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Oct 31, 2013

From Spanish website

From a Spanish site introducing Blechacz's album "Chopin Polonaises"

El Corte Ingles

".....Rafał Blechacz reaches the deepest in the heart of these seven pieces which constitute the disc....

Blechacz captures and communicates the character of scores of his compatriot Chopin identified with his homeland. Pride, vulnerability and energy magically give way to the lyrical warmth, tonal strength and coloration of the brilliant scores. The elegance with which this young pianist deals with the seven Polonaises of Chopin is masterful, full of emotion and sublime poetry contained in the composer's notes. The famous "Polonaise Fantaisie" and No. 6 "Heroic" are included in the CD."




Oct 28, 2013

BBC Radio3 evaluates Blechacz's CD "Polonaises"

BBC Radio3
Your can hear the program for the next week.

The comment on his "Polonaises" begins at 02:18:37.
"A pretty fantastic pianist".
"The disc justifies his reputation as Chopin player"

** A deep appreciation to Naoko Goto, a music journalist living in London, for the info♪
Ms.Goto wrote an article for the concert booklet of Blechacz's Japan Tour 2007 about his debut recital at Wigmore Hall.  This article was one of the reasons why I became a fan of Blechacz's piano.

Oct 24, 2013

Voices of admiration on his album "Polonaises" (Japan, continued)

Sometimes an album which didn't leave a strong impression at first listening could make an appealing on the second run.  Rafał Blechzc's "Polonaises" emerged in this manner. For me the sound of this album is a little different from my image of typical DG's piano. The recording engineer is Rainer Maillard whom I privately believe belongs to the "acoustic faction" of DG's engineers. Richly involving acoustics of the performance space, the sound of the instrument is bright, unconstrained, full of unique charm. The high level of clearness and transparency of the sound matches up to today's requirement.  It's fascinating and for me this is the best disc of this month.
(Kazuo Kanzaki for "Record Geijutsu (=art, music), November 2013, on the page of "Excellent recording sound")


The interpretation is ideal, well balanced in intellect, emotion and volition.
(Tadashi Isoyama, musicologist, Professor, Kunitachi College of Music)


*****
Last month, Takaakira Aosawa, a sought-after music journalist, authored a book "30 Pianists of Today - Arias and Variations" in which, based on his exposure to interpretations by many pianists and journalistic activities including interviews, he selected 30 distinguished pianists since 1960's.  Rafał Blechacz is one of the 30 pianists.


Selected pianists are: Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Bruno Rigutto, Valery Afanassiev, Radu Lupu, Mitsuko Uchida, Murray Perahia, Peter Serkin, Krysteian Zimerman, Zhu Xiao-Mei, Mikhail Pletnev, Kazune Shimizu, Ivo Pogorelich, Piotr Anderszewski, Leif Ove Andsnes, Alexandre Tharaud, Peter Jablonski, Hélène Grimaud, Fazil Say, Till Fellner, Paul Lewis, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Evgeny Kissin, Dejan Lazic, Andreas Staier, Rafał Blechacz, Yuja Wang, Aldo Ciccolini



Aosawa is quite popular for his in depth analysis of each artist and beautiful Japanese expression.  He interviewed Blechacz a few times when he came to Japan.
An example of interview (2006)


Oct 22, 2013

October 21

For fans of Rafał Blechacz and all music lovers, Oct.21 remains a special day, though eight years have already passed.

With our heartiest congrats and gratitude to the great pianist.




A few years later with Antoni Wit.
I'd like to pay tribute to the great Polish conductor, too.
It was reported that the concert at this year's Proms was his last concert as the artistic director of the Warsaw Philharmonic, but Mr. Wit stays active by, for example, conducting Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Feb. 2010 Chopin's birthday
May, 2012 Prague Spring

Oct 21, 2013

Review of CD "Polonaises" (Denmark)

Original review 

Google translate (English)




Voices of admiration by his fans and journalists on his "Polonaises" (Japan)

Some comments on Blechacz's album "Polonaises" that I came across in Japan by both music journalists and the public.


