I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Chopin on speed

Wolfgang Mozart: Piano Sonata #9 in D Major, KV 311
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata #8 in C minor “Pathétique”, Op. 13
Frédéric Chopin:
Nocturne in A Flat Major, Op. 32 #2
2 Polonaises, Op. 40
3 Mazurkas, Op. 63
Scherzo #3 in C Flat minor, Op. 39

Rafał Blechacz, piano
Brussels Center for Fine Arts 2 June 2014

Rafał Blechacz (© Felix Broede / DG)

Rafał Blechacz (© Felix Broede / DG)

The solo recitals of the Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz (now age 28) haven’t changed much in content in the last four or five years. Not necessarily a bad thing, of course, as this could be a sign of continuous self-examination or a search for perfection. And yet a recent performance in Brussels of this year’s Gilmore Artist Award recipient with a Mozart/Beethoven/Chopin program brought a fair amount of frustration. Blechacz’s well-known energetic determination, his joy of making music, his blazing technique, as well as his charmingly old-style appearance (including long-tailed tuxedo), were still there to enjoy. But the evening was also marred by some ineffective attempts to channel his musical ideas. Overblown dynamic contrasts and rushed tempos (which have always been on the fast side anyhow, albeit never as relentless as now) could still pass, but more worrying was the lack of a distinctive sonority.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Blechacz pairs Debussy and Szymanowski

Claude Debussy:
Pour le piano
Estampes
L’Isle joyeuse
Karol Szymanowski:
Prelude & Fugue in C Sharp minor
Sonata in C minor, Op. 8

Rafał Blechacz, piano
Deutsche Grammophon 4779548 DDD

Rafal Blechacz

Blechacz pairs Debussy and Szymanowski

2005 Warsaw Competition winner Rafał Blechacz is mainly thought of as an outstanding interpreter of Chopin and the Viennese Classical School, yet anybody familiar with the concert performances of the young Polish pianist may have noticed his predilection for two other composers: Claude Debussy and Karol Szymanowski. Blechacz’ new Deutsche Grammophon CD isn’t perhaps so much of a surprise, but with playing of such constant quality, it’s no less welcome.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Youthful Impetuosity and Poetic Sensitivity

Johann Sebastian Bach: Partita #3 in A minor, BWV 827
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata #7 in D Major, Op. 10/3
Frédéric Chopin: Ballade #1 in G minor, Op. 23; 2 Polonaises, Op. 26
Karol Szymanowski: Piano Sonata #1 in C minor, Op. 8

Rafał Blechacz, piano
Brussels, Centre for Fine Arts, March 14, 2012

Coinciding with the international release of his Debussy-Szymanowski CD reviewed here, I caught the young Polish pianist and 2005 Warsaw Competition winner Rafał Blechacz in a solo recital in Brussels. The culminating point of the evening was without doubt his performance of the 1st Piano Sonata by Karol Szymanowski, which sounded even more impressive live than on disc. Blechacz has long been championing the music of his little-performed compatriot and here again he gave the kind of revelatory rendition to win anybody over to Szymanowski. Judging by the enthusiastic audience reaction, Blechacz made his point. But then again before arriving there, he had treated us to some stunning pianism, sufficient to win all present over… to Rafał Blechacz.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Rafał Blechacz plays Liszt

Henryk Górecki: Kleines Requiem für eine Polka, Op. 66
Franz Liszt: Piano Concerto #2 in A Major
Witold Lutosławski: Concerto for Orchestra

Rafał Blechacz, piano
National Orchestra of Belgium/Antoni Wit
Brussels, Centre for Fine Arts, 15 September 2011

Belgium may be finding it increasingly more difficult to preserve its national unity, yet some institutions in the country continue to remind us that a fruitful cooperation across language and other barriers is viable. The Belgian National Orchestra, for example, celebrates its 75th anniversary this year and remains alive and kicking. Founded in 1936, the orchestra has acquired an excellent reputation over the years, guided by inspired conductors like André Cluytens (1958-67), Michael Gielen (1968-75), Mikko Franck (2002-07), and, since 2007, Walter Weller, interpreting the standard symphonic repertoire as well as championing new work.
Read the full review on Classical Net