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Jan 31, 2013

Take a good rest, Rafał-san - messages from Japanese fans


Comments from fans via e-mail and tweets on news of cancellation of recitals by Rafał Blechacz in Japan.
(As of Jan. 29)


*To my regret, the recital was cancelled this time.  I'll save the good opportunity to next.  I wish Rafał-san a smooth and complete recovery.

* It's quite unfortunate as we've not seen him for a long time.  But I believe it is Rafał-san who is in the hardest time.  I want him to take his time and recover fully for his future.

* God bless you, Mr. Blechacz!

* Oh my goodness, he got flu! I've been looking forward to the recital, but he is a human so it can't be avoided.  Hope he'll take a sufficient rest.  I'll be waiting for his next appearance here.  Take care!

* I'm really sad but I would like him to take a nice long sleep.  I pray to him for a fast recovery.

* The Belechacz's recital I've been anxiously awaiting was cancelled.  It's regrettable but he is really suffering from flu symptoms unlike that guy who didn't come to Japan with a pretended sickness. He is a honest Pole, from the country I love.  Take care, Mr. Blechacz!

* Oh, no...! May I cry!? The recital by Blechacz was suspended....I've heard he is ill with flu (;_;) No! You stupid flu!


Rafał Blechacz @Yokohama, Oct. 2010 English translation

* I'm afraid the artist is in a more difficult time than we are. I'd seriously take his courageous and wise decision to heart. I think he will be able to think about the next plan for the future once he recovers from symptoms and feels better.  I can wait up till then.


* It's been announced that the remaining three concerts are in suspension.  Maybe it's impossible that these concerts are given.  Dear Blechacz-san...., it's serious if he gets worse by being pushed hard.  His health is the top priority.  I can wait until the next time.

* I completely forgot what I was supposed to do today.  Blechacz-san, take care and be better!

* Oh Blechacz!  What a pity! This silly flu~!

* I was planning to go to Blechacz's recital on Feb. 2 but I was informed of the cancellation due to his sickness with flu via e-mail and phonecall from the organizer.  Oh, what a regret. First I want him to recover and feel better....!

* OMG! Surprisingly (゚ロ゚) Blechacz got flu!  He is a human, the same as ordinary people..(゚O゚)

* The news of the cancellation of Blechacz's recital greatly shocked me.  Today I devoted myself to work, more seriously than usual and found that I made a better progress than usual.  Why?  My mother and I comforted each other and we've recovered from the shock o(^_-)O Now I'm in the mood to carry on, looking forward to his next visit to Japan in the future. I believe that Blechacz-san is more suffering than fans.

* I've been humbly and eagerly waiting for his recital, so it is really shocking.  But I would like to pray for Rafał so that he'll recover from illness as soon as possible and offer wonderful performances to his audiences around the world.

* Whaaaaaat? How pity it is! But I think it was by far the better that it happened while he was at home rather than he's already come to Japan and got sick(>人<;) Let me offer my best wishes for his complete recovery.

@Yokohama, Oct. 2010









* I was looking forward to listening to the authentic Szymanowski and Scherzo No.3, but no avail. Please take care and get better, Blechacz-san!

* I feel sympathy for Blechacz that he got flu (/ _ ; ) It's not yet clear if there is a recital in Kyoto next week but I don't want him to be forced to come and play.

* The recital by Rafał Blechacz that I'v been waiting for most anxiously this year was canceled because he has a case of influenza.  I strongly believe that he is the most precious crown-jewel in the world of piano.  All that I can do is to offer prayer to him for his complete recovery.  I do hope that he will live long to compensate the too short life of Chopin.

*****
(Note)
The concert hall of cozy atmosphere in the video is located in the suburbs of Yokohama-city, relatively small with 500 seats compared to big halls where Blechacz usually play (e.g. Suntory Hall: 2006 seats).  Usually photo-taking is prohibited during the autographic session. (e.g. @Tokyo Opera City Hall, Oct. 2010.)

Jan 30, 2013

Cancellation of recitals in Japan


Rafał Blechacz’s recitals scheduled on Feb. 1, 2, 3 and 5 in Japan have been cancelled because of the artist’s illness with flu. All of his fans in Japan sincerely wish for his speedy and complete recovery.

