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A young piano master plays Bach

CLASSICAL

Bach, Solo and Duet Works performed by pianist Rafal Blechacz (Deutsche Grammophon).

You be the judge: How much trouble is a listener in if a young pianist (and Chopin exponent) goes out of his way to tell you this about Bach's piano works: "You mustn't play them in an overly Romantic manner, not that this means the music doesn't express emotions -- quite the opposite in fact. It's just that it's not the subjectively colored world of emotion that you find in Chopin and the Romantics generally but a religious or rather contemplative and metaphysical world."

Are we being put on notice that this pianist so praised for his Chopin playing will bring a new kind of "sewing machine Bach" to us -- in the fine old phrase for mechanical Bach playing?

Not at all. Rafal Blechacz is playing Bach masterworks here from the master's Leipzig years. The second track on the album--the slow movement of the Italian concerto in F-major--demonstrates exactly how expressive Blechacz can be which is quite a lot. He is a 31-year old Polish pianist whose non-Polish admirers include pianist John O'Conor a man of similar musical disposition.

In a world full of much-praised young pianists pushed into recording and touring, Blechacz is one who truly deserves wider acquaintance.

3.5 stars (out of four)

Email: jsimon@buffnews.com

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