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Solo Piano - Released February 10, 2017 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - Exceptional sound - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz (pronunciation perilous for non-Poles, but try "BLEH-hotch") made his name as a young Chopin specialist, but has often featured Bach's Italian Concerto in F major, BWV 971, in concert. The Bach-Chopin connection is one that would have made perfect sense to Chopin himself, and here Blechacz expands it to full program length, with impressive results indeed. He may remind you of Dinu Lipatti, another Eastern European Chopin player whose Bach was haunting: sample the gentle and yet awesomely clear first movement of the Partita No. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825. Blechacz's Italian Concerto has great forward urgency without ever breaking tempo. The program has an intelligent structure of its own, placing the rather rare Four Duets, BWV 802-805 -- essentially expanded two-part inventions -- at the center: the music seems to enter a deeper chromatic realm and then slowly depart from it with another partita, and finally, with the arrangement of Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Dame Myra Hess, another pianist whom Blechacz may bring to mind. If it seems wrong to bring up these big names, well, just give the album a listen. With this release Blechacz definitively transcends young phenom status. The metal-oriented Friedrich-Ebert-Halle arena in Ludwigshafen is a bit large and impersonal for what Blechacz is trying to do here, although everything's clear.

Classical - Released January 25, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released February 10, 2017 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)


Classical - Released May 1, 2010 | CD Accord

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Classical - Released December 14, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)


Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)


Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz, born in 1985, swept all five top prizes at the Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 2005. Much-hyped in an age when hype is not enough to sell a new young classical artist, he seems to have the skills to deliver the goods. Here, in three well-trodden works from the Classical period, he offers fresh readings based on tremendous agility at the keyboard. In Mozart and Haydn, his is the approach of an Eastern European pianist trained in the Romantics. His playing is a bit like that of Evgeny Kissin in this repertory. In all three of the sonatas here, he has the fingers to run through scalar material very fast, with perfect smoothness, and he uses these skills to generate a light, playful approach. The tight chronological focus of the program works to his advantage; by programming a late Haydn sonata against an early Beethoven one, he brings you into the currents of influence from Haydn, Beethoven's teacher, that shaped Beethoven's early music. But unlike so many other artists who use a modern grand piano to push the Haydn Piano Sonata in E flat major, Hob. 16/52, in the direction of Beethoven, Blechacz takes the opposite approach. The block chords of his Haydn opening movement are light springboards for rapid passagework with all kinds of small humorous details, and the Beethoven seems to grow directly from this language. The development sections of his sonata-form movements have a lot of forward momentum, and the slow movements of all three works show a young pianist acquainted with the nearly lost art of a really charismatic cantabile. If there's a weakness it's the concluding Mozart Piano Sonata in D major, K. 284, where his light touch seems at odds with the sonic bigness of the opening movement. Mozart here was working with a new instrument, the fortepiano, that seemed to suddenly give him the capability to imitate orchestral textures, and Blechacz is so subtle that this quality is lost. This disc neverthless shows a developing young artist who is living up to the hype.

Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

Rafal Blechacz has established an international reputation as a winner of piano competitions, and he has repeatedly demonstrated his strengths in the concerto repertoire. Yet several of his recordings for Deutsche Grammophon show him in a more intimate role as a recitalist, playing solo piano music by such masters of the keyboard as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy, and Chopin. For this 2013 release, Blechacz has chosen seven of Chopin's published Polonaises, character pieces based on the traditional Polish dance form that became important statements of national pride. Blechacz undoubtedly pours his own feelings about his native country in these pieces, since the performances are unabashedly passionate and stirring, and the amount of rubato he uses suggests that he plays with intense emotional involvement. This is an openly Romantic style of playing Chopin that, for a time, fell out of favor in the late 20th century, but Blechacz seems to play in his own considered manner, free of trends and expectations, and he shapes these polonaises with a highly personal expression that isn't found in any other interpretations. Some might feel that Blechacz exaggerates effects at times, making the music more extraverted or theatrical than is necessary, but the grand style works for him, and his consistency shows that he has weighed his options carefully and found that the Polonaises especially require the bravura treatment.