view. And yet, there is nothing erratic about this – Blechacz is firmly in control throughout this dazzling and absorbing pianistic discourse. “Pagodes”, the opening piece of Estampes, has atmospherically veiled colours, while Blechacz has no difficulty controlling the weather in an exhilarating “Jardins sous la pluie”. All this is captured in sound that is excellent for CD.

The pairing with Szymanowski is effective, though it might be more telling if these pieces were interspersed with the Debussy. Blechacz is a compelling advocate, by turns introverted and impassioned, building the unresolved climaxes to searing effect. This is exceptional playing. Blechacz paints with the keyboard without sacrificing any clarity. If only he had allowed a little more air, some space to admire the music whizzing past.

by Christopher Dingle
(Unquote)


**I like this part;  "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".



************
BBC Radio 3 "Breakfast" on March 20 selected Debussy's Toccata from Pour le piano played by Blechacz at 5th place, for its SPECIALIST CLASSICAL CHART; this piece shooting up by 7 places from last week.

You can hear the BBC Radio 3 Breakfast for seven days.
Toccata by Blechacz begins at 1:49:00.


************
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Rafał Blechacz will play Beethoven No.3 at Conertgebouw, May 11

Amsterdam Concertgebouw officially announced that Rafał Blechacz will replace Maria João Pires  as a soloist for the concert to be held on May 11.

Announcement by Concertgebouw

"Due to the personal circumstances, the cooperation by pianist Maria João Pires in this concert has been canceled. The pianist Rafał Blechacz will replace her.

Rafał Blechacz.
The young Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz was taught at the Arthur Rubinstein Music School and the Music Academy in Bydgoszcz. He was winner of the world famous International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. For Deutsche Grammophon, he recorded the Preludes and Chopin's Piano Concertos as well sonatas by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. For these recordings he received prestigious awards".

Program page of May 11 (already updated)
Blechacz will play Concerto No. 3 by Beethoven
with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen,
Conductor: Trevor Pinnock.
















***** We wish Rafał a great success in the concert at Concertgebouw!! 
         

Mar 20, 2012

Blechacz's disc "Debussy Szymanowski" ranked 5th by Gramophone Magazine (UK)

Gramophone Magazine (UK) ranks Rafał Blechacz's disc "Debussy Szymanowski" 5th on its Specialist Classical Chart for the week ending March 17.

Gramophone Magazine Chart for the week ending March 17.

The rank of Blechacz's disc has entered in the chart first time on March 3, at 18th, rising to 12th on March 10.

Gramophone's Chart
















*****
This is an article from Die Zeit No.12, March 15, a German weekly, introducing Rafał Blechacz; bio and favorable evaluation of his recordings of Preludes, Debussy/Szymanowski.
For German readers♥ Click the images to enlarge; read the article of the right side.
 (Other readers, please wait....!)

p.64 of Die Zeit
Click to read article.

*****
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Visitors are asked to contact the author of this website personally before quoting any material which is exclusive to www.blechaczinfo.com



Mar 19, 2012

This audience really loves him - Rafał Blechacz in The Hague, theNetherlands

On Sunday, March 18, @14:30, Rafał Blechacz gave a recital at Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), The Hague, the Netherlands.

"The recital in The Hague in the New Church caused the public to go almost ecstatic with enthusiasm for Rafał's interpretations. They did not want to stop clapping, and clapping and welcomed him eventually with the standing ovation when he kept coming back from the back-stage to thank them for such a great applause. And he played one encore for them.

There was a crowd afterwards with the CDs queuing up to Rafał to get his autograph.

One more Rafał's big success in the Netherlands!"
(R.F.)












Rafał Blechacz and the public during the autographic session.
Courtesy: Jan Zum Vörde, attending the recital with his family who describes;
"We enjoyed it very much: the interpretations and touché are very very impressive and mature".


***********************************************************
Concertgebouw, July 2, 2009
Photo taken by his true fan from
Poland
Rafał Blechacz's next appearance in the Netherlands will be 

on May 11 when he will play Concerto No. 3 by Beethoven 


with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen,
Conductor: Trevor Pinnock,


at Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

**********************************************************




His next recital, the last one this month, will be at Philharmonie Luxembourg, Grand Auditorium, on March 21.


Grand Auditorium, Philharmonie Luxembourg













*****
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Mar 18, 2012

Review of Blechacz's CD Debussy Szymanowski (Korea)

Review of Blechacz's CD Debussy Szymanowski, written by Do Je-hae, posted on Koreantimes, March 20.