Announcement by Japan Arts


Jan 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Arthur Rubinstein, Jan. 28

Arthur Rubinstein (January 28, 1887 – December 20, 1982)plays Grieg, Chopin and Saint-Saëns.



London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: André Previn
1975

When performing these pieces, Rubinstein was 88 years old.
Hope that like Rubinstein and Previn, Rafał also will live long enough to play many beautiful performances, touching and uplifting hearts of us and next generations to come.
He has more than 60 years to go (*゚ー゚*)R.
Wishing his continued health and success...


Jan 24, 2013

Music 2012 Top 5 by Culture.pl

Culture.pl, Music 2012 Top 5 selects the highlights of Poland's musical season around the world in 2012.  The article concludes by mentioning about Rafał Blechacz's album "Debussy Szymanowski";

"(.....) In early February the Deutsche Grammophon label released a recording of musical prodigy Rafał Blechacz performing poetic renditions of Karol Szymanowski and Claude Debussy. Critics have praised his luminous interpretations, which carry a balanced blend of lucidity and virtuosity. The pianist has referred to Debussy as an Impressionist that draws his virtues from Classicism and allowed them to evolve into a distinct and iridescent musical vision".

"Chopin Piano Works" by Rafał Blechacz to be released, Jan.30

CDs "Chopin Piano Works" by Rafał Blechacz will be released by Victor Entertainment Japan on Jan.30.  The pair of CDs is a renewal version of the CD "15th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition".

Yoshiko Ikuma, a Japanese music journalist has written liner notes for the CDs.
She is one of the enthusiasts of Blechacz and has interviewed him many times.  She says in her blog,

"My favorite pianist Rafał Blechacz will come.  I'll be in Nantes in the first several days of February but  if possible I'd like to interview Blechacz after back to Japan."

"I listened to the recording when I received it from the publisher.  His performance touched my heart again.  And I want to hear it again.  I don't know why I never get tired of listening to his music..."

Victor Entertainment website

amazon.com ←Will be made available outside of Japan. Release date not yet decided.


Jan 20, 2013

Rafał Blechacz's message to audience in Osaka


The photo is from the cover page of "Sinfonia", newsletter for members of The Symphony Hall, Osaka where Rafał Blechacz gives a recital on Sunday, February 3.

It contains an interview with Blechacz, excerpt from the whole interview that he gave to his management agency in Asia in November.

Interview (Japanese)

In the interview he talks about pieces by Szymanowski, Beethoven and Chopin and concludes with message to the audience in Osaka.

"(.....) Congratulations for the 30th anniversary of The Symphony Hall.  I'm very glad to be able to perform in the hall again.  It was in November 2006 when I played there for the first time.  I came back in 2009.  Before that, I remember playing Chopin's concerto with Maestro Mikhail Pletnev and his orchestra - I think it was in 2007.  I also played on the day of anniversary of Chopin's death in 2010.  I'm happy to play at the hall with good acoustics.
The atmosphere is very nice.  As a performer, I had a wonderful feeling both in my recital and the concert with the orchestra, surrounded by hospitable audience.  I remember the audience was very polite, furthermore, you had a deep understanding of the music that was being played.  I felt how concentrated you were while listening to me.  I knew you always tried to 'listen to my music'.  I'm looking forward to performing the pieces that I mentioned in this interview in the hall including the one from my latest CD."

*****
The whole interview (1) (Japanese) About Szymanowski, Beethoven and Chopin
The whole interview (2) (Japanese) About Bach, Organ and philosophy

The interview was held (by phone) on November 16.  It has been circulated by the agency and the relevant concert halls in Tokyo, Yokohama, Saitama and Osaka, making his fans very happy and ready to attend his recital.

A fan, a working mother of two who loves playing pieces of Chopin and is looking forward to the recital in Osaka said,
"I sincerely hope that he is coming to Japan in good health, without involved in any incident."

