Polish piano wonder

The career of RafaƂ Blechacz has been developing dynamically since his victory in the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw two years ago. The 22-year-old Pole made his debut on Sunday night in the prestigious series of piano masters organized by Marco Riaskoff. The fame of Blechacz reached this place before that, when it was necessary to bring additional chairs on the side of the rows, as if a new Krystian Zimmerman was born.

Although Blechacz shares a lot of common features with his countryman, he definitely is not his mirror. He is a true personality, a mature musician in his youth with enormous development prospects. Though his play already resounds like a diamond with full expression, Deutsche Grammophon is issuing this month a CD record with Blechacz’s recording, of among others, Chopin’s preludes 24 opus 28. Blechacz also played them that night in Amsterdam in Concertgebouw.

A simple prelude is enough to recognize a real pianist. For example prelude no 4, a few ordinary chords in the left hand, a timid melody line in the right one, would not bring difficulty to an amateur. However, when Blechacz plays, he works out a little wonder. Every tone seems to be well-balanced just like on the jeweler’s scales. Every second is filled with colourful nuances. There is more to discover there than in the machine gun fire – in the Prelude no 22 or the last passion-fuelled prelude. Although Blechacz is not economical with the right pedal, the sound remains distinct. It is great and inspiring play and at the same time subtle and poetic. Before the break we could hear a story of Haydn setting off on adventure at the end of the century in his last Sonata (no 52). And after the break the grand piano resounded with the play of the young pianist in three thrillingly played etudes by List. Blechacz also took a challenge of Variations opus 3 by Szymanowski, in which this composer felt in his element.

The applause and 2 encores: beautiful ‘Etincelles’ opus. 36, no 6 by Moszkowski and Walc opus 64, no 2 by Chopin were played with great chic and elegance. Thus among us Poles, it was a great spiritual experience to be among them.

Eddie Vetter, De Telegraf, 9.10. 2007