Koreantimes review site (English)
".....Blechacz's playing is characterized by its elegance, delicacy, and a poetic solemnity that has invited comparison to the legendary pianists of the early 20th century...."

**It is the first time for me to find a review from Korean website written in English.  Bravo!

Mar 17, 2012

"Thank you Rafał Blechacz...!" - review of CD Debussy Szymanowski (Japan)

Koji Shimoda, a Japanese critic, piano teacher, wrote a review of Blechacz’s disc Debussy Szymanowski recently for monthly “Record Geijutsu (=music, art), March 2012". Shimoda used to teach in Poland for years and wrote liner notes for Blechacz’s previous CDs Japanese version, “Chopin Complete Preludes” and “15th International Chopin Competition”.

(Excerpt)
Dazzling technique, noble song - I've been waiting for a disc of this class
....Szymanowski is the greatest composer since Frederic Chopin in Poland and for pianists, Szymanowski’s music should be important repertoire. Regrettably, though, his works have not often been recorded. We have an excellent disc by Piotr Anderszewski “Piano Sonata No.3, Metopes, Masques” and a fine recording of “Variation in B flat minor opus 3” by Rafał Blechacz but I wanted to have more (Note: he is describing situation in Japan). So I’m very pleased to have Blechacz’s recording of Piano Sonata No.1 in C minor opus 8.

Sonata No.1 was written in 1903-1904 when the composer was studying at the State Conservatory in Warsaw. It was his first big work. Although the cyclic form has some unpolished aspects, shades of chromatic sounds, romanticism, aspiration for virtuosity demonstrate delicate attractiveness, a unique feature of Szymanowski.

After playing Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor with solemnity, Blechacz begins to challenge the 1st movement of the Sonata magnanimously. A flawless, dazzling technique is heard in the development part. In the adagio of the 2nd movement, he shows what a noble singer he is. The Scriabinist development in the middle part is really on a grand scale. The 3rd movement is touching. The exquisite touch by Blechacz is reminiscent of a flower garden full of yellow flowers in full bloom at once when the lingering winter in Poland finally ends. The 4th movement begins with the introduction of apprehensive choral, developing in the three-voiced fugue, ending with the spectacular coda. Blechacz has this extremely difficult movement completely at his command and builds the robust, magnificent structure. Amazing!

Breathless touch, symphonic music
Blechacz is filled with aspiration in playing “Pour le piano”, a popular piece by Claude Debussy, “Espampes” and “ L’Isle Joyeuse” . He approaches these pieces from the front, generating something special about his interpretation, a bit different from French pianists. The impetuous rendering of Prelude from “Pour le piano”, the first piece of this disc may surprise some of you who are accustomed to Blechacz’s “elegant” approach. I feel this exemplifies his spirit put into this disc and it is really worth listening to. After offering the refined Sarabande, he creates in Toccata a symphonic, huge music, with his breathless touch and by playing authoritatively the musical motif in the middle. In “Estampes”, Blechacz shows his own characteristics when playing Pagodas and Soirée dans Grenad. From Jardins sous la pluie, a strong messaging can be felt. Indeed, the rain falls strongly. And his “ L’Isle Joyeuse”, youthful ebullience in a good sense.

I must say that I’ve been waiting for Blechacz’s disc of this class. The bonus track “Clair de lune” has his dedication in the context of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Thank you Rafał Blechacz…..! (with tears).
(End)


*****
Indeed, it's difficult to restrain tears when hearing the gentle and delicate interpretation of Clair de lune after that enormous music of Szymanowski's sonata.


*****
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Visitors are asked to contact the author of this website personally before quoting any material which is exclusive to www.blechaczinfo.com




Mar 16, 2012

Excellent recital in Brussels / to The Hague


On March 14, Rafał Blechacz held a recital at Palais des Beaux-Arts/Henry Le Boeuf Hall, Brussels.

"Rafał played again an excellent, beautiful recital at the Palais des Beaux-Arts / Salle Henry Le Bœuf. Big ovation after each part and standing ovation of half of the house at the end. The audience didn't want him to go! He played two encores!"
(R.F.)

*****
Bravo to our young master pianist!

This is a review by an audience member posted on a website where hundreds of members contribute contents concerning arts and books.

