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Impressive Expressions! – Blechacz plays Piano Music by Debussy and Szymanowski

Hailed by critics is this new release from young Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz born in 1985. At the age of 20 he won all five sections of the Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. He so impressed the judges that they awarded no second prize. Blechacz has previously recorded three albums for Deutsche Grammophon; Chopin Preludes, Chopin Concertos and Sonatas by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

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This time he gives us a recital of early 20th-century French and Polish music, pairing impressionistic pieces by Debussy with more expressionistic works by Blechacz’s compatriot Karol Szymanowski.
Blechacz is not really interested in the ongoing musicological discussion as to whether Debussy’s works are Impressionistic or not. He rather seeks a Debussy who is an Impressionist who has borrowed his structural virtues from Classicism and developed them a stage further. Totally aware of what Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin had achieved he was able to translate all of this into a language of musical modernism. That is why Rafal Blechacz describes Debussy as “the king of colours”.
Szymanowski is a composer Blechacz feels a tremendous affinity for and on the album he plays the C-sharp minor Prelude & Fugue of 1905 and the first Sonata of 1904. The intensity of expression was to mark Szymanowski’s later music, while at the same time nodding to the legacy of Chopin, the German Romantic tradition as well as Alexander Scriabin.

Debussy: Sarabande from Pour le piano

“This is an unforgettable disc from one of the pianistic giants of our time.”

— The Sunday Times

The album on DG: Rafal Blechacz plays Debussy and Szymanowski
Review from The Guardian


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