As the winner of several prestigious piano competitions, Rafal Blechacz might be expected to record virtuoso showpieces and blockbuster concertos to demonstrate his phenomenal skills and prowess. Yet this album of mostly quiet solo piano works by Claude Debussy and Karol Szymanowski bespeaks an introspective and reflective nature, and Blechacz reveals much of his inner character in these impressionistic and post-Romantic pieces. They aren't without technical challenges, and Blechacz handles the intricacies of Debussy's elaborate filigree and Szymanowski's dense counterpoint with polished ease. But at the core of these works is a melancholy fin de siècle expression that is apparent in the evocative scene painting of Pour le piano and Estampes, and in the brooding and passionate melodies of the Sonata in C minor. This is a wonderful album to explore in solitude, and Blechacz's subtle playing is best appreciated at leisure, without distractions. Deutsche Grammophon delivers its usual immaculate sound, so every nuance of phrasing and dynamic change is audible.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Pour le piano|
|Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor|
|Sonata in C minor, Op.8|