Rafal Blechacz quotes

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Maestro Gergiev

“…..during the concert in Moscow Conservatory Hall, …..it was just fantastic.
Each little rubato was directly understood by the conductor and his musicians. They perfectly fit in my play. I could be relaxed, Gergiev didn't interfere into my interpretation.
He has heard me just once and he knew everything.
The orchestra appeared in its large constitution, …..The conductor didn't change the number of musicians, but it had no influence on the final result.”
(Poland, 2006)
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Maestro Jerzy Semkow

“The maestro is a charismatic conductor. He emanates a spell from him, which is given to the team. He is firm and the musicians listen to him, because he talks of his observations in a very convincing way. Orchestra came to love Jerzy Semkow very much, musicians had perfect contacts with him. The maestro understood my interpretation, he did not impose anything on me. He carefully took notes in the score of all my ideas, whether it is about agogics, color or dynamics. When it came to the recording session, the musicians were already well prepared for it. I felt very comfortable playing with him.”
(Poland, Sept. 2009)
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Interactions with audience

(Remembering when he was very young)
"The silence prevailing in the room fascinated me before I started playing. The very silence in the room before the first touch of the keyboard is a sign of transmission of specific emotion, which is to take place in a moment.
At that moment I am aware that I can interact with the people seated in the audience.
And in the end I am rewarded with the popular applause"
In this respect, little has changed until now. Satisfaction by the listeners is the highest award for the musician and mobilization to improve his skills.
(Poland, July 2009)
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The bond between the artist and his audience is crucial. It actually starts from the very first sounds, or even from the moment the artist appears on stage. It is very important to feel that you are playing for someone...
Sometimes a musician can feel the audience enter into some particular spirit. For instance, when I hear silence, a sort of hypnotic one, I know that the performance goes well, that the audience are really listening to me and following each and every sound or phrase. I remember that I had such impression when I was playing Chopin’s Mazurkas op. 17...After I finished playing the last A minor mazurka, the audience didn’t immediately applaud as usual, but remained in that particular silence for about a dozen of seconds. I must say that it was the biggest prize for me...they really had indulged in the music and didn’t want to listen to any extra sounds afterwards. For me it was something exceptional and unforgettable.
(after the recital at Berliner Philharmonie, Nov. 2010)
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Classical composers

(Why did you decide to combine these three composers on one album: sonatas-haydn, mozart, beethoven)
“I wanted to present special relationship between Haydn and Beethoven, between late music by Haydn and early compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven. I think for both composers, their experiences concerning symphonies, concerning string quartets are audible in these compositions. There are many interesting fragments, many polyphonic fragments which prove these things. And I wanted to present strong influence of Haydn’s late music on early compositions of Beethoven. I find in these sonatas many fragments which prove that, for example, quartet thinking, symphony thinking, that are audible in these compositions. For example, the beginning of the 1st movement of Beethoven’s sonata is a typical quartet, and the 2nd part of this movement is a typical tutti of a typical symphony,….”
(From promo video of CD “sonatas- haydn, mozart, beethoven”)

“I've always enjoyed imagining the timbre of various other instruments when I play certain passages in Classical sonatas.
While working on Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven, I've often attempted mentally to "orchestrate" the work, or part of it, whenever I had doubts as to articulation, pedaling or timbre.
After performing this "instrumentation in the mind", those doubts about interpretation would disappear.”
(Blechacz’s notes on CD “sonatas”, Sept. 2008)
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Music by Szymanowski and Debussy

"For my next CD I chose music by Szymanowski and Debussy. I wanted to show a sharp contrast between impressionism and expressionism..."

"Szymanwski is not so popular in Europe but his music is very interesting. My story of Szymanowski music started relatively early. I was 11 or 12 years old I remember I attended the concert by Polish pianist Jerzy Godziszewski. And I was absolutely delighted by the Szymanowski music. I remember everything sounded so beautiful, heart-breakingly beautiful, especially harmony, wonderful modulations, melodies, and I really wanted to play Szymanowski music. So I started with his Variations opus 3 in B flat minor…..Audience liked it very much. …I chose 'Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor' and 'the first Sonata opus 8',..."

"... Szymanowski was quite young and he was absolutely fascinated by expressionist music like Scriabin. We can hear typical atmosphere of expressionism...The first sonata opus 8, the 3rd movement is a kind of minuet, which proves that a classical thinking, approach was very close to Szymanowski,…and it’s very optimistic piece and especially the middle part in this minuet is very interesting, a lot of polyphonies..."
(Promo video of album "DEBUSSY SZYMANOWSKI")
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ラファウ・ブレハッチ

Debussy's music has a kind of special classical character, but what is also very important in case of Debussy is his extreme sensibility to the colours, which has a huge impact to the agogics of the piece. "Passepied" is a beautiful piece so is the entire "Bergamasque" suite. I love to play this suite. I recorded it on my first album before the competition, and I am almost sure that my next recordings will also include pieces from impressionist.
(with Adam Rozlach for Polish Radio 1, July, 2009)
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"Most of Debussy pieces which I decided to record for the CD, I’ve been playing around ten years. They are short pieces, each is very different and each has specific style, specific atmosphere, and I must say that I’m very happy that I found a really good piano which allows me to show a lot of colors, values, shades of the sound and also of the moods.

.....Now I’m happy that after my three albums for DG I can record the music which is very close to me because it helped me in Chopin’s interpretations as well...... There are a lot of virtuosity aspects in these compositions and also a lot of beautiful, deeply moving moments which are very typical for Debussy music. "
(Promo video of album "DEBUSSY SZYMANOWSKI")

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Driving a car

Blechacz often says in interviews that he travels on his car during tours and driving is refreshing and relaxing. In Feb. 2010, he also said;

“You can't calm down your emotion so quickly, it's difficult. I can't sleep after concert or recital. I fall asleep about 3 or 4 o'clock a.m. Also I found the way for it. If the road to next town isn't too far during my tour I go by car. I leave all behind me and think only about the future concert. Sometimes I analyze what I ought to correct, sometimes I make a deeper analysis.”
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Secret of the beautiful sound

“First you need to have good ears. And you always quest for good sounds.
After going through the process, the good sound will come out.
You also relax the tension in the body; you move arms as if making circles; the relaxed (carefree) movement is going to help create a better sound.
My teacher showed a good example of the ideal sound; I modeled him and made utmost to acquire the excellent sound.
In those days, I was ten years old when I would always think about how I could render a better sound whether it is forte or piano.
Even a forte must not be noisy or discordant; I was always concerned about generating a stately sound.
(Japan, June 2007)
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Whether he favours a Classical or Romantic style of Chopin playing?

Blechacz unhesitatingly opts for the former.
“Not only extroverted interpretations but also introverted ones with inner discipline can leave the listener fulfilled. Mine is closer to what I would call a Mendelssohnian perspective, perhaps due to my earlier experience with the Classical repertoire. I have always strived to keep the musical form intact while bringing out as much detail as possible. When everything is laid out clearly and straightforwardly, it is so much easier to convey the emotions contained within a composition. That doesn't mean that I reject the Romantic style. I may not be as extroverted as some of the Russian pianists, but I think there will come a time for me to play Rachmaninoff."
(From liner notes of CD “Complete Preludes”)
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