Rafal Blechacz quotes

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Being natural is the key.

Rafal Blechacz

“ What I try to do through music or what I value in my life is "to be natural".
In performing music work, my role is to play it as the composer wanted me to play and to reproduce what he wanted to express today.
For me, trying to respond to his wish is natural and to achieve that, I need to select the music that I stay natural with”.
(with Takaakira Aosawa, Japan, Feb. 2009)

For me the most important is to be natural, in life and also in playing the piano. Then the interpretation is authentic, because it is real and the audience can understand it in the right way.
( Hamburg, Oct. 2009)

I stand on the naturalness in life and music.
I recorded these concertos so that they were sincere, flowing straight from my heart ...
(Poland, July, 2009)
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What is Chopin music for Rafał Blechacz?

During the Bach Competition in Gorzow I had to play a piece by Chopin, and I performed Nocturne in B major, Op. 32 No.1. I was fascinated by beautiful melodic lines and interesting modulations. I was still very small, not reaching for the pedals, so I played standing up ...
Why is Chopin's music so great? Why it influences future generations? The answer is probably simple. It's music full of emotions, it is joy and sadness, but also peace and drama. Besides Chopin allows us performers to communicate our emotions, every time different. Thanks to this, interpretations become deep and true. Obviously my interpretation of composition of Chopin is changing. This is affected by experiences,...
(with Anna Skulska for Polish Radio, Feb. 21, 2010)
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(--A problem of the interpretation of Chopin is unfortunately quite often: people seem to love him only as a tragic melancholic figure?) Yes. He could be quite different, he can be aggressive, powerful, male. Any type of kitsch was what he didn't like. I am looking for the genuineness, the truth, which is already very difficult. That is the only way I can touch the people in their hearts.
(with Teresa Pieschacon Raphael for TV ARTE, Hamburg, Oct. 2009)
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For example Polonaise-Fantasie … amazing piece, probably the most difficult, because everything is in it. Of course you can find the characteristic elements of the polonaise, the typical Polish dance. Above all this piece has many unconventional moments. It is difficult to explain. For example the end of the polonaise, an unbelievable place, which reminds me an internal struggle, leading to a victory in the end. Specially the last accord is important for me: it sounds like the ultimate fulfillment. That seems to be a little philosophical, but this music has a lot to say. But I can feel that something important is in this music.
(for TV ARTE, Hamburg, Oct. 2009)

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Family

“Family is very important for me and my parents, who are very religious. Only in this environment I can develop myself artistically, I need that atmosphere. I love the forests, the food, the language, yes, it is my home land. And when I am traveling I miss my own piano and the language”.
(Germany, Oct. 2009)
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Rafal Blechacz

Playing Chopin’s concertos, with Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra,
Directed by Antoni Wit, Sept. 2, 2006
At St. Lawrence’s Church in Nakło nad Notecią, his parish church.

Faith

"The fact that I have the strong faith has helped me a lot in my life".
"The guiding principle of my life is trust, hope and love".
(From concert booklet of 2007 Japan tour)

“…..music can be a sincere prayer. I decided to express myself through music, because it allows me to transfer the important essence without naming it directly.
I think that not only the audience but also the pianist feels elevated spiritually, by meeting with the beauty of such intercourse. Momentary sounds may release unusual experiences and emotions, which you want to remember for long. In this way, one becomes decidedly better”.
(Poland, autumn 2007)
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Philosophy

“ Studying philosophy is for me a great way to relax from the piano….Taking books with me and read them when I travel is my way of studying. I am fascinated by the philosophy of music, so musicology supported by philosophy. I read Roman Ingarden and Władysław Stróżewski, I am very impressed by his book "Dialectics of creation" which is devoted to the notion of interpretation in different arts”.
(Poland, July 2009)
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Some songs may deliver metaphysical meaning Here philosophy is valuable. My adventure with philosophy began from the texts of Roman Ingarden on the identity of musical works and aesthetic experience. In this way I look at performance in a deeper way.
(after the recital at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, April 20, 2010)
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Rafal Blechacz

Tokyo, 2006

Playing organ

“I’m willing to play organ even today if time allows it. First it was not piano but a small pipe organ that attracted my musical passion…. I must say that playing organ is useful for playing piano in various ways. I love Bach and play his pieces with piano. I sometimes try to make sure timbers with organ. Apart from Bach, I recognize parts of some piano works are
quite similar to organ music, such as the beginning of piano concert in G minor by Saint-Saens, some portions of variations by Szymanowski. Chopin Prelude No.20 is another example”.
(Japan, Feb. 2009)
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Blechacz and Bach

-- If you have the opportunity to record works by Bach, which pieces would you like to select?
“Partitas, Goldberg Variations, Well-Tempered Clavier, Italian Concerto….well when it comes to recording, I must think it seriously. Actually there are a mountain of beautiful pieces with each of them giving me inspiration. The Art of Fugue is also impressive. I would like to play the 1st Partita in 2009/2010 season. By any chance, I might want to record Bach by organ (laughing). Of course I don’t know”.
(Japan, Feb. 2009)
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"When I am in Nakło nad Notecią at home, I play the organ in the church mass on Sundays.
And after the mass, I play for the community a small concert of Bach.
(Germany, 2008)
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Krystian Zimerman

Rafal Blechacz

Krystian Zimerman invited me to himself in Switzerland for one week (in 2007).We spent this time together playing different works by Debussy, "Preludia" by Chopin, also classic sonatas, some Szymanowski, concerto by Beethoven; but not only by piano.
We were talking together, going shopping together.
One day we went to a music shop and Krystian bought me about 20-30 CD's of opera, symphony, piano. It was an unusual experience.
Krystian wasn't like a teacher but like a partner. It was fundamentally exchange of opinions.

Krystian played more different works which he had prepared for his program.
The possibility to be with him so near to watch close at hands to hear sound of piano, his manner.
All were for me very important and remain in my memory for long time.
The contact with so great a person who plays piano is for me the best learning, education.
Krystian said to me,
"You can play it in this way or another, maybe so or maybe you can change nothing, decision always belongs to you".
(Poland, March 2009)
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Whom he learned music from?

“Polish people including myself possess a deep musical tradition. I often listen to the recording by Raul Koczalski. He was a student of Karol Mikuli who was a student of Chopin. Therefore, Koczalski is a second-generation pupil of Chopin. He left a lot of pieces recorded and I have a lot to learn from them. Of course style and trend of playing may change as we go forward in time. However I think that there is an invariable tradition regardless of such changes. Another thing that I can count on is the letters written by Chopin and writings by those close to him. Reading such a literature, I can understand how Chopin played clearly and completely. It is written that Chopin played the Concerto in F minor so smoothly as if he was walking in heaven. I like performances of Chopin’s music by other Polish pianists such as Paderewski and Rubinstein, too. Listening to them is quite informative”.
(Japan, Feb. 2009)
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“For example, the recordings of Chopin by Raul Koczalski were very inspirational for me, especially his "Etudes" are pure music.
Zimerman, Pollini of course but also Mitsuko Uchida has developed the current of classicals, especially music by Mozart.
Alfred Brendel too, he played IV concerto by Beethoven beautifully.”
(Poland, March 2009)
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"Let me say this that recordings Benedetti, Gieseking, Richter, Cortot are obviously part of the history of the execution of these works. I, however, can say that I try to penetrate very deeply into the structure of work, in its nature, logic and meaning. I try to bring myself to a situation in which the composer himself is my biggest inspiration, not someone else's execution. But the fact remains that the stylistics of Benedetti’s playing is very close to me. I admire him for the natural balance between emotion and intellect."
(Poland, Jan. 2012)
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