Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Mar 30, 2013

Spring wishes

Click on the picture to see the card of peaceful painting.

Cherry blossoms were already in full bloom in Tokyo a week ago but after that temperature went down sharply to that of winter (but better than in Europe or America), so the flowers stayed for a extended period of time.

In my neighborhood, early in the morning on March 22.

Mar 24, 2013

From website of Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich

Some pictures of Tonhalle-Orchester-Zürich' tour in Germany and Luxembourg, March 2013.

Kuppelsaal, Hannover, March 7

Berliner Philharmonie, March 6

Philharmonie Luxembourg, March 12,
Michał Nesterowicz and Rafał Blechacz

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Mar 23, 2013

Two reviews from the concert in Luxembourg

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.

By Johannes Schmidt for Luxemburger Wort.

(.....) 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.

Original review

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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Big ovation in Vitoria, Spain

On March 22, Rafał Blechacz played Beethoven's 2nd piano concerto with Orquestra Sinfónica de Euskadi under Joana Carneiro @Teatro Principal, Vitoria, his third and final appearance in Spain this month.

"Big ovation, endless clapping and enthusiasm tonight in Vitoria-Gasteiz at Teatro Prinicpal Antzokia for Rafał Blechacz right after he finished Beethoven's No. 2 with Orquesta Sinfonica de Euskadi under Joana Carneiro. The public could not stop the applause and demanded an encore so he played one for them".

Video of Teatro Principal

Mar 22, 2013

2nd concert in San Sebastián

On March 21, Rafał Blechacz performed Beethoven's 2nd concerto again @Auditorio Kursaal Auditorioa, San Sebastián.

"Rafał Blechacz played Beethoven's No. 2 with Orquesta Sinfionica de Euskadi under the direction of Joana Carneiro tonight to the full house of Auditorio Kursaal in San Sebastian tonight again. Big success again!! Huge ovation and a lot of "Bravo!, Bravo!" shouing! He thanked the enthusiastic audience with an encore".

Rafał Blechacz's interview in Luxembourg

From an interview that Rafał Blechacz gave to Tageblatt in Luxembourg on March 11, the day before he performed at Philharmonie Luxembour.

Interviewer: Alain Steffen

(Excerpt: the first two questions about CD Debussy Szymanowski are skipped as we are already familiar with it.)

I do not play more than 40 concerts a year

"Only when you love the work, you can give something to the audience". (Rafał Blechacz)

Tageblatt: When we talk about Polish music, we naturally fall into primarily Chopin’s line. But certainly there are other composers before Chopin?

RB: There were a lot of Polish composers before Chopin, but they never played an international big role. Chopin himself studied under Józef Elsner, who was an outstanding composer. But the recognition that Chopin had and still has, had previously never been achieved by any other Polish composer. I think Chopin hit the spirit of the times very well. On one hand he wrote a very expressive music that really carried away all and on the other hand he took over much of the Polish folk music. And especially the dances. Think of his Mazurkas and his Polonaises only. And this is where Chopin and Szymanowski meet, here perhaps Polish tradition begins. And it is built very strongly on the dance.

T: It seems to be typical of the countries of Eastern Europe for their music to be all built on the traditional folk music. In Hungary, we find the same thing in Kodaly and Bartok, in the Czech Republic in Dvorak, in Enescu in Romania.

RB: In Russia, we also find the same pattern. Yes, I think the Eastern European countries have gained much of their inspiration from the music tradition, the culture of the common people and folk music. But it is wrong to see this as a continuous principle.

The folk music has surfaced again, has given impetus, but was never implemented one-to-one, but rather artfully processed and stylized. For many composers, there were periods in which these influences are not felt well.

Szymanowski found only in his later years the way to the mazurkas, and his early work, such as the C minor sonata is actually free of it, although in the third movement he used a minuet.

T: Can you, for example, talk of a Polish school?