Original review
English by google translate

".....From the beginning of the concert, one is struck by his personality; youthful, accomplished, sensitive and above all discreet....
.....The expressiveness would be at its height in the Piano Sonata No. 1 by Karol Szymanowski, which passionately brings together a storm of feelings and sudden lulls. Chords bounce, and give way to confidence then to whispers and then to heavy vibrating pearls, all in a crescendo of rising wind...."

Blechacz's hands by Marco Anelli

Personally, I had several occasions to hear Blechacz's performances in Italy a couple of weeks ago, every time stunned and struck by the emotional connection his exceptional virtuosity brings out. Simple, clear, lyrical, intelligent, sometimes poignant. His absolute devotion to music intact. In particular, the powerful rendition of the sonata by Szymanowski was dazzling and even spectacular by means of the impeccable technique, series of emotional culminations, (also impressive was how effectively he uses underlying resources; flexibility of arms and body muscle and motor ability.) If he's been changing by experiencing many stages in different environments, this powerfulness was the most noticeable for me, from the last concert that I saw about 14 months ago; and depth of interpretation. Chopin's pieces were just "incredible". I'm still immersed in the huge beauty.


**Carmen, a French fan of Blechacz attended this recital and writes her impression with beautiful pictures of the artist while giving autographs on her blog De la note à la plume.
(Many thanks to Carmen!)



*****
On Sunday, March 18, @14:30, Blechacz will give a recital at Nieuwe Kerk, The Hague, the Netherlands.

program page





"Rafal Blechacz is one of the most exciting pianists of his generation. After his debut at the Concertgebouw, that was sold out, the Dutch daily Parool wrote: ‘divinely playing Blechacz becomes Chopin’. The Dutch daily called his playing ‘miraculously beautiful, moving and discerning.’ The ‘Polish piano wonder’ (Dutch daily De Telegraaf)’ won the prestigious Chopin Concours in Warsaw in 2005. He prepares each recital with almost religious devotion and thus achieves such a high degree of perfection. Blechacz normally performs in large concert halls. To hear him play in the intimate surroundings of the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) is a chance in a million".


*****
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Mar 14, 2012

Gramophone Magazine mentions of Blechacz's album (UK)

Gramophone Magazine (UK, Feb. 29) mentions about Rafał Blechacz's CD of Debussy Szymanowski, in its special focus on Szymanowski for the 75th anniversary of his death, written by James Jolly.
(R.F.)


"A brand-new disc from DG finds the young Polish player, Rafał Blechasz, on terrific form in the First Piano Sonata and the Prelude and Fugue in C minor (coupled with piano works by Debussy). His playing is both authoritative and poetic".

Mar 12, 2012

Rafał Blechacz talking of Szymanowski Debussy (Belgium, podcast)

From rtbf.be, you can hear the interview that Rafał Blechacz gives to Musiq3, talking about his thoughts on his album Debussy Szymanowski and Chopin. (app.19min.) The interview was held alongside with his planned recital at Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, on March 14.

Listen to the interview.
Presenter: Michel Debrocq

Another rtbf.be site to introduce Blechacz's album on March 6.
rtbf.be selects Blechacz's CD as this week's disc


*****
I'm glad that Blechacz's original voice in English is preserved intact (French translation is given consecutively after his remarks by the able interviewer. A flexibility of a multilanguage country's media?). What he talked in several Polish interviews is now expressed in English. About 85 % --90% of the readers of this website are non-Polish. ☆.。.:*・゚☆congrats☆゚・*:.。.☆^


The Sunday Times selected Blechacz's album the CD of the week (UK)

From The Sunday Times culture page dated March 11, 
(in the Quicklist on the left.  Use Ctrl+f to find the headline.)

Classical, March 11


An unforgettable disc of Rafal Blechacz playing Debussy and Szymanowski is our pick of the week, plus; Renée Fleming, Bach, and...

To read the article you needs to be a subscriber.

*****
↑According to Facebook Rafal Blechacz/Deutsche Grammophon, The Sunday Times said,

"This is an unforgettable disc from one of the pianistic giants of our time".

I feel we are very fortunate to have this album with us today when this incredible artist lives, plays, talking to audiences.

*****

I eventually obtained the full text of the review by The Sunday Times. (added March 13).
Click the image to view.

*****

This phrase is quoted as a banner on the front page of Deutsche Grammophon's website.
"This is an unforgettable disc from one of the pianistic giants of our time".





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Visitors are asked to contact the author of this website personally before quoting any material which is exclusive to www.blechaczinfo.com




Mar 11, 2012

RTVE of Spain introduces Blechacz's new album (podcast)

From La música clásica en R5, rtve.es, Spain, introducing Blechacz's new album Debussy Szymanowski.

