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Inside his sitting room there are shelves of old books, a Bieder-meier secretaire, a polished parquet floor.Black and white photographs of old friends stand in rows on the piano; prints and framed mementoes hang from the white walls.In the end he survived for several months alone, perhaps the only person alive in the burnedout ruins of Warsaw, drinking water frozen in the bathtubs of empty flats and eating whatever he could find hidden in destroyed kitchens.Written in flat, almost emotionless prose, The Pianist evokes the strange mix of horror and elation Szpilman must have felt at that time.You can hear it in before-and-after recordings, in which one conductor beefed up the militaristic brass, and another found a conduit for psychic pain in the music's dissonances. You could argue that such changes have most to do with how we hear. I made a point of listening to the Szpilman discs (one from the independent label BCI Eclipse and the other from the German branch of Sony Classical) before and after seeing the film.What I heard didn't change, but the film explained a few things.The film tells the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman , a Jewish pianist in Warsaw.
No, from the first notes of both Szpilman discs, you hear poetic, Old-World rubato and that warm blanket of piano tone that's missing from the film's soundtrack performances by Janusz Olejniczak.Nearly identical in their selection of works, the two discs differ mainly in Sony's inclusion of a CD-ROM video feature of the aging Szpilman playing Chopin's Nocturne in C sharp minor in 1980. The dignity of the pianist's manner has infinitely more impact if you know that this is the piece he was playing when Polish Radio was destroyed by the Nazis and that he returned to five years later, after the Nazis had been destroyed.Without asking for the slightest bit of sympathy, he was recreating a moment that was emblematic for his country and all Jewish survivors of World War II.Grim calling the film, "undoubtedly the greatest Holocaust film of all time," adding "'The Pianist' is a testament to the indefatigable spirit of life that refuses to go gentle into the night." He also notes Adrien Brody's performance as "stunning." Works for Violin and Piano with Bronislaw Gimpel: Beethoven "Spring", Grieg op.45, Rathaus "Pastorale and Dance" (1st publication of the world premiere recording in 1963) and small works by Schubert, Dvorak, Wieniawski, Bloch, Prokofiew For all of its devastating power, Roman Polanski's film The Pianist reaches a point where it doesn't entirely ring true.How could anybody emerge from five horrific years of hard labor and starvation in World War II Warsaw with such clean, crisp, emotionally unclouded renditions of Chopin?