RB: School in the sense of Viennese school is perhaps a little too much to say, but it is certain that Chopin revolutionized the Polish music and introduced very innovative harmonies. These harmonies have changed the romantic music, as it was commonly understood, and even further brought it forward. Novelty which Chopin introduced here now went off the path of classical-romantic music and opened new doors.

If you want to talk about a Polish compositional style, then you have to consider Chopin as its inventor. It is above all the composers after Chopin, who further processed these innovative harmonies and developed them into an original style of music.

T: And what about a Polish pianist tradition? It cannot be denied that Polish pianist, I am thinking only of Ewa Kupiec or Krystian Zimerman, play Chopin in a very different way than their Western European counterparts.

RB: I think this is only partly true and much is subject to some sort of cliche. What is true is the fact that Polish pianists understand better the music in its substance and they can perform in a natural balance. It is clear that Kupiec and Zimerman have Polish dances in their blood, since they are part of our culture. But it does not mean that a German or an American pianist cannot play well this music. I think in dealing with Chopin it is important to give serious thought to the profundity of his compositions.

T: Chopin's piano concertos distance themselves a bit from the usual romantic tradition. A dialogue does not seem to be the focus, but the piano seems mostly to be a part of the orchestra.

RB: Indeed, Chopin's two concertos are very individual compositions. While there are some very beautiful moments where piano and orchestra engage in a dialogue, but you're right, Chopin used the orchestra rather as an accompanist.

This is probably because Chopin’s element was the piano. And only the piano. With the orchestra he could do little, both on architectural and emotional level. Therefore, he probably wrote only two concertos.

T: Pianists such as Maria João Pires and Gerhard Oppitz have complained that musicians of the new generation are often burned very quickly, that everything must go very quickly and that the enormous stress of international concert business makes young talented musicians broken.

RB: You are certainly right. When I won the 2005 Chopin Competition in Warsaw, it went suddenly, very quickly. I was virtually overwhelmed by offers, everywhere I should play. But I'm fortunately someone who exactly listens to his own pursuits. I felt lost at the start of my career until I found the right agencies. It was first of all very relieving. I then worked out a strategy with which I am still very satisfied.

On one hand I'm only playing in important concert venues or international festivals, on the other hand I do not play more than 40 concerts a year. Namely I need a lot of time to learn the music. Only when you understand, you can really love the music. And only when you love the work, you can convey something to the audience.

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

Mar 21, 2013

Big success in San Sebastián

Rafał Blechacz is now in Basque county, Spain.
On March 20, he performed Beethoven's 2nd concerto with Orquestra Sinfónica de Euskadi, conductor: Joana Carneiro @Auditorio Kursaal Auditorioa, San Sebastián.

"Big success in San Sebastian tonight! Rafał played Beethoven's No. 2 with Orquestra Sinfionica de Euskadi under the direction of Joana Carneiro in Auditorio Kursaal. After he finished a huge ovation erupted with shoutings "Bravo! Bravo!" When the ovation got prolonged he performed one encore as his thanks to the very enthusiastic reception."

program page
press release

program booklet (in Basque)
Beautiful (but I can't read...)

Palacio de Congresos y Auditorio Kursaal
Watch video of Auditorio Kursaal

From Joana Carneiro FB

Mar 15, 2013

"I wanted to be an organist ..." interview for Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich MAGAZIN

An interview that Rafał Blechacz gave for Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich MAGAZIN Feb./March 2013 issue when he was planning to perform Beethoven's 2nd piano concerto with the Orchestra in Feb./March period as has been already reported.

Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich MAGAZIN
Go to page 4 and 5 for Blechacz's interview.

At the beginning I wanted to be an organist ...

Only once, and it was already six years ago, that Rafał Blechacz played with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich under David Zinman. Now the winner of the 15th Chopin Competition in Warsaw, a magical shining star in the universe of piano is back, - and then accompanying the orchestra on its tour in Germany.

Rafał Blechacz, do you still remember your first appearance in Zürich?