** The  other day I stopped by Yamano Music shop and heard a wonderfully refreshing performance of "Military Polonaise" played through the shop's speaker.  It was played at faster pace compared to the performances by Rubinstein or Pollini that I'm familiar with, but there was nothing frivolous.  Rather I felt something solid and the music, brilliantly, reached straight to the depth of my heart.  Who is playing this?  Rafał Blechacz.  Very impressive that we still have such a young man these days.


** The latest album "Chopin Polonaises" by Blechacz has quite an impact.  He plays so energetic that the interpretation may break down my image of Blechacz or even the preconception of Polonaises. I straightened up and listened with respectful attention to the Polonaise No. 5, my favorite piece.  It's really impressive that he has been growing so steadily.
His stock rose sharply with this disc.  I'm going to listen to his past recordings again.
(Yasushi Tanaka, Chief Editor of Monthly "Bravo".)


** Blechacz's Chopin disc sells very well.  Actually I love this CD.  Come to our listening booth.
(a sales associate of Tower Records, Hiroshima)
 pic


** At last I have the Polonaises by Blechacz delivered to me.  Now I'm listening to it.   Very impressive.  Why does it sound so refreshing? I'm so excited as if I'm listening to these pieces for the first time.


** Every time I listen to him, I'm impressed by further growth and depth added to his interpretation.  His unparalleled talent, effort and study can be felt when his music sinks deeply into my mind.  Polonaise Fantasie is especially impressive and his deep respect for his home country and Chopin is inferred.  His peculiar quietness, thoughtfulness and intelligence encompass all the pieces and thanks to him, we can feel the highly difficult works closer to us.

(Yoshiko Ikuma, music journalist, contributing to Nikkei, the biggest economic daily.  She wrote another short review of Blechacz's CD for Ongaku-no-tomo, a music monthly)


** The new recording of Blechacz is wonderful as I expected ♪ So far I didn't have an opportunity to hear all the Polonaises on one disc, so I have a taste for each Polonaise and the spirit of Poland comes heavily on my heart.  I'm looking forward to listening to his interpretations live ✺◟(∗❛ัᴗ❛ั∗)◞✺


*****
Rafał Blechacz will give four recitals in December this year in Japan.  The recital in Musashino Civic Cultural Hall, Tokyo was sold out on the day of ticket release last month and Tokyo Opera City Hall was sold out on Sunday.  Another two venues are in Yokohama and Saitama, all in the greater Tokyo Metropolitan area.  Quite a few fans will attend the concerts coming from other cities than Tokyo, including the author of the last comment above.  Another fan in Okinawa said, "It could be my first and last experience of his live performance".  Actually it takes more time to come from Okinawa than from Korea.  I understand how she feels.







Oct 20, 2013

Japanese critic praises Blechacz's album "Chopin Polonaises" (2)

A review written by Tsutomu Nasuda, for Record Geijutsu (=music, art), November 2013.

*****
Blechacz has returned back to Chopin.  And to my surprise, he's changed.  He now asserts himself more clearly and has deepened emotional expressions.  Probably it is because of the type of repertoire but there is more.  Eight years have already passed since he won the Chopin Competition and I guess during this period he's accumulated experiences and matured with age.  Personally I loved the way he interpreted Chopin -something fragile, not self-assertive, and still full of lucidity and transparency.

In the latest album of "Polonaises," apparently his Polish soul has been ignited.  We can read it from his words quoted on the liner notes.  Blechacz says, "Chopin lived in an age which, politically speaking, was extremely difficult to Poland, and this is clearly reflected in his works. It was one of the most powerful sources of inspiration behind his polonaises and mazurkas.  The heroic atmosphere of his polonaises stems from this, and his love of his homeland is plain for us to hear.  And yet his music is absolutely universal".

