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5.0 out of 5 stars Chopin and World War II
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...
Published on Jan. 7 2004 by Larry VanDeSande

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3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Extra-ordinary. Profuse Exaggeration.
The sole purpose of my review is to address the incorrect statements of many reviewers who claim that this CD is extra-ordinary.
I have listened to myriad of works by various composers and performers and would like to assure you that Janusz Olejniczak, the pianist for this CD, is in no way a great pianist. I was listening to one of Nocturnes of Chopin during the...
Published on June 24 2003 by Emil Khekoyan


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5.0 out of 5 stars Chopin and World War II, Jan. 7 2004
This review is from: Pianist Music From The Motion (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and reflective of a terrific film, Nov. 3 2003
By 
T. L. Rylands (Atlanta, GA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pianist Music From The Motion (Audio CD)
As a long-time Chopin enthusiast, I agree with the other reviewer that commented on the fact that these piano pieces are not for wimps. They're difficult, technically complex works that demand a great deal from the pianist. In this instance, I think Wojciech Kilar does a skillful job of interpreting these emotional pieces.
Because Wladislaw Szpillman was a Pole (Chopin was half-Polish), it seems only fitting that Chopin's music was the backbone of the movie. Having grown up in Warsaw, Chopin left it in his early 20s for political reasons. Szpillman chose to stay in Warsaw, despite the growing threat of dangers caused by the Nazi regime of World War II.
Anyone who has seen the movie "The Pianist" can tell you that Szpillman's love of music was deeply entertwined with his passion to stay alive despite the odds. The film is not heavy on dialogue, largely because Szpillman is in isolation much of the time. The music speaks for him, sharing his loneliness, his longing, his memory of past joys and his love of country and family.
Kilar's interpretation of these works is emotional, passionate and heart-felt. He doesn't resort to a paint by numbers style of playing, hacking through the notes. He brings a skillful hand to their difficulty but also reflects the feelings inherent in the melodies and cadences. Every time I listen to it, I feel as if I am on an emotional journey of highs, lows and beautiful reverie.
And it is a journey I savor frequently.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Extra-ordinary. Profuse Exaggeration., June 24 2003
By 
Emil Khekoyan "BACH" (L.A., CA, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pianist Music From The Motion (Audio CD)
The sole purpose of my review is to address the incorrect statements of many reviewers who claim that this CD is extra-ordinary.
I have listened to myriad of works by various composers and performers and would like to assure you that Janusz Olejniczak, the pianist for this CD, is in no way a great pianist. I was listening to one of Nocturnes of Chopin during the movie. When my faviorite part came, I thought that the pianist was playing with wooden fingers - while the quality of the created sound was ok, the tempo was absolutely unacceptable, making the entire segment sound not like Chopin, but a devastating disfigurement accomplished by the pianist who tried to 'interpret' the piece his own way.
For those of you who would like to hear the best pianists, just listen to several works by Richter, Gilels, or Rubinstein. After listening to their works, I am sure that you will find yourself ignorant to praise so much Olejniczak.
The claim that Chopin is the best composer is also a very ignorant statement. I'm afraid that the reason that the composer for this movie is Chopin is because his parents were Jews (who renounced Judaism making Chopin a Jew only by nationality, not religion). No argument, Chopin is a great composer, but that doesn't mean he is the greatest. Those of you who think so, go and listen to Bach's "Prelude in B Minor" performed by Gilels. Or 'Goldberg Variations' by Glenn Gould - they will deprive you of your classical virginity.
The main point is if you want to eat whatever you are fed, then it is ok to get this CD. However, if you prefer to discover the classical music in its full beauty, start with light classical performed by extra-ordinary pianists with no equals born.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's a Treasure!, June 10 2003
By 
"vash01" (Phoenix, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pianist Music From The Motion (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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1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible butchery of otherwise enchanting music, April 10 2003
This review is from: Pianist Music From The Motion (Audio CD)
When I purchased this CD, I expected a certain level of musical expression. I have not yet seen the movie, but I was familiar with a few of the featured songs, so wanted the CD in order to have those. However, I was horribly disappointed. While this level of music may be acceptable to listen to while watching the movie, it is totally repungant on its own. The pianist totally butchers the music. Chopin requires a certain deft smoothness, a lyricism that is difficult and intricate, but finely crafted to express beauty and emotion. The pianist pounds the keys as if only getting the notes right mattered--it does not! This is the first time I have ever hated a professional recording. In no way was Chopin's works honored or rightfully represented. They were massacred with senseless brutality. I had no feeling but disgust when listening to this and I would feel guilty about even giving it to someone else, because they too would be subjected to its musical atrocity. The CD cover promised "a great pianist from poland to play authentically and honor both men's [Szpilman and Chopin] memories," but accomplishes little more than technical all-rightness. I was very disappointed and definitely put out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Visit to a Grave, March 26 2003
This review is from: Pianist Music From The Motion (Audio CD)
Winning the best screenplay and several other Oscars at this year's Academy Awards, Roman Polansky's The Pianist is the true account of Polish musician Wladyslaw Szpilman's survival during the Nazi regime. This CD of music "from and inspired by" the film evokes the story beautifully. Chopin's brooding Nocturnes, either melancholy or deeply grieving, but only rarely triumphant, foretell the sorrows of his native Poland in an almost preternatural manner.