Jan 17, 2013

ABC Classic FM broadcasts Blechacz's recital, Jan. 17

ABC Classic FM is going to broadcast Rafał Blechacz's recital in Fribourg (Nov. 2011)

21:20 - 23:00, Jan. 17 (local time)

↑ 11:20 - 13:00 (CET) ** Hoping that I'm not wrong about the time difference.

ABC Classic FM, Australia program page

This recital has been broadcast time and again by broadcasters in Europe, but let me post it because it's relatively rare that Australian radio airs Blechacz's performance.


** Because of the small time difference between Melbourne and Japan, quite a few Japanese fans were able to enjoy Rafał's performance last night at our prime time.  Usually broadcasting from Europe takes place at our midnight to dawn and it's difficult to stay awake. Thanks to ABC Australia!!

"I was able to hear his Chopin! It gave me energy.  I'm ready for Rafał's performances next month (´∀`)" (A fan living in Hokkaido who needs to fly to Tokyo three times for Rafał's concerts).
 (Jan.18)

Jan 16, 2013

Celebrating great Polish composer Witold Lutosławski's centennial - Krystian Zimerman

Earlier this week, I happened to see this poster of Singapore Symphony Orchestra season 2012/13, at the entrance of Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore during my short stay there for business trip.  I found out that Krystian Zimerman played piano concerto by Witold Lutosławski in the Singapore's hall on Jan.5, 2013. I then browsed the Internet and found that Zimerman will play this piece several times this year in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Polish composer's birth.



For example;
Jan. 20  with Luzerner Sinfonie Orchester, conductor; James Gaffigan @KKL Luzern Konzertsaal
Jan. 24  with Orchestre de Paris, conductor: Paavo Järvi @Salle Pleyel
Jan. 30  with Philharmania Orchestra, conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen @Royal Festival Hall
Feb. 6,7,8 with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, conductor David Zinman @Tonhalle Zürich
Feb. 14,15,16 with Berliner Philharmoniker, conductor Simon Rattle @Berliner Phliharmonie

Review of the performance at Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore, by Straits Times.

Witold Lutosławski (January 25, 1913 – February 7, 1994)


The piano concerto was dedicated by Lutosławski to Zimerman. Its world premiere was in Salzburg, done by the composer himself in August 1988. 

Some of the conductors/orchestras above-mentioned, Rafał Blechacz played with (or will play with); David Zinman in Feb, for example.  Zinman is now in Japan, conducting NHK Symphony Orchestra.  The performance was live-broadcast by NHK twice, including piano concerto No.2 by Brahms, soloist; Hélène Grimaud today. 

I remember Blechacz said in an interview with a Polish media given just after he recorded Chopin's two concertos with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra that in 2006 when he played Chopin's E-minor concerto with David Zinman and Tonhalle-Orchestra in Zürich, the maestro instructed the orchestra members to listen to Zimerman's legendary recording (1999),  Blechacz knew Zimerman's earlier recording, too and he said "they prove how a pianist matures during long years". 

"(....) My interpretation is more youthful in the positive sense of the word. I wanted to express myself. It is difficult to say what inspired me in Zimerman's performances. Certainly I was marked by the interpretation of both third movements by Rubinstein (.....)". (Rafał Blechacz, 2009)

at Hotel pod Orłem, July 2009


** I was fortunate to attend a concert in Tokyo in Nov. 2008 when Zimernan played this piece by Lutosławski with a Japanese Orchestra (conductor:Myung-Whun Chung)

Jan 11, 2013

Rafał Blechacz on July 21, 2012

I was doing e-mail chatting with a music lover from Poland about this festival, browsed and happened to find this photo from FB Festival de Musique de Menton, where Rafał Blechacz played Beethoven piano concerto No. 2 with Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, directed by Roberto Abbado @Parvis of the St Michael Church, Menton, on July 21, 2012.

A nice photo, isn't it?

