He played the waltzes with charm and grace, clear and inspired were the études, the nocturne reflective and light at the same time; Barcarolle beautiful and with perfect dramaturgy, wondrous Scherzo in E-major. His performance was pure, his pianism clear, both moving and entrancing. What a satisfaction was listening to the 20-year-old Polish pianist!
He played phenomenally! Beautifully, classically but also heroically he presented us the Polonaise in A-flat Major – a piece so much his own – played with perfect tempi, with precision and youthful fantasy. Truly and naturally. His mazurkas Op. 53, possibly the most difficult of the genre, became veritable poems! Beautiful, lyrical and nostalgic, full of reflection just as well as typical mazurka temper. His B-minor Sonata was rich in detail without forgetting about the whole of the form for a single moment. His interpretative conscience is very high. The performance was very a very moving experience for me!
Rafał Blechacz... I have to admit that for years (at least not since 1999) I hadn’t been so moved when listening to Chopin’s Concertos as on Friday, when the E-minor concerto was played by the best of our Competition pianists. With every measure and every movement I got the absolute certainty that this execution of the work guarantees Rafał the highest award. How can one keep oneself from feeling moved, joyous, not being conscious of the moment’s exaltation... For this alone we owe the pianist highest appreciation and thanks. It was him who calmed us, him who with his self-control and great concentration let us follow and admire the charms of this Concerto. Precision of his piano playing – extraordinary, and such the expressiveness of his articulation (every note and every figure properly stressed). One should add a daring technique (in all culminations), wonderful legato play, finesse in executing some details (as if only Blechacz wanted to signal his abilities). Natural lyricism ans soulfulness (as in the second movement) were beautiful and moving, and sheer elegance of his playing was just proper. Nobody has played Chopin on the Competition with such perfection and such consistently high level of quality throughout all of the stages as Rafał Blechacz!”
Adam Rozłach “15th Frederic Chopin Internation Piano Competition – Competition Daily”