Yes, very well. David Zinman is a great conductor. We played the first piano concerto by Chopin, and Zinman went fantastically subtle with rubato. Because in Chopin some rubato is essential and Zinman followed me wonderfully.

Now you come with Beethoven's second Piano Concerto. What criteria do you have in selecting your repertoire?

For me it is extremely important to play only those pieces that are very close to my heart. Currently they are the second and the fourth piano concertos by Beethoven, I’m focused on both lately. From time to time even the third, but the second is for me the most important in the current season. It is the work by a still young composer, the first sketch going back to Beethoven’s Bonn years. Nevertheless, one can already hear the typical Beethoven-style here.

How do you rate the Grossen Saal (Great Hall) of the Tonhalle?

An absolutely amazing hall. And here is a very good quality grand piano. That's why I'm always happy if I can appear with a piano recital. Because the hall is exactly the right size.

You limit your performances to approximately forty concerts a year. These are relatively few ...

But it’s not possible to have more now. I must restrict myself to have enough time to write my dissertation. It is a small book, on hermeneutics of the music works, and indeed from a perspective of music philosophy. The first chapter is devoted to logic of music, the second is about freedom of an interpreter in the context of the musical logic. In the third I touch upon musical metaphysics, and in the final chapter I would like to describe some of my own thoughts and experiences on the basis of the three preceding chapters, i.e. from my personal experience as an interpreter.

When can we congratulate you on doctorate? 

If all goes well in two years. Because I want to finish study before I become thirty.

Since you won in 2005 the 15th Warsaw Chopin Competition, you have been treated as Chopin specialist. Can it also be a burden? 

Actually, I am free in the compilation of my programs. Sure, sometimes you have to discuss with a concert organizer. Above all Japan initially wanted only Chopin. But that has changed even there now. And in my first piano recital in Germany, I already placed - next to Chopin - Sonatas by Haydn and Beethoven in the program. More and more I try to combine Chopin with other composers. For example, with Szymanowski. In the next season probably I will also play Bach.

For the first time? 

On the contrary, Bach was my first musical love. Originally I really wanted to be an organist. I remember well how I went as a child with my parents to the church and heard there organ music for the first time. I was so fascinated that I really wanted to be an organist. Later I ended up playing the piano ...

Fortunately! Do you still play organ? 

In any case.

Are there new CD projects? How free are you here in your own decisions? 

So far, I was always able to record what I wanted. Of course I hope that it will also continue to work. The latest recording project is a CD of Chopin with Polonaises.

Is it true that you are traveling for concert tours all the way from Poland with your own car even in winter? 

Yes, as far as it can be done. My father accompanied me each time.

Does your father drive? 

We take turns. Driving is relaxing. In addition, I always have books at hands. Philosophy of music fascinates me - an ideal way of how musicology is supported by philosophy.


** On page 28 and 29, you can see an article of Lionel Bringuier (26), the chief conductor & music director designate for 2014/15 of Tonhalle-Orchester, who replaced David Zinman for the concerts in Berlin and Hannover.


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

Mar 14, 2013

Concert review in Luxembourg for Blechacz's Beethoven concerto with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich

A review written by Eva-Maria Reuther on the concert of Rafał Blechacz and Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, at Philharmonie Luxembour, on March 12, posted on

Original review

(Part of the last paragraph in relation to Blechacz)
Sparkling runs
With Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, insight and feelings were converted in sound. As a soloist, gifted Rafał Blechacz sat at the piano. The young Pole played analytically and with really touching sense of beauty and sense of sound. To the respiring symphonic introduction by orchestra, he replied smartly with sparkling runs and trills. Thoughtfully and full of introspection he produced the sound of Adagio, showing the music far out towards later works. At the end: a mischievous Rondo. There it was again, that heaven-stormy Beethoven with his contagious joy. A good interpreter must convey historical music so that its spirit is experienced by the contemporary audience, says the music writer (Musikschriftsteller) Nikolaus Harnoncourt. The musicians of Zurich did it successfully without doubt(…)

I don't know the reason but this article is not available on Google Chrome.  There is no problem with IE, Firefox and Safari in my case. E-mail me if you want to read the original German article but can't see it.)