In Polonaise No.2 in C minor, Blechacz extracts rough and gloomy atmosphere, and tragic emotions from the piece.  The same applies to Polonaise No.5 in F sharp minor.  The terrifying theme at the beginning.  Then the expression of brilliant sense of exaltation, the song of delight.  The contrast of dynamics is striking and dramatic.  That he's acquired strength and depth in expression means that he's getting matured as pianist.  But I cherish a memory of the interpretation in his early years, too.


*****
Tsutomu Nasuda wrote about Blechacz and interviewed him several times.  An example.



*****
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


Oct 19, 2013

Japanese critic praises Blechacz's album "Chopin Polonaises" (1)

A review written by Jiro Hamada, for Record Geijutsu (=music, art), November 2013, which gives Blechacz's CD "Chopin Polonaises" the status of "specially selected disc".

*****

The new album by Rafał Blechacz reveals his true value as the "superlative Chopin interpreter".  The album was recorded in Hamburg in January 2013 and contains seven primary Polonaises.  For him, a native to Poland and the undisputed winner of the 15th Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw in 2005, held in his mother country, the recording should be a "rite of passage" or even a "duty"of especially profound meaning and grave responsibility.  How the Polonaises mean in the realm of Chopin's music - Rafał takes it seriously, and stands proudly upright the "rite", believing in his own power.  The dependable and adorable young man!
Polonaise No.1, op. 26-1, the first piece, heralds a great impetus, full of fervent spirit stemming from his glowing soul. The rhythm and tempo have immeasurable significance.  Not limited to the first piece, he keeps phrasing relatively long in all the subsequent Polonaises, and in each he propels himself forward like a swimmer.  He doesn't take unnecessary breath.  This is the best way to express the single-mindedness of Chopin, his love for his country Poland, which is emphasized by Blechacz's single-minded pursuit of Chopin's music.

<<Polonaise Fantasie>>!  Dream, aching nostalgia and the determination to step forward powerfully -how Blechacz expresses the path of emotions, following the true picture of Chopin is exceptionally wonderful.  No doubt that this disc will be remembered as one of the best-of-the-best recordings for touching the essence of Chopin's music.

*****
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


Oct 17, 2013

in memory of Fryderyk Chopiin, Oct. 17



Pleyel, no. 14810, on which Fryderyk Chopin
composed during the last two years of his life 


↑ Nocturne in C sharp minor (posthumous) by Rafał Blechacz from his recital in Brussels, 2010.


Oct 15, 2013

Mezzo TV broadcasts concert at Tonhalle

(This news is for subscribers of Mezzo TV.)
Mezzo TV broadcasts the concert at Tonhalle, Zurich of Feb. 27, 2013,

on Oct. 14, 15, 16, 18, 28, 30, Nov.12, 18 and 21. (See Mezzo TV website for detail)

(Program)
Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Michael Sanderling (conductor)
Rafał Blechaz (piano)
Hector Berlioz   Le Corsaire, overture
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Concerto no. 2
Piotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky  Symphony no. 4
Recorded at the Tonhalle, Zürich, on 27th February 2013

Mezzo TV program page

How to receive Mezzo
Mezzo is France-based cable TV channel and viewable in about 40 countries listed on this page, mainly in Europe, with some viewing fees.  If you want to be a subscriber, use pull down menu to find relevant TV operators of your country.

** 日本では原則視聴できません。

M. Sanderling replaced D. Zinman at Tonhalle













*****
CD tips on Main Post

"If a Pole plays Polonaises".


Oct 12, 2013

Review of "Chopin Polonaises", Germany

Review of  Blechacz's album "Chopin Polonaises", written by Christoph Schlüren, posted on klassik-heute.com.

The author gives ten on a scale of one to ten in all the categories; artistic quality, sound quality and overall impression.

