We recommend you another review from the European concert tour of Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra – this time from the concert in Staatstheater Darmstadt. The text appeared in the Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

Rafał Blechacz amazes the audience. He plays Chopin like a child prodigy opening a present.

Silvia Adler

DARMSTADT – Rafał Blechacz has been considered as a complete artist for a long time now. At the age of 19 he won the 15. International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, as the first Pole after Krystian Zimerman. Due to his superiority over the other competitors, the second prize was not granted, and Blechacz was also awarded all four special prizes.

15 years has gone since that moment, though it is hard to believe it when on Friday night Blechacz sits at the piano in Staatstheater Darmstadt to play Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor by Chopin, along with the Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra. He still has this unique aura of an ingenious, wonder child. This impression stems not only from the artist’s slender figure, but also this dreamy and fanciful approach to Chopin’s music. He immerses himself into it with a peculiar intuition, up to the deepest structures, as if he was unwraping a finest gift.

Solo part in Allegro maestoso is very delicate and enticing. With great virtuosity and fingers, the mobility of which seem not to undergo any natural limits, the pianist joins the art of “brillante” style with the depth of spiritual expression which doesn’t need any external additives. Blechacz does not have the tendency to caricature emotions, though his analytically clear play seems to be fueled by emotionality found directly in the score. Infinitely gentle sounds of descant, as if woven from golden threads, along with the microscopically perfect, absolutely precise phrasing and the culture of playing piano which makes even the most tender tones burning bright – all these factors give his interpretation a form of highly concentrated distillate in which the condensed musical ideas of Chopin seem to be captured in the purest form.

Works of Roman Palester and Aleksander Tansman

Łukasz Borowicz conducts with caution: he lets the orchestra draw the vital forces from the available resources, though at some point he demands an essential discipline in dynamics, which enables the soloist to play even the most subtle pianissimo without the fear of being covered up by the orchestra. The final rondo was also intricately refined, and Blechacz – who received applause and standing ovation from the audience – drew it out from the keys in a playful and masterful way, like some sort of an elaborately carved engraving.

Besides the performance of the world-famous Polish pianist, the gala concert organized on the 20th anniversary of partnership between the region of Greater Poland and Hesse was filled with other attractions. Under the title “Composers Living Out Of The Suitcase” the works of Roman Palester and Aleksander Tansman were performed, who – just like Chopin – spent many years abroad.

Strongly outlining the contours and basing on the temperamental rhythm, the Orchestra played “Wedding Dances” from the ballet “The Song of the Earth” which fluctuates between an archaic folklore and vibrant reverie suspended in void. The piece was written by Palester, born in 1907, whose works were considered by the socialist artistic doctrine to be too “formalist” and weren’t performed in Poland until 1977.

In Tansman’s Symphonie Concertante there is a relaxation of an intense dialogue between the orchestra and the quartet of soloists: Marcin Suszycki (violin), Dominik Dębski (viola), Józef Czarnecki (cello) and Michał Francuz (piano). Exuberant American swing and melancholy-tinted jazz meets classical piano quartet and baroque craft of the fugue.