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

Mar 13, 2013

Beautiful interpretation of Beethoven in Luxembourg

On March 12, Rafał Blechacz played Beethoven's piano concerto with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich at  Philharmonie Luxembour, his final appearance for the orchestra's tour. Michał Nesterowicz took the podium replacing David Zinman.

Courtesy Philharmonie Luxembourg

"Tonight in Luxembourg Rafał Blechacz played Beethoven's No. 2 at Philharmonie Luxembourg, Grand Auditorium with Tonhalle Orchester Zurich under Michał Nesterowicz. Beatiful interpretation again! When he finished a big ovation erupted and loud shouting of "Bravo! Bravo!" It was a very enthusiastic reception by the Luxembourg audience. Rafal responded with two encores, both Chopin's: Waltz, and Preludium No. 7".

** Sincere appreciation for always delivering good news of Rafał's achievements so quickly ♡
Also my heartfelt thanks go to Philharmonie Luxemboug for sharing with us the wonderful photo of Rafał Blechacz with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich!

I remember he played Preludium 7 as the last of three encores at his recital in Yokohama in 2010, his last concert in Japan. It was a very touching moment; warm atmosphere in the hall.   Many had tears.

Mar 11, 2013

Concert review in Hannover for Blechacz's Beethoven concerto with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich

A review written by Jörg Worat on the concert of Rafał Blechacz and Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, at Kuppelsaal im HCC: Hannover Congress Centrum, on March 7, posted on Mein-Unterlüß and Cellesche Zeitung (the same article.)

Original review on Mein-Unterlüß
and on Cellesche Zeitung

Tonhalle Orchestra with lively start without showy effect

Are there successors in the classical music, who focus more on the music than on a promotional image? In Kuppelsaal, it was certainly experienced twofold:  The Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz is already no longer a hidden secret, and because Lionel Bringuier conducted the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich on behalf of sick David Zinman, the two artists, way before 30, held the reins that night. Around 1600 visitors however never had an impression of attending a musical kindergarten.

HANNOVER. Hector Berlioz's overture "Le Carnaval romain", you can approach it in a spirited or a balanced dynamic way or with both, which represents the most difficult task - Bringuier mastered it nonetheless and brought out quite a pleasant lively start without causing any showy effect. As for the composition here certainly something like the 2nd piano concerto by Beethoven has noticeably more depth, and Rafał Blechacz knew how to make it clear. The slender pianist is far away from any showy unnaturalness, for him only music counts, i.e. penetration instead of attitude. The piece stands between tradition and autonomy and Blechacz fully meets exactly this character. His touch is remarkably clear, since each tone remained clearly identifiable even in fast-paced passages. The pianist never turned the thunder-god out, rather shows in the 2nd movement and above all towards the end, how much he takes back and thus can just increase the intensity, while being in the best harmony with the conductor Bringuier, as there was a remarkably harmonic interplay performed between the soloist and the orchestras at all. So beautiful is the ability of making music in a subtle way, however - the finale would have tolerated an additional pinch of pepper. For an encore, Blechacz chose the composer whose interpretations he is first and foremost known for: Chopin. Again no superficial bravura piece, performed even more lingering, as it was veiled.

 (Johannes Brahms' first Symphony....)

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Mar 8, 2013

Concert review in Berlin for Blechacz's Beethoven concerto

This is a review written by Corina Kolbe on the concert of Rafał Blechacz and Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, at Berliner Philharmonie, on March 6.