The highlight of the disc is a performance of a Chopin Mazurka by Szpilman himself, recorded in Warsaw in 1948, shortly after the events portrayed in the film. Full of clicks and pops, the sound quality opens a window to the forlorn harmonies of another time. As this track is the only authentic Szpilman performance, listeners wishing for more should find his similarly titled CD on the Brentwood label, "The Pianist: Original Recordings by Wladyslaw Szpilman".
Contemporary Polish pianist Janusz Olejniczak presents the other Chopin pieces in modern performances. His performance style is much more exaggerated that Szpilman's. Olenjniczak takes dramatic liberties with the tempi to great effect, so that the tiny Prelude in E minor becomes almost a visit to a grave. His variety of touch and range of dynamics are most beautifully demonstrated in the G minor Ballade Op. 23, and the Andante spianato of Op. 22.
The only miscue is the inclusion of the soundtrack piece, "Moving to the Ghetto" by Wojciech Kilar. It is a folk-like clarinet solo with orchestra, and its simplicity is misplaced surrounded by the sophistication of Chopin. Otherwise, The Pianist is a tremendously effective and moving CD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational, Stunning Soundtrack to a Brilliant Movie, March 24 2003
By 
Annette Munson (St. Louis, MO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pianist Music From The Motion (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. In conclusion, if the true measure of a film and is soundtrack is the ability to inform and influence others - then this stellar work has achieved this goal for this discerning film and music fan. I ceased performing on the piano years ago (1971), yet the ability to play never left me - until the summer of 1992, when I tried to play an old standard from my youth - and could not do so. Nor could I remember a single chord from even the simplest sonata - the ability to play had left me. Or so I thought. But "The Pianist" and its spine-tingling soundtrack have inspired me. I have vowed to try anew - to attempt to re-learn the ability to play. I may fail miserably - or my abilities may be all for naught. But I'd like to try. Don't get me wrong - I still love the Beatles. I still savor the sonic splendor of The Deftones and the inventive harmonies of Sonic Youth and Coldplay. But, like the very finest works of art, the soundtrack to "The Pianist" is something to be savored - slowly, like manna from the highest heavens. The visceral Valhalla and propulsive immediacy of the best rock 'n roll is still precious to this music buff, but age brings wisdom - and appreciation. My deepest thanks to Roman Polanski, Frederic Chopin, Wladislaw Szpilman and Janusz Olejniczak for the gift of "The Pianist." May its legacy endure - forever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutly Amazing!, March 3 2003
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This review is from: Pianist Music From The Motion (Audio CD)
This soundtrack is a stunning portrayl of the movie, as you can feel the images of the movie all over again after you've seen it. There's only one other Soundtrack that had the same effect on me, and that was the "Requiem for a Dream" soundtrack. As a Jew, as a Piano player, and most of all as a person, I could relate to the torturous events that took place during Szpilman's life, and the soundtrack reflects these feelings perfectly. Even though I only saw the movie yesterday (and soon after purchasing the soundtrack), it has made me a better, more expressive player, as it provided insight on not just music, but life. The movie and the soundtrack that are based in all the death and destruction make the music come alive, as the music was the hope in Szpilman's life that allowed him to survive.
The movie, itself, is one of the best movies EVER made. It's a bold statement, but the fact is that I haven't seen a movie (and I've seen a lot) that rang so true with me and all of human emotion. The soundtrack does the same.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutly Amazing!, March 3 2003
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This review is from: Pianist Music From The Motion (Audio CD)
This soundtrack is a stunning portrayl of the movie, as you can feel the images of the movie all over again after you've seen it. There's only one other Soundtrack that had the same effect on me, and that was the "Requiem for a Dream" soundtrack. As a Jew, as a Piano player, and most of all as a person, I could relate to the torturous events that took place during Szpilman's life, and the soundtrack reflects these feelings perfectly. Even though I only saw the movie yesterday (and soon after purchasing the soundtrack), it has made me a better, more expressive player, as it provided insight on not just music, but life. The movie and the soundtrack that are based in all the death and destruction make the music come alive, as the music was the hope in Szpilman's life that allowed him to survive.
The movie, itself, is one of the best movies EVER made. It's a bold statement, but the fact is that I haven't seen a movie (and I've seen a lot) that rang so true with me and all of human emotion. The soundtrack does the same.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Expressive, emotional..., Jan. 6 2003
This review is from: Pianist Music From The Motion (Audio CD)
I've never reviewed anything on Amazon until now. This beautiful soundtrack of the movie, The Pianist, is simply amazing. All the songs are of Frederic Chopin, except track 10. The nocturnes (meaning "night song") in this soundtrack are filled with mystery, melancholy, remorse and even romance. Roman Polanski couldn't have found a better pianist, Janusz Olejniczak to honor Wladyslaw Szpilman and Frederic Chopin. The ballades are very uplifting, despite the darkness of the movie. However, track 10 ("Moving to the Ghetto") is the only song in this soundtrack that I didn't like. It was too "Schindler's List" for me... very randomly placed in a soundtrack of Chopin. Then, there is "Mazurka in A Minor" played by Wladyslaw Spzilman himself. It may not be the clearest recording (sounds radio-like) but it is very beautiful and enchanting to listen to Spzilman playing the piano. As a pianist, I thoroughly enjoy this soundtrack, even though I've yet to see the film. This score stirs the soul.
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