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Pianist (Music from the Motion Picture)

The Pianist (Music from the Motion Picture)

5.0 7
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 countryman


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]

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."

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Pianist (Music from the Motion Picture) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw the movie "The Pianist" and immediately had to order the CD. I questioned whether to just get a cheaper CD of Chopin's music instead of this soundtrack (which is basically all Chopin), but I'm glad I bought this CD. The most important part to me in classical music CDs is the song placement, because some CDs have soft songs directly into loud ones, ruining the "mood;" this CD has none of that. The best song to me is "Nocturne in C-Sharp Minor," very nice. I may not know the life story of The Pianist himself or Janusz Olejniczak like the other reviewers of this CD seem to know, but I know great music when I hear it. Great movie, great soundtrack!
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto to the triumphs of the Human Spirt, the soundtrack for "The Pianist" brings out the best music for the best of movies. Amazing story, and amazing music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This soundtrack just takes you away. It has the most beautiful songs i have ever heard in my entire life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carries you from the depths of human degradation to the heights of the ultimate triumph of the human spirit!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is also available - licensed from Sony Europe by Brentwood/BCI Eclipse. How do we get BN.COM to carry this Fabulous Classical collector's edition.The Pianist CD ¿ inspired by the motion picture ¿THE PIANIST¿ Roman Polanski¿s latest film starring Adrian Brody. This CD features the original recordings of the Pianist: Wladyslaw Szpilman When the shells of the invading Nazis forced the closure of Polish radio on 23rd September 1939, the last live music heard was Wladyslaw Szpilman¿s performance of Chopin¿s C sharp minor Nocturne. When broadcasting was resumed in 1945, it was again Szpilman who initiated the transmission, with the same Chopin nocturne and history was in the making. He had survived the horrific ordeal. This disc contains Chopin¿s nocturne together with the pianist `s favorite recordings.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The selection of songs they choose for the movie soundtrack are simply moving. When I had first listened to the CD I began to cry. It takes you back through all the pain and suffering. This is my first encounter with Chopin and now I am hooked. I am proud to say that I am 15 years old and even though my friends make fun of me for listening to classical music, I will always have a love for it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Pianist soundtrack is a wonderful collection of Chopin's songs that accurately and effectively reflect the songs Spzilman played during one of the most tumultuous times in history. Though only one song is authentically performed by Spzilman, the songs played by Janusz Olejniczak genuinly project Spzilman's emotion with his musical interpretation. His interpretation of the music appropriately fits the film's pathos to its greatest potential through muscial elements of crescendos, decrescendos and tempo changes. Spzilman's emotion and passion for music are fully grasped in one of the most poignant scenes of the movie when he plays his heart out for the SS officer to prove he was and still is a pianist. This not only is a great starter collection for those of you who are not familiar with Chopin's music but is also a vehicle for us to transcend ourselves back to this heart-felt and truly moving film.