The International Chopin Competition delivered sought after coryphaeuses; Maurizio Pollini and Krystian Zimmerman are considered to be the most famous ones. The last competition winner (2005) was Rafał Blechacz who is 22 now. We had his debut in the series of Grand piano Masters. His quality of play allows to expect that his name will soon shine among such names as Pollini and Zimmerman. Whether it will happen, the future will tell, because in such a case, often non-musical factors play a greater role. This will, however, not depend on his play. Blechacz seems to have excellent technique, but he is far from delivering a circus presentation of his skills. In contrast, taking advantage of the diligent technique and easiness with which he plays he can fully dedicate himself to the music. This brought about a remarkably charming and sincere impression. Blechacz already won audience’s hearts with Sonata Es-major Hob XVI:52 by Joseph Haydn. With a multitude of expression and intelligent presentation of this great form, Blechacz demonstrated a breathtaking interpretation. He touched the grand piano pedals sporadically and always subtly which, in combination with appropriate play of fingers provided a rare sound clarity. The same clarity adorned three concert etudes by Franz List. This was the great format play, however without unnecessary adornments and with clear sound. A greater variety of moods and colours can be heard in Variations b-minor, opus 3 by Karol Szymanowski, the countryman of Rafał Blechacz. One will never here such a piece of work. In Brams’s style it was worth listening to, especially performed by an artist of Blechacz caliber. It turned out that the young pianist also excellently mastered legato and toucher.
The greatest depth was achieved by Blechacz in 24 Preludes, opus 28 by Frederick Chopin. In such varied short compositions he allowed to hear not only exquisite details and large contrasts: he managed, moreover, to tell a complete tale, with ingenious use of relations of the tempo among loose preludes and time arrangement of introductions. Only on rare occasions can one hear such mature and beautiful play presented by a 22-year-old: the world of pianists has a new coryphaeus, and he is called Rafał Blechacz!
Christo Lelie, Trouw, 9.10.2007