Title - 'Fauré, Debussy, Szymanowski, Chopin'
Artist - Rafal Blechacz / Bomsori Kim
For those not in the know, Rafal Blechacz is a Polish classical pianist who began piano lessons at the age of five, and enrolled in the National Arthur Rubinstein Music School in Bydgoszcz three years later.
In May 2007, he graduated from the Feliks Nowowiejski Music Academy in Bydgoszcz with professor Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroñ.
He won second prize at the Arthur Rubinstein in Memoriam Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz in 2002, second prize at the 4th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2003 (no first prize was awarded), and first prize at the International Piano Competition in Morocco in 2004.
On October 21, 2005, he became the sole recipient of all five first prizes at the 15th International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, taking First Prize and the polonaise, mazurka, sonata, and concerto prizes.
In fact, to this day, no other pianist has achieved this feat! According to ABC News, one of the judges, Professor Piotr Paleczny, said that Blechacz "so outclassed the remaining finalists that no second prize could actually be awarded."
According to PBS, another judge, John O'Conor, opined "He is one of the greatest artists I have had a chance to hear in my entire life".
Blechacz was the first Pole to win the prize (given every five years) since 1975, when Krystian Zimerman won.
He signed a contract to record for Deutsche Grammophon on May 29, 2006 and in addition to his 2005 debut album from CD Accord, he has released four albums under Deutsche Grammophon as of January 2013.
Winner of the 62nd ARD International Music Competition, Bomsori Kim is internationally regarded as one of today’s most vibrant and exciting violinist.
She is a prize winner of a number of prestigious international violin competitions such as the Tchaikovsky International Competition, the Queen Elisabeth Competition, the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition, the Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition Hannover, the Montreal International Musical Competition and the Sendai International Music Competition.
Bomsori received astonishing success at the 15th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition, winning both Second Prize and Critic’s Prize, as well as nine additional special prizes.
For his first recording of chamber music on Deutsche Grammophon, Rafa³ Blechacz teams up with violinist Bomsori Kim for sonatas by Fauré, Debussy and Szymanowski, as well as Nathan Milstein's haunting arrangement of Chopin's Nocturne in C sharp minor.
Gabriel Fauré (1845 - 1924)
Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
5-7 Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Minor, L. 140
Karol Szymanowski (1882 - 1937)
8-10 Sonata for Violin and Piano in D Minor, Op. 9
Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849)
11. Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor op. posth.
Total Playing Time: 1:02:32
So it goes that Blechacz was looking for a chamber music partner at the time for a new project he was working on and came across Kim quite accidently. “I sent her an email,” he recalls, “and luckily for me, she accepted my musical invitation.”
Well, that's actually lucky for ALL of us as this new duo have partnered to bring us their first rather magical recording of French and Polish repertoire.
Polish melancholy and French elegance are connecting to a wonderfully symbiotic relationship in music, a point well illustrated by the works of Frédéric Chopin, who, Polish by birth, settled in France.
Rafal's playing is characterized by its elegance, delicacy, and a poetic solemnity that is truly embraced and savored by the celebrated young violinist Kim here on Fauré, Debussy, Szymanowski, Chopin.
Kim's debut, Wieniawski & Shostakovich: Violin concertos
(2017) was one of my personal favorites of the year. A rather fantastic debut that is still highly recommended, of course, her work here alongside Blechacz is, for want of a better phrase, perfection personified.
Official Purchase Link