Chopin intense and pure

The Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz, 24, once again confirmed his beautiful eloquence during the recital held in Victoria Hall, Geneva, on Thursday evening.

That was one of those nights when the Victoria Hall in Geneva has been stormed by the audience eager to listen to a young artist. (...) At age of 20 he won not only the First Prize of the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw but also several special awards (including the one awarded by his compatriot, Krystian Zimerman). His success bore fruit and he signed a contract with Deutsche Grammophon, a Rolls-Royce among the classical music labels (...) He is a modest and cheerful young man, whose playing slightly resembles his figure. Not a gram of fat. Clear, almost lofty lines, as he demonstrates right from the Prelude of Partita No.1 by Bach. His playing relies on the magnificent right hand: springy, smooth, expressive, ideal for Chopin’s cantilenas. The left hand punctuates the beat with no rudeness. The pianist also lightens the musical textures for maximum clarity. Rafał Blechacz possesses more means of expression than we can imagine. You would have to hear his Scherzo in B Minor by Chopin in order to appreciate the way the inner expression is built to reach the “madness” the final passages. The pianist has an unusual ability to make the middle register sing, so expressive in Chopin`s compositions (the central part of the same Scherzo). He creates his interpretations. He intentionally stretches the arpeggios in the introduction to the Polonaise-Fantaisie in order to build suspense. He also allows his Polish temperament to burst in the Mazurkas (Opus 50). There is this pampered sense of rhythm (absolutely perfect) that is reflected in the 1st Partita by Bach and in the outer movements (the first movement played very fast) of Sonata KV 570 by Mozart. Finally, there is his passion for purity that leads him in the Adagio of that sonata to suspend the melodic line as if it was hovering above the sounds.

/Le Temps, 27 March 2010; Julian Sykes/