Monthly Archives: June 2014

118: Basculements

(French) Noun – 1. plural form of basculement On the right, the main view of Rafal's artist page; on the left, the Houdini-esque "On Tour" page that is still present but inaccessible from the main page. Recall what I wrote in the previous post (117) about Rafal’s tour schedule. As of 23 June 2014 that page appears blank, but we already know that he has an engagement in little less than two months (see 117). Today I went back to investigate and the page is still blank (I have it bookmarked so I can play “Where’s Wally” a la Rafal). Even stranger than ever is that when one visits Rafal’s homepage on DG’s website, the link to the tour schedule is entirely absent (shown above at right; mysteriously disappearing link to tour schedule is highlighted in red). To the left is the tour schedule that still appears via search engine (and via links from this very blog), but to the right the main page has deliberately omitted any mention of touring. So we now can be pretty sure this is not just Rafal’s agent slacking off; rather, it is a deliberate message that Rafal is not on tour as of now. For the delusional reasons I set down in 117, I am fairly convinced that this means a new album or two is in the works. This discovery only strengthens my conviction.

J39M

EDIT: I am vindicated. The “On Tour” page has been updated, and as of 8 July 2014 it lists Rafal’s earliest engagement to be a Chopin recital on 15 August 2014 in Montreal, Canada. Innocent sabbatical? I think not!

J39M

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117: Detruantojn

(Esperanto) Noun – 1. accusative plural present nominal active participle of detrui.

Observe for a moment that as of 15 June 2014 Rafal’s tour roster is blank. If the link ever goes bad or changes, simply know that the page features a pleasant picture of Rafal and a sidebar with options to explore, but silence about touring information. Compare to the corresponding pages for Hilary Hahn (a banner referring interested parties to local concert listings), Mischa Maisky (lots of concert dates), Alice Sara Ott (lots of concert dates), Jan Lisiecki (that titchy little brat, oh that rascal, even he has lots of concert dates), Esa-Pekka Salonen (dates through August, even if his concerts are a little more spaced out), Patricia Petibon (lots of concert dates), Piotr Beczala, Bryce Dessner, Osvaldo Golijov…

You will notice I start picking names at random towards the end there. I sincerely doubt Blechacz is so far behind the lot of them that he would have no concert engagements at all.

In fact, a quick scan through the news shows that Rafal does indeed have an engagement in August on record. The relevant information is quoted below:

…a roster of rising young talent and such international artists as violinist Vadim Repin; pianists Rafa? Blechacz, Andreas Haefliger, and Marc-André Hamelin; soprano Erin Wall, and OSM music director Kent Nagano…

…Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 played by the young Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz…

…in the spotlight at Cinquième Salle. Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz, winner of the prestigious 2014 Gilmore Artist Award, will perform an all-Chopin program…

…The 128-seat Salle Claude-Léveillée (the former Studio-théâtre) is Place des Arts’ most intimate performance space, dedicated as a platform for young artists…violinist Veronika Eberle and pianist Rafal Blechacz will perform works by Bach, Ysaÿe, and Mozart.

So Blechacz is going to be busy come August. The target of mid-August is two months hence. You cannot expect me to believe that Rafal is just going to take a two-month sabbatical and let the press forget about him for a while. I think a two-month holiday is a bit much. Nor do I accept the idea that his agency has been remiss with updating his concert schedule; no, barring any updates within two weeks, I will conclude that something else is going on to keep Rafal busy. Is it his thesis? His own website cites an interview in which he says that he’s aiming for late 2015:

I’m going to finish my studies before the next Chopin Competition in October 2015. I’m involved in writing my thesis.

No, that doesn’t sound right either. He’s got workable amounts of time to tend to his labors from what I understand of his lifestyle. Being a rising pianist is tough work, but it’s not all-consuming.

This all leads to the delusional, insanely hopeful conclusion that the next album is in the works. The previously cited interview has mingled in my brain for a bit: there are two extant album ideas in the works. The solo album is fully conceived, and the orchestral one takes but a little push.

Then again, it doesn’t take two months to record an album or two either. But it does take a bit more staying-in-one-location to monitor the end-to-end process. Perhaps the extended sabbath is a safety margin?

Of course, Occam’s Razor (taking my person as context) dictates that I’m probably just overreading all this and that Rafal’s tour schedule will be updated in a few days and all this speculation goes to shambles. Too bad for me!

J39M