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Sep 15, 2013

Interview on Rzeczpospolita

A tentative English translation of the interview that R.Blechacz gave to Jacek Marczyński, posted on Rzeczpospolita on Sept. 9, the previous day of the release of his new album "Chopin Polonaises".

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The new CD by Rafał Blechacz will premiere tomorrow. Not surprisingly, the Pole proves that he entered into mature age - says Jacek Marczyński .

Blechacz’s new album remains in the range of Chopin's music. He recorded Chopin’s seven polonaises composed between 1835 and the year 1846. Among them are the most famous, almost immortal hits: Polonaise in A major and Polonaise in A flat major.

- That's right - says " Rz " Rafal Blechacz
- However, there aren't many CDs of Chopin’s complete polonaises . Artur Rubinstein recorded, for example, three at different times, recording the last one probably in 1967. And in the catalog of Deutsche Grammophon, you can find only the recording made by Maurizio Pollini 37 years ago.

This is the third Chopin CD that Rafał Blechacz publishes from Deutsche Grammophon.
 - I know the repertoire doesn’t surprise anyone - he admits.
 – I am a pianist who won the Chopin Competition. Admittedly, there were opinions that I may go away from this music for 10-15 years and then come back to it. This would be artificial. Chopin is always present in my life and I still include his works in recitals, in which I play Bach, Beethoven and Szymanowski.

About that competition, of course, he remembers it, but he has no time for recollection.
 - I am focused on expanding the repertoire for future projects - he adds. And he agrees with the opinion once expressed by Krystian Zimerman that it must take about seven years to break free from the burden of winning the competition.
 - After this period, a sense is obtained that the artistic life consists of concert activities for showing up in a different repertoire and styles, and logic leading career - says Blechacz .

He also says and I feel so that he plays in a way not to have a large ( controversial ) change compared with how he did it before.
 - Polonaise must remain polonaise, besides, I always thought to put myself behind the composer, and that has not changed. I'm a musician, for whom the most important is what he wrote, regardless of whether they left us more or less freedom of interpretation. Sometimes in a music, with the unchanged beauty given to us by the composer, it is much more difficult to include my own little beauty, personal emotions. This does not mean, however, that it is impossible. The path I have chosen is not playing something like this, if only it is different.

The biggest inspiration for me is the work itself and admiration of him. This is how I draw all the ideas of interpretation. It is the way sometimes maybe taking a little longer, but it allows you to discover the original executable solutions that are rooted in the work rather than in transient caprices or something against intention.

Although all these works have long been in the repertoire, the record was created slowly. The idea was crystallized in 2010, but then he found that entrance to the studio will be ready in about three years. He needed time to refine the polonaises on different stages under different acoustic conditions. The most important was that he wanted to present a dependable history.

- If I did not take any history lesson, reading texts by Mickiewicz, Norwid and Sienkiewicz, the interpretation of these works would have been completely different. In the Polonaise in F sharp minor, I can see - before mazurka in the middle section - marching troops. Then a short memory, reflection and sudden forte, which I always play here so that the column of soldiers is suddenly found in front of me. Then muting, but not so as to lose energy, but to create an impression of retreating army.  I don’t want to say that a pianist, who has no Polish root can’t interpret polonaise and mazurka, because the most important is personal sensibilities. But also it is our national spirit. I find Polish heritage in them.

He has many special memories of the Polonaise - Fantaisie.

- I started to play it very early, in 2006 - he says.
 - I remember the tour in Japan, I performed it in 12 recitals and I was under the impression that after each performance it was getting closer to me. It is impossible to record such an extraordinary piece without this stage experience. In the studio, you cannot create the atmosphere of concert. Sometimes, the house was so quiet that I felt that the audience entered the world of this music, which assured me that my interpretation was going to the right direction.


Several years ago, he discovered another passion besides music: philosophy. And he began studying at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń.

- Recently I made a small writing about the logic of a musical work, its importance for the interpretation on the basis of considerations of Roman Ingarden and German philosophers and musicologists – he said.

- This text will be published in "Ruch Filozoficzny (Philosophical Movement)." A scientific way for me to help. When concentrating on the logic of mazurka and polonaise, I could look at what I'm doing at the piano differently.

(Note)
*** RB talked about the philosophical article that he wrote to be published by the prestigious paper of philosophy, during another interview to Japan Arts in May this year. He said the subject of his writing was related to Ingarden’s theory. He also said that recently he is reading books of Władysław Tatarkiewicz, another Polish Philosopher, though his theory is a bit different from Ingarden’s. Blechacz mentioned of “Way Through The Aesthetic”, as an example of the books by Tatarkiewicz.***


(Note)
*** RB talked about the philosophical article that he wrote to be published by the prestigious paper of philosophy, during another interview to Japan Arts in May this year. He said the subject of his writing was related to Ingarden’s theory. He also said that recently he is reading books of Władysław Tatarkiewicz, another Polish Philosopher, though his theory is a bit different from Ingarden’s. Blechacz mentioned of “Way Through The Aesthetic”, as an example of the books by Tatarkiewicz.***





To a question of whether the scientific inquiry, however, may kill artistic spontaneity, he answers,

- Concerning this, it will be another part of my job; I’m writing about it. Freedom is not a thing that can be planned, it is as if writing in a piece of music; there are undefined places, which, for example, Ingarden points out with literary work. But there is something more that sometimes occurs during the concert: something metaphysical. At some point, we experience something completely unexpected, as in the arts it cannot be explained and named till the end. But in a sense, you can describe it, so I'll have a responsible job.

Studies combined with performances, which is not always easy.
 (explanation of his schedule in autumn)

- If I talk about myself that I am a mature pianist, it would sound immodest - he says.

- Certainly I'm more experienced than the time when I won the Chopin Competition. But at that time I was not "totally green" in my interpretations. Playing pieces in different halls and situations, however, gives me courage to stepping up various ideas of interpretation.  I hope you can hear it on the album.

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There was a beautiful interview that RB gave to Jacek Marczyński on release of his previous album "Debussy Szymanowski".  This was one of the best articles in my impression on this album among lots of articles published in early 2012.

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I'll welcome any suggestion/correction of this rudimentary English translation...thanks!



1 comment:

  1. Thank you. Now I can hear the polonaises differently.

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