Rafal Blechacz has already given us a superlative account of the two Chopin concertos and here again he shows himself to be an interpreter of outstanding energy and refinement. He tends to favour fast tempos which bring out the dance in the Polonaises, even the famous A flat op. 53. He also leads with the tune, which comes across with great energy and fervour, strongly trilled where required, and always with an elan that is highly appealing. Having tried to bash my way through these pieces I am surprised at the sheer stamina of Blechacz who brings great brio to every phrase, as if he has strength to spare. The style makes them seem like beefier cousins of the mazurkas, but ones where muscle power still needs to be subdued by melodic shape, and the dynamics of number 3 or 4 (both opus 40) are actually carefully gradated, if generally on the strong side. The latter has the most restrained start, only to burst out of its containment on the second statement of the tune. Conversely he follows the stark rhythmic figuration in the opus 44 with a middle section of radiant lyrical impulse, before two stampeding scales bring back the stormy heroics. Blechacz gets the spirit of the music perfectly, from the fleet-footed opus 26 pair to the grandeur of the Polonaise-Fantaisie, which brings out a ruminative note not quite heard elsewhere on the disc. It is surely one of Chopin's finest moments, with the last two pages allowing the pianist to end in a blaze of glory, having started the disc with two sparklers - at all events he illuminates this splendidly rhythmic and noble group within Chopin's output.
on 27 June 2014
Although techinically the playing was sound, I found these performances in rather one dimensional. There was little light and shade, too much blood and thunder for me. Okay, so the polonaises are in general extrovert, "public" music but in the more intimate passages, for example the middle section of Op 26 no 1, something was missing. Strangely, the most successful reading for me was the most elusive work on the dics, the Polonaise Fantasie. Blechacz "gets it" - he was able to make it a mini drama, bringing out the many different aspects of this work and blending them into a seamless whole. But prospective purchasers should check out other versions before investing in this one. Blechacz is a young arteist and clearly one for the future - certainly Deutsche Grammophon think so, which is an endorsement in iteslf.
on 7 April 2014
Rafal Blechacz is an absolute star and highly gifted young musician. When I grew up, all the members of my family played the piano and so I became accustomed to listening to Chopin from an early age. I still love it today. Rafal Blechacz's playing is sublime and as near to perfection as it can get. Piano Concerto No.2 is totally wonderful and carries you away. "Hinreissend"! This disc is a must in any Chopin collection.