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The Pianist: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack


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Audio CD, Soundtrack, November 26, 2002
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Product Details

  • Performer: Janusz Olejniczak, Frederic Chopin
  • Audio CD (November 26, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00007E8SQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,430 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Nocturne in C-Sharp minor (1830)
2. Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72, No. 1
3. Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, No. 1
4. Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38
5. Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23
6. Waltz No. 3 in A minor, Op. 34, No. 2
7. Prilude in E minor, Op. 28, No. 4
8. Grande Polonaise for Piano and Orchestra (preceded by an Andante Spianato), Op. 22
9. Andante spianato in G Major
10. Grande Polonaise in E-flat Major
11. Moving to the Ghetto Oct. 31, 1940
12. Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17, No. 4

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Roman Polanski's telling of famed Polish composer-pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman's survival in the Nazi-controlled Warsaw ghetto can't help but be infused with the director's deepest passions: he himself escaped the Kraków ghetto as a boy of 7. The musician's status as a musical hero to the oppressed Polish Jews of World War II was surpassed only by that of Chopin, the composer who was at the core of Szpilman's repertoire. Thus this score revolves tightly around Chopin's music, with modern Polish pianist Janusz Olejniczak paying passionate homage to both his musical and national forebears, the haunting strains of the Nocturne in C-sharp Minor setting the film's historical and dramatic tone. The underscore of previous Polanski collaborator Wojciech Kilar (The Ninth Gate, Death and the Maiden) is represented here by the soulful "Moving to the Ghetto," a cue that helps anchor the soundtrack's troubling time and place with understated grace. The collection concludes with a rare, remastered performance of Chopin's Mazurka Op. 17, No.4 by Szpilman himself, recorded in Warsaw in 1948. --Jerry McCulley