Original review on (Italian)

Blechacz with a Mozartian Beethoven
Piano: Rafał Blechacz

The pianist Rafał Blechacz and the Tonhalle-Orchester in Berlin Philharmonic

This time on the podium of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich stood a very young director but by no means unknown. Lionel Bringuier, who from 2014/2015 season will lead the Swiss orchestra, has replaced the current principal conductor David Zinman in this tour, due to his flu. The Frenchman has skillfully led the musicians in the initial overture "Le Carnaval romain" by Berlioz, creating with them an elegant, light and lively sound.

Then the piano soloist was equally young Polish Rafał Blechacz, the winner of the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 2005. In the second concerto for piano and orchestra by early Beethoven, still strongly influenced by Mozart and Viennese Classicism, Blechacz with great sensitivity renders the cantabile nature of the passage, always in tune with the orchestra. Although Beethoven leaves in other concertos more room for virtuosity of the soloist, Blechacz is able to demonstrate his remarkable technical ability playing changes and embellishments, for example of the Adagio. As an encore, Chopin's waltz in A minor Op.34 No.2, a graceful piece that let you see in Blechacz once again affinity with the composer.

Follows the first symphony of Brahms, with explicit references to Beethoven's Ninth and interpreted by the musicians with emotion and spirit. A formidable performance that brings the beauty in the profound bottom of the human soul. Warm applause, and the first Hungarian Dance by Brahms was offered as a final encore.
by Corina Kolbe


Read Corina Kolbe's writing about Blechacz:
He sees sounds as colors.
Interview for

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Another excellent concert in Hannover

On March 7, Rafał Blechacz was again at Kuppelsaal im HCC: Hannover Congress Centrum with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and Lionel Bringuier to perform Beethoven's 2nd concerto.

"In Hannover tonight a repeat of yesterday's Berlin concert by Rafał and Tonhalle Zurich Orchester and conductor Lionel Bringuier: magnificent performance by Rafał! The audience fascinated by his interpretation of Beethoven's No. 2. couldn't stop clapping and shouting "Bravo! Bravo"! A thunderous ovation indeed! One encore".

Mar 7, 2013

Webradio broadcast: Rafał Blechacz playing Beethoven's concerto 2 in Winterthur, April 4

Radio SRF2 Kultur will broadcast the concert of Musikkollegium Winterthur (conductor:Douglas Boyd) on December 12 when Rafał Blechacz was a soloist to perform Beethoven's piano concerto No.2 with the orchestra.

Date: April 4, 2013, 20:00 (CET)

Radio SRF2 Kultur program site

**I learned of this program from a Rafał's fan in US.  Many many thanks to her ♡

Huge ovation at Berliner Philharmonie

Rafał Blechacz appeared at Berliner Philharmonie on Wednesday to play Beethoven's piano concerto No. 2 with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, directed by Lionel Bringuier, 26-year-old (young) French conductor, replacing David Zinman.

"Marvelous interpretation of Beethoven's No. 2 by Rafał tonight at Berliner Philharmonie with Tonhalle Zurich Orchestra under Lionel Bringuier. Huge ovation, "Bravo! Bravo!' shouting and endless clapping. In response to this enthusiastic reception Rafał offered two encores".

Berliner Philharmoniker program page


Lionel Bringuier is Chief Conductor designate and Music Director of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich for the 14/15 season, according to his website.

Mar 1, 2013

Enthusiasm again in Zurich for Rafał

On Feb. 28, Rafał Blechacz played Beethoven's 2nd piano concerto again with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich; conductor: Michael Sanderling at Tonhalle Zürich.

"Big enthusiasm again in Zürich tonight, Feb 28, 2013 at Tonhalle for Rafał Blechacz's performance of Beethoven No. 2 with the Tonhalle Zürich Orchestra under Michael Sanderling. Unending ovation and shouting of excitement echoed throughout the hall. Rafał gratefully responded with two encores."

Michael Sanderling replaced David Zinman due to his illness for the concerts at Tonhalle Zürich on Feb. 27 and 28.  I sincerely hope that Maestro Zinman will get well soon!