Many roads lead to Chopin, many start from Chopin. Rafał Blechacz sets off to search these roads, to Bach and Mozart and to – still not well known enough – the fellow countryman, Karol Szymanowski. With great power and incredible inside tension he presents monumental Sonata c-moll op.8 No. 1, which in an eclectic way connects numerous influences and combines them in a fascinating wholeness originating from late romanticism. A multitude of figures, powerful basses, cascades of octaves, foaming arpeggios are ”tamed” by the pianist with impressive clarity. In a fascinating way he reveals the character of contrast of little bells’ clear peals in Scherzo and gloomy motifs of ”the funeral march” in the final.
Chopin is the 26-year old Pole’s heart need and now and then, ever since he won the Warsaw Chopin Competition six years ago, has been rightly regarded as the great specialist in this field. Also that evening there was engaging clarity and lucidity of Polonaise As-dur, the octaves affluence of which remained transparent (clear) – Blechacz does not need to pretend or intensify virtuosity by means of a pedal. Opposed to the breathtaking work are four Mazurkas, op. 17; delicate pictures created by Blechacz with colourful nuances, with sudden outbreaks or gentle brightness of melancholic mood.
Blechacz has indefinitely much time in these miniatures, he builds long melodic phrases, tells stories of a great emotional range. His mature, personal play deprived of lust for originality, also provides Bach Partita B-dur with many shades of joy; the heart of this interpretation though was the middle part - Sarabanda.
The variations cycle Lison Dormait of 22-year old Mozart Glitterem playfully, a typical work from the Rococo period with all kinds of trills. Likewise, Debussy’s Pour le Piano moves by the pianist’s style confidence, with which virtuoso Toccata is performed enthusiastically considering the impressionistic layer.
/Berlin, 18.10.2011 Der Tagesspiegel - Isabel Herzfeld/