Presenter: Jon Bandrés

La música clásica en R5 - Rafael Blechacz - March 10, 2012
"Pagodas" from Estampes.

The presenter introduces Blechacz's bio, recent collaboration with the Spanish National Orchestra in Madrid, Blechacz's new album of Debussy and Szymanowski, his remarks about the album, eg, a sharp contrast between impressionist Debussy and expressionist Szymanowski.
".....For Blechacz, Debussy was the king of color who has sought for the sound of luminous color, .....a space that can reflect the first light of the dawn....."




Blechacz and Szymanowski - March 11, 2012
Szymanowski's sonata, 4th movement

"......the characteristics of intuition, emotions and nostalgia attracted young Blechacz when he heard Szymanowski's music for the first time when he was a child.....the young pianist interpreting the important work of youth.....Blechacz delivers nobleness, security, youthful supremacy and more importantly the poetic sensitivity...".






"Gardens in the rain"- March 17, 2012

.....

Mar 10, 2012

Rafał Blechacz in Milan

From naszswiat.net, a portal for Polish people in Italy, reporting Rafał Blechacz's recital in Milan on March 6.
You can see a photo of the artist surrounded by his supporters after the recital.


naszswiat.net
English by google translate

Mar 9, 2012

Album review - by Musik und Theater (Zurich)

A review of Blechacz's CD Debussy Szymanowski, written by Werner Pfister for Musik und Theater (Zurich).
The author concludes, "I would say, for me it is the piano recording of the year. And probably even beyond".



"..... Der da Debussy (und dann auch Szymanowski) spielt, klingt im der Tat wie der legendäre ABM.  Oder wie Krystian Zimerman.  Mit kristalklarem, gewichtigem klang, der sozusagen keinen Erdenrest mehr den Unvollkommenheiten des instruments schuldet, sondern eine Welt für sich wird, eine imaginäre Architektur aus tönenden Räumen und Farben und Perspektiven.  Die pianistisch und künstlerisch gleichermassen ausgefeilte Überlegenheit von Rafal Blechacz’ Spiel, die urplötzlich in virtuose Aggressivität umschlagen kann (L’Isle joyeuse), sein luzid analytisches Klangbewusstsein und überhaupt seine (in Sachen Szymanowski durchaus wortwörtlich zu verstehende) <<muttersprachliche>> Vertrautheit mit dieser Musik lassen hier nur von einem Meilenstein, von einer Referenzaufnahme, sprechen.

Ernst und konzentriert formt er die <<Estampes>>: hellhörig und sensitive trifft er die bei Debussy immer wieder eklatante Einheit von reiner Struktur und ihrer so vielschichtigen klanglichen Materialisierung.  Jedes Motiv, jede Phase, jeder Aufschwung, jedes rhythmische Fühlen erhält seine individuelle Zeichnung: So und nicht anders.  Seitmasse, klangfarbliche Ausgestaltung und gewichtende Zuordnung von einzelnen Stimmverläufen bestätigen Takt für Takt – und Werk für Werk – die singular Meisterhand dieses jungen Pianisten.
Mit szymanowskis früher c-Moll=Sonate ging Rafal Blechaz unlängst auf Konzerttournee, stellte sie im vergangenen November auch in Zürich vor, und wer dabei war, konnte – um abermals Jurgen Otten zu zitieren - <<garnicht anders, als in arkadischen Gefilden zu schweben>>.  Seelenzauber auch hier.  Ein hoch emotionales pianistisches Kraftwerk, ein jugendlich-genialer, überschwänglicher Viersätzer, der in einer monyumentalen dreistimmigen Fuge Kulminiert, und dies in einem Klangspektrum, das nur bei Skrabin seinesgleichen findet.  Spätestens hier ist auch die vorbildliche Aufnahmetechnik zu loben, welche die sehr frei ausschwingende Dynamik dieser grossartigen Musik mit optimaler Präsenz abzubilden vermag und es gleichzeitig an Klarheit und Transparenz nirgends fehlen last.  Hätte das Jahr nicht soeben erst begonnen, so würde ich sagen; Für mich die Klavieraufnahme des Jahres.  Und vermutlich sogar darüber hinaus."

*****
Another nice review written by an audience member of the recital at Conservatorio "G. Verdi", Milan, on March 6. 
*****
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Visitors are asked to contact the author of this website personally before quoting any material which is exclusive to www.blechaczinfo.com