Pianist (Music from the Motion Picture)

Pianist (Music from the Motion Picture)

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by Janusz Olejniczak
     
 

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Roman Polanski's The Pianist is based on the memoirs of Wladislaw Szpilman (1911-2000), a Polish-born Jewish pianist-composer who survived the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto and managed to escape deportation at the hands of the Nazis. Not surprisingly, Szpilman felt a strong attachment to the music of his great countrymanSee more details below

Overview

Roman Polanski's The Pianist is based on the memoirs of Wladislaw Szpilman (1911-2000), a Polish-born Jewish pianist-composer who survived the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto and managed to escape deportation at the hands of the Nazis. Not surprisingly, Szpilman felt a strong attachment to the music of his great countryman Frédéric Chopin, and this collection of music from Polanski's film amounts to a kind of Chopin recital -- a program of ballades, nocturnes, and other pieces, performed by pianist Janusz Olejniczak. In the CD booklet, Polanski, himself a Kraków Ghetto survivor, acknowledges the powerful link Poles feel with Chopin's music ("It's like mother's milk," he writes), and Olejniczak clearly shares this sentiment. His playing is deeply sympathetic, conveying Chopin's delicate lyricism with true style while also carrying off the more fiery moments forcefully. He may not have the technical command of the greatest Chopin interpreters -- Artur Rubinstein, say, or Claudio Arrau -- but who does? And though Olejniczak's rhythmic liberties may turn some heads, his playing is always highly musical; indeed, it breathes with a powerful air of authenticity. For many, this film may be a first encounter with Chopin, and Olejniczak serves as an excellent introducer. For aficionados, a final track featuring a young Szpilman playing the A Minor Mazurka shows what a poet of the piano he could be. It sounds a little scratchy -- to be expected, given its vintage (1948) -- but the remainder of the program, recorded much more recently, is wonderfully spacious and clear, and if you have yet to experience the profound pleasures of Chopin's music, it offers a marvelous opportunity. [Also available: The Pianist: Original Recordings of Wladyslaw Szpilman and Wendy Lands Sings the Music of the Pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman]

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Director Roman Polanski's film The Pianist is based on the memoirs of Polish classical pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman about his harrowing experiences under the Nazi occupation of Warsaw during World War II. The soundtrack album consists almost entirely of Chopin piano pieces, most of them played by Janusz Olejniczak. Most of those, in turn, are solo performances, although Olejniczak is joined by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Tadeusz Strugala, for "Grand Polonaise for Piano and Orchestra." The sole non-Chopin track is the excerpt from Wojciech Kilar's score, "Moving to the Ghetto October 31, 1940," a klezmer-like piece running only 1:45 in which Hanna Wolczedska plays clarinet, accompanied by the Warsaw Philharmonic. Appropriately, the album ends with an actual recording by Szpilman of the "Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 17, No. 4."

Product Details

Release Date:
11/26/2002
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998773929
catalogNumber:
87739

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Nocturne for piano in C sharp minor (doubtful), KK Anh.Ia/6
  2. Nocturne for piano No. 19 in E minor, Op. 72/1, CT. 126
  3. Nocturne for piano No. 13 in C minor, Op. 48/1, CT. 120
  4. Ballade for piano No. 2 in F major, Op. 38, CT. 3
  5. Ballade for piano No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23, CT. 2
  6. Waltz for piano No. 3 in A minor, Op. 34/2, CT. 209
  7. Prelude for piano No. 4 in E minor, Op. 28/4, CT. 169
  8. Andante spianato in G major. Tranquillo (Introduction to the Grande Pol
  9. Grande Polonaise in E flat major. Molto allegro
  10. Moving to the Ghetto Oct. 31, 1940
  11. Mazurka for piano No. 13 in A minor, Op. 17/4, CT. 63  - Wladyslaw Szpilman

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