Composer: Frederyk Chopin
Performer: Rafal Blechacz
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 145 MB
01. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 1. in C major
02. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 2. in A minor
03. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 3. in G major
04. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 4. in E minor
05. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 5. in D major
06. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 6. in B minor
07. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 7. in A major
08. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 8. in F sharp minor
09. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 9. in E major
10. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 10. in C sharp minor
11. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 11. in B major
12. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 12. in G sharp minor
13. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 13. in F sharp major
14. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 14. in E flat minor
15. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 15. in D flat major (“Raindrop”)
16. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 16. in B flat minor
17. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 17. in A flat major
18. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 18. in F minor
19. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 19. in E flat major
20. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 20. in C minor
21. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 21. in B flat major
22. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 22. in G minor
23. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 23. in F major
24. 24 Préludes, Op.28 – 24. in D minor
25. Prelude In A Flat Opus Posth.
26. Prélude op. 45
27. Deux Nocturnes, Op.62 – 1. Nocturne in B (Andante)
28. Deux Nocturnes, Op.62 – 2. Nocturne in E (Lento)
INTERNATIONAL WARSAW CHOPIN COMPETITION WINNER MAKES HIS FIRST RECORDING FOR DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz (pronounced Rafow Blehatchz), born on June 30, 1985, has been cited by critics as one of those talents that only come along every few decades–his playing is characterized by its elegance, delicacy, and a poetic solemnity that has invited comparison to the legendary pianists of the early 20th century, including Krystian Zimerman, who is a Blechacz supporter and mentor. Blechacz burst on to the scene with a sensational victory at the famed Warsaw Chopin Competition in October 2005– the jury awarded him not only the rarely given first prize but also all four special prizes for best sonata, mazurka, concerto, and polonaise performance. Since then, Blechacz has performed all over Europe and Japan to high critical acclaim and already ensured himself a huge following among piano aficionados. In October 2008 Blechacz will make his debut with the New York Philharmonic. Blechacz’s first album for Deutsche Grammophon is a recording of the complete Chopin Preludes–one of Chopin’s most lyrical and best-known piano cycles and the perfect program to introduce the audience to the artistry of this exceptional young pianist. The Preludes are coupled with the two Nocturnes op. 62, arguably the climax of Chopin’s achievements in this genre. A remarkable album by a unique young pianist–Rafal Blechacz’s Deutsche Grammophon debut could easily join those legendary first recordings of Chopin competition winners of the past.
A young career launched at the highest level
The Gramophone reviewer got right to the point in his headdline for this CD: “The piano world welcomes a young master and awaits musical revelation.” Not a single word is exaggerated. After a commanding win at the 2005 International Warsaw Chopin competition (the jury awarded him every prize), ten 20-year-old Rafal Blechacz slipped immeidately into a major recording contract, as previous winners Martha Argerich and Maurizio Pollini did in their youth.
Based on this enthralling account of Chopin’s complete Preludes, which eaisly competes with the best in the catalog, there’s no suitable reaction short of being floored. Blechacz is less explosive than Argerich, less aristocratic than Pollini. His great strength is that he moves the listener through perfect musical instinct combined with a God-given ability to find the arc of feeling that turns a series of separate Preludes into one unified work. He has everything else needed, too: dramatic contrast, flawless technique, variety of tone — one could go on. A young master, indeed.
P.S. — It’s worth searching on YouTube for Blechacz’s televised performances after winning the Chopin competition. There’s a stunning “Heroic” Polonaise that rivals the best, among other things. He subsequently went back to his studies, and that’s a good sign. I’ve heard some online concerto performances that also bespeak a potentially great artist. The only caution is that Blechacz’s recent Chopin concertos, although very fine, show a tendency to tameness where more fire would be a much better thing.