Two reviews on the concert at Philharmonie Luxembourg on March 12 when Rafał Blechacz played Beethoven's piano concerto No.2 with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. Michał Nesterowicz took the podium replacing David Zinman due to Zinman's illness.
Let me excerpt the paragraphs related to Blechacz from the reviews.
(.....) He conducted the program mainly from memory. Only to accompany the Second Piano Concerto by Beethoven, he used the score as is apparently the common practice. Soloist Rafał Blechacz, Nesterowicz’s even younger compatriot, put the first two movements in a straight classical manner, with sparkling drive in the first movement, which let us recall his excellent recording of the late Haydn sonata. Internalization shaped the Adagio despite flaring figuration from the beginning to the last reprise of simple recitative insertions by the soloist that enriched main theme.
In the finale Rondo Blechacz devotes a special attention to Beethoven’s rhythmic differentiation at the top of the theme. When does one hear the difference between syncopated emphasis on an upbeat against the downbeat so clearly highlighted?
The public's and even Blechacz's favorite encores from his body-and-stomach-composer Chopin (.....)
By Gerhard Kluth for Journal.
Trip to the Viennese Classical
(.....) In the center of the evening, however, the great symphony music, exemplified by Berlioz and Tchaikovsky didn't stand. At the central position of the concert there was a trip into the world of the Vienna classical, represented by the second piano concerto by Ludwig van Beethoven. For this B flat major Concerto, Rafał Blechacz, another artist from Poland, joined with the musicians from Switzerland. Sometimes it is good to turn a blind eye not to be distracted by trivialities in a concert. There was something funny when the big Nesterowicz of well over two meters, with the 27-year-old soloist who reached him just to the shoulder, stepped onto the stage. But as is well known, greatness has nothing to do with the body height. It was congenial, as soloist, orchestra and conductor in this Opus 19 worked together.
The orchestra was reduced almost to the chamber orchestra level, that is why the soft, light interpretation was not hindered. What Blechacz had to offer was to be convincing across the board. Technically brilliant, he kidnapped the audience into a world of dialogue between two discussing partners. Also Blechacz, who finished the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 2005 in a sensational style, still stands at the beginning of his career. Two encores, demanded from the audience, demonstrated that he was able to convince (.....)
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