Rafal Blechacz was
born as recently as 1985 yet he plays
with a maturity beyond his years.
His grasp of Schumann's difficult
G minor Sonata is quite remarkable,
the good recording preserving his
thoughts truthfully - perhaps just
a touch more body on the treble would
have been good. Blechacz presents
the opening with a balance of classical
restraint and Romantic outpouring.
The Andantino is an oasis of peace,
tranquil and whispered confidences
- Blechacz may be capable of even
more intimacy than he displays here.
The finale tends towards the dry-of-pedal,
but not harmfully so and if the very
close is identifiably studio-bound,
it gives a useful pointer as to what
young Blechacz may be capable of in
a live setting.
The Liszt Studies
are a pleasure. Waldesrauchen
is nicely atmospheric (although Arrau
– Philips- remains a firm first recommendation),
finding Blechacz revelling in the
proto-Impressionistic textures. If
La leggierezza is not as natural
as in some hands - the unparalleled
Simon Barere on APR6002 – the complete
HMV recordings 1934-6 here takes Gold
- Gnomenreigen (translated
in the booklet as 'A Gnome Pageant'
as opposed to the more usual 'Round
Dance of the Gnomes') is better. Just
a tad more speed and less attention
to the ever-critical microphone would
have freed Blechacz to express himself
Blechacz seems to
enjoy the challenges of the Debussy,
seeing real emotive weight in the
expressive harmonies themselves. His
Menuet borders on the cheeky, while
his Clair de lune is magnificently
unhackneyed. His left-hand staccato
for the final Passapied is given with
marvellously even and careful touch.
Perhaps the most
interesting aspect of this recital
is Szymanowski's Variations in B flat
minor, Op. 3. An early work, the Theme
(original) is given out in the barest
of fashions - it seems to show affinity
with late Liszt - but sonorities soon
become perfumed. There is a melting
freedom to the composer's fluidity
of invention that Bechacz reacts to
in the most natural of fashions.
Continuing the patriotic
theme, Chopin's A flat Polonaise finds
Blechacz is more robust mood. There
is real determination to the opening,
an opening that thirty seconds later
blossoms into great chordal outbursts.
The infamous octaves cause Blechacz
no problems at all.
I look forward to
hearing more from this young man.