Review on klassik-heute.com

Oct 8, 2013

Blechacz on his CD "Chopin Polonaises"





Polish version! (Posted 15:00 (CET) Oct.9. They should have posted it earlier! (`_´)



*****
Review by James Bash posted on Northwest Reverb (Oct. 4)
on Portland recital, Sept. 30.

Oct 6, 2013

Review of Choin's Concerto in F minor with Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham

Choin's Concerto in F minor with Alabama Symphony Orchestra (Conductor: Maximiano Valdes) @Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center, Birmingham.

Original review

By Michael Huebner

(Quote)
dynamic young pianist star in inspired Alabama Symphony concert 

For Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2, Valdés yielded the spotlight to the dynamic young Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz, whose career is soaring in the wake of competition victories and a prestigious recording contract. The concerto is notoriously bland in its orchestral accompaniment, and until Blechacz's entry about three minutes into the piece, the orchestra was more prosaic than brilliant. Blechacz, an impetuous virtuoso, jump-started the work with fire and flash, Valdés and company at times left in the wake of Blechacz's blazing technique.

 With the Larghetto movement came an about face, Blechacz continuing to provide a radiant sheen, dreamy lyricism, and cascading turns, scales and trills. The orchestra responded with a lustrous backdrop. The Allegro Vivace finale sparkled with grace, wit and buoyancy, Blechacz picking up the pace with a dazzling display of chromatic scales and arpeggios.

Blechacz acknowledged the standing ovation with an encore, Chopin's short but sweet Prelude in A major.
(Unquote)





Oct 4, 2013

Alabama Symphony Orchestra on twitter/FB

Picture of rehearsal in Birmingham.

"...Rafal Blechacz sounds like the most inspired Chopin pianist alive."(Pierre Ruhe, Director, ASO's Artistic Administration)



*****
On Sept. 21, the President of Poland Bronisław Komorowski decorated Krystian Zimerman with Order of Polonia Restituta, one of the highest honors to be given for achievements in education, science, culture, art, national defense, etc...In the ceremony, Zimerman said that he came to Poland to celebrate 100th anniversary of Witold Lutosławski's birth, and personally to meet and thank Prof. Andrzej Jasinski who began to teach Zimerman for the first time 50 years ago. He played the Piano Concerto by Lutosławski on the following day in Warsaw. (Conductor: Jacek Kaspszyk, the new Artistic Director of Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, succeeding Antoni Wit.)

Gazeta Wyborcza


Prof. Jasinski is also present at the ceremony.

On this occasion of coming to Poland, Zimerman gave  a news conference  in which in relation to the planned release of his live performance of Lutoslawski's concerto with Berliner Philharmoniker and Rattle from DG, he said,  "Rafał should play Chopin. That's his music and he has a great feel for it.  (I'm old and I'll play the last three sonatas by Beethoven)".


Oct 2, 2013

Interview and review (audio) (Polish)

Interview with Rafał Blechacz in Berlin, recorded by Polish Radio Magazine in Germany just before his performance at Berliner Philharmonie on Sept. 22.

Interview (Polish)
Please scroll down.  RB's interview is about 15th from the page top.
He talks about approach he takes to recording Polonaises and playing Schumann's concerto vs Chopin's, according to a Polish-American gentleman.

*****
Video of TVP program "Weekly Culture" where critics discuss RB's new CD "Chopin Polonaises".

TVP website (Polish)
The subject about RB begins at about 10 min. after the beginning.
One of my acquaintances in US said that he can't watch this video.  Probably restriction is out there.

*****
Wherever he goes, to European countries outside of Poland, US, Canada....., Blechacz is always welcomed and surrounded by people from Polish communities  who love his music and feel proud of him.  Recently more than half of the accesses to this blog are from US.  I think there are many among the visitors who can understand these Polish audio programs.  In my country there is no Polish community equivalent to those in the Western countries.  But quite a few fans of Blechacz have been learning Polish language, in order to greet and talk to him (if there is an opportunity at concerts).  Incredible..! And some of them have extended the purpose of learning this beautiful but difficult language so as to read Chopin's letters in Polish.  It's really incredible.