Customer Reviews

It's heartbreaking to think of such beauty being played amid the setting of such brutal and inhuman squalor.
Larkenfield
I almost didn't order this CD when I read one review here about it being "butchered" lol...but I went ahead anyway, since I love this music.
Patricia E. Parry
The beauty of the music that Szpilman uses to keep himself alive set against the backdrop of the most horrific scenes of human degradation imaginable.
Gilbert Kirk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Larry VanDeSande VINE VOICE on January 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The film score to "The Pianist" has to be the best Chopin collection ever made for film and comprises one of the better film scores of recent years. The Chopin selections are all thoughtful and connect powerfully to images presented in the film. Pianist Janusz Oleiniczak is an extrovert Chopin performer captured in exemplary DDD sound. I think this is not only one of the better film scores for classical music, it is one of the better Chopin collections from recent years. The music is scrupulously selected to represent the emotions generated in the stark visual imagery -- from the melancholy Nocturne in C-sharp minor that represents the beginning of the end for thousands of Jews...to the powerful Ballade No. 1 played to a sympathetic German officer...to the Andante Spinato and Grande Poloniase Brilliant that triumphantly ends the flim over closing credits. "The Pianist" is a remarkable film that deserves its many plaudits and its score adds much to its reputation. The two are indispensable parts of an unforgettable artistic experince.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By John Atherton on May 8, 2005
Format: Audio CD
A previous reviewer considerately corrected others who are perhaps not as well versed as he is about classical music. That reviewer also quite cavalierly dismissed the playing of Janusz Olejniczak, chiefly it appears because this is a movie soundtrack.
A number of eminent pianists - Rubinstein, Bolet, Moravec, Ax, among many others - have recorded movie soundtracks. And, like them, Olejniczak has recorded a great deal more. For instance, his albums for the Opus 111 label, which also recorded Sokolov, should be sampled by all lovers of Chopin, if only because Olejniczak can be heard playing on one record an Erard piano from Chopin's time, and on another an even more remarkable Pleyel. It's fascinating to find the Erard really does have what Chopin called a "ready-made" tone; the Pleyel by comparison is a revelation.
But then so it the playing of Olejniczak. He was not discovered by Roman Polanski. Olejniczak was a prize-winner of the Warsaw Chopin competition at the age of 18. He is greatly respected in his native Poland and in Japan, which both know something about great Chopin playing.
Olejniczak is a forceful artist who nevertheless never pounds; one frequently is put in mind of how Chopin envied the powerful way Liszt played his etudes. Olejniczak's Polish "accent" is, of course, entirely appropriate for Chopin, as is his wonderful voicing of chords and sure but free rhythm. Olejniczak plays with a full-throated lyricism -- it is the Bellini of "Norma" rather than "Sonnambula" -- but the pianist can also be touchingly tender. Above all he is dramatic in the fullest sense, vividly characterizing each piece. It's easy to see why Polanski and other film directors have been drawn to him. Chopin clearly is Olejniczak's life blood.
Read more ›
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By "vash01" on June 10, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD after seeing the movie 'The Pianist' twice, and reading the book by Wladyslaw Szpilman once. I have listened to it at least 20 times by now and I am still not tired of it. I am not a musician, nor do I understand music, but I do enjoy great music, particularly classical music. I liked Chopin long before I saw this movie but now I am a big fan of Chopin. A lot of the credit goes to Roman Polanski who created a masterpiece, to Adrien Brody's superb acting, and the wonderful piano by Janusz Olejniczak. My most favorite piece is Ballade No.1 in G minor,op. 23 (#5 on the CD), which Szpilman's character in the movie plays for the German officer. I also love Nocturne in C sharp minor (#1 on the CD), which we hear at the beginning of the movie, and after the war is over. The Grande Polonaise at the very end (#9 on CD) fills me with great joy because to me it represents a happy ending, inspite of irrecoverable loss. I have listened to Chopin played by several other pianists, and I like Olejniczak's interpretation very much. The 'ghetto' piece by Kilar, though a bit out of place among the Chopin pieces, brings back memories of this wonderful movie. Without it, the CD would have been incomplete. My minor disappointment is that the cello piece played by the character Dorota, and the small portion of Moonlight Sonata, are not on this CD. I would have liked to see them included. Other than that, this is a wonderful CD and I am very happy with my purchase.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Annette Munson on March 24, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Just as surely as Roman Polanski's "The Pianist" was easily the most powerful film I have seen during my four decades on this earth, so has the movie's soundtrack transformed (i.e., expanded) my musical horizons. As child of the sixties for whom a purchase of classical music would have seemed anathema only a few short years ago, the stirring echos of "The Pianist" and its magnificent soundtrack are akin to a groove in the soul....they remind us all of the transcending power of music, the enduring goodness and presence of humanity in the midst of bestiality...the staggering gifts of the protagonists (Wladislaw Szpilman and Frederic Chopin) as they conjoin to vanquish unspeakable evil and degradation. Not only a director of subtle genius and commanding skill, Roman Polanski also escaped the Nazi terror at a heartbreakingly tender age (seven). Having lost his mother to Auschwitz, Polanski survived intermittently on the kindness of strangers and his own wits, but miraculously prevailed. Speaking words of surpassing eloquence, Polanski gives credence to the Polish pianist (Janusz Olejniczak) whose brilliant majesty pervades this soundtrack. As an accomplished pianist in my own youth, I know - keenly - that 90% of the works on this soundtrack are adequately performed by only the most able of musicians. Olejniczak does that - and much, much more. Track #9 - "Grande Polonaise in E-flat Major" is, in a word, breathtaking. Polanski wisely chose this piece as the backdrop to the film's climactic final scene. It had the audience (including myself) standing in rapt attention until the very last second - and applauding joyously at its conclusion.Read more ›
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"The Pianist" need name of song
Hi Meowmix, the name of the song is Chopin's Waltz No.18 In E Flat, Op.Posth. It's a really hard song to find since it was not published during Chopin's lifetime, but many years after his death. Amazon.com sells a great cd by Georges Cziffra with all of Chopin's waltzes including the one you are... Read More
Jul 7, 2007 by Amy |  See all 3 posts
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