27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
The Glory of Chopin's Piano Concertos,
This review is from: Chopin: Piano Concertos (Audio CD)
I was immediately impressed by the lustre and harmony of this CD, its simplicity and its subtlety. Rafal Blechacz is a young Polish pianist, a student among Zimmerman's, already having produced a couple of Chopin records. This is his grand appearance, with Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam - the best orchestra 2009 according to The Gramophone -, excellently conducted by Jerzy Semkow. What is especially attractive in his playing is the sonority, which is mellow and distinct at the same time, and very atmospheric, but also the youthful lightness of his style, a seemingly heedless and intimate playing, combined with a strict accuracy. I don't think I have heard such a gracefully relaxed playing since the heyday of Radu Lupu's. The score does not appear to present any difficulties to him, it is just a supreme joy to perform, and he has a perfect feeling for the whole and the balance, particularly in the first movement of the first concerto, op 11, in e-minor, more than twenty minutes long as it is, and very demanding.
I have never appreciated the second concerto, op 21, in f-minor, as much as the first one, but Blechacz made me yield to it. His version is ravishingly fine, accentuating its still juvenile bliss. After all, these concertos are youthful creations, and Blechacz's way of playing is in deepest harmony with them. Royal Concertgebouw under Semkow supports him with all its accomplished splendor.
So this is a first choice by now? Why not? I certainly prefer these interpretations to Zimerman's, which are a bit too magisterial and monumental to my taste, brilliant and admirable though they are. Of course, Martha Argerich is in her own class. But pull down all this ranking; after all music is no sports and athletics, but a superb dialogue of many voices and players, contributing to the manifoldness of these divine musical works. And Blechacz versions are a very convincing contribution to this dialectical process around Chopin's piano concertos. I think every one listening to this record will, like me, return to it many times, partake in the process, swept off by its enchantment and longing for a relistening.