Jan 9, 2013

Blechacz's CD, recording of distinction by Hi-Fi i Muzyka (Poland)

Recordings of the Year 2012 have been selected by editors of magazine Hi-Fi i Muzyka.
Rafał Blechacz's "Debussy Szymanowski" was selected as one of the recordings of distinction.

cameralmusic.pl

(Quote)
Distinction
Debussy, Szymanowski
Rafał Blechacz
Deutsche Grammophon, Universal

Review: HFiM 2/2012

Sophisticated in every detail of the disc, in which it is managed to build a shimmering aura of momentary mood. Piano for Blechacz is the same as paint and brush for the greatest painters of impressionism and expressionism. Although almost a year has passed since the album’s release, the impression lasts.
(Unquote)



Jan 5, 2013

impressive words by Blechacz (2012)

"Making music is a search for the right balance between what the music requires and taking your own artistic freedom." (Rafał Blechacz)

This is a fragment from the interview that Blechacz gave to NRC of the Netherlands in March 2012 in the following context.

(Quote)
".....To compare musicians in a competition is discordant with the nature of the music. " His individuality is sacred to him, says Blechacz. “Deepening in a piece of music as a personal adventure and experience it. "

To study of the identity of the music, he devotes his free time. He studied philosophy, with an emphasis on aesthetics and music philosophy. Look, he points out, the writings of the Polish phenomenologist / aesthete Roman Ingarden are always in his book bag. “Ingarden said interesting things about the identity of musical compositions. The problems he mentions touch on the questions I ask when interpreting musician, about interpretation, hermeneutics and the role of metaphysics for example. Why? Take Polonaise fantasia Op 61 of Chopin. Such a piece of music calls, and that goes for many great music, a strong metaphysical feeling – both for listeners and for performers. Sometimes I experience that sensation, sometimes I force myself to realize what and when that happens in me."

The need to point and identify thoughts and emotions during my playing is artistically very fruitful, he means “Władysław Strózewski, a student of Ingarden, wrote that the finding of a good interpretation is always a dialectical process, depending on growth and changes within the psyche of the artist. Making music is a search for the right balance between what the music requires and taking your own artistic freedom - as it were, between the notes on. "

And then Blechacz gets back in the car, on to the next concert. “But of course I look forward to them," he says. “The life I lead is full of everything I loved as a child from a performance of a concert: the atmosphere of tense anticipation, especially." With a smile: “Now people are waiting for my interpretations. And the concert halls rooms are bigger."
(Unquote)












This was one of the most impressive parts of the interviews that Blechacz gave last year.  Every word was too important for me to round off to make a summary.

Another impressive fragment was from this interview that he gave for Polish media in Jan. 2012.

(Quote)
".....I am impressed with the text by Roman Ingarden, who writes that the role of a listener, who has the perception of the music experience, should be active. This is largely dependent on the sensitivity, but also some knowledge and attitudes. If the good will from listeners who perceive music is missing, a desire to experience something beautiful or something that may prove to be a metaphysical experience, it will not be a good effect.

Music can also in some way, shape morality; if we treat some religious works such as Bach’s cantata, a transformation of personality of the listener could happen. A piece of music has such power, obvious connotations, evokes emotions, directs some reflection or action.

The role of listeners who perceive the music is absolutely important.

The vocation of artist is essential to keep this in mind – the artist performs for another human, for his heart, mind, and in a sense, for his life".
(Unquote)


** If there is a role that a listener can play for the performance for positive experience such as learning knowledge and attitude, I'm willing to make an improvement.

Japanese

*****
Recently I received e-mails from new/anonymous readers; one mail apparently was addressed to Rafał Blechacz with words of admiration for his artistry (calling him angel) and another was written in French meticulously praising Blechacz's performances of Polonaise, Sonata and Waltz by Chopin at the Competition (regrettable that I don't find time to translate it for sharing).  I would like to thank them for expressing eager support of the artist and his art by means of mails to this blog that is written by his fan supported by other fans for the artist and for all the music lovers.








*****
Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall, a home concerthall of The Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra Rafał Blechacz played with twice in the past (at 2003 Hamamatsu Competition and for the special concert in 2010 Chopin Year→ ), will reopen in April, after going through two-year reconstruction work from destruction by the big earthquake in March 2011.  The hall recovered its good acoustics, ready for big events including an orchestra week in autumn featuring concerts by Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw and Berliner Philharmoniker.