Friday, March 25, 2022 | 8:00 pm
In an all-minor-key program not for the faint of heart, internationally acclaimed pianist Rafal Blechacz’s returns to Duke Performances to explore technically dazzling music by Beethoven, Bach, Franck, and Chopin. Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita No. 2 in C Minor begins in a doleful C minor before proceeding through a set of six dances inspired by the courtly, stylized steps of the Baroque era. Beethoven’s Sonata No. 5 in C Minor kicks off with an explosion of dotted rhythms in the melody that propel the piece forward, while his 32 Variations in C Minor offer a comprehensive study of a simple eight-bar melody that transforms time and again over the course of an agitated fifteen minutes. Blechacz — whose career launched on the international stage after he won the 15th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 2005 at the tender age of twenty — next turns to the palate-cleansing elegance of Cesar Franck’s Prelude, Fugue and Variations in B Minor, before the evening concludes with Chopin’s Sonata No. 3 in B-flat Minor, perhaps the composer’s most difficult composition.
J.S. Bach: Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BWV. 826
Beethoven: Sonata No. 5 in C Minor, op. 10, no. 1
Beethoven: 32 Variations in C Minor WoO. 80
Franck: Prelude, Fugue, and Variation in B Minor, op. 18
Chopin: Sonata No. 3 in B-flat Minor, op. 58
Heroic polonaise Rafal Blechacz
"It was as if an artillery of emotion was being volleyed from the keyboard."