Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Pianist

The movie The Pianist by Roman Polanski was amazing not only because of the way he tells the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish pianist during War World II, but also because of the music by Chopin played during this film. Of course I’ve heard Chopin many times but the way the Polish pianist Janusz Olejniczakm plays his music in this soundtrack is superb.

As we know, it is not easy to play Chopin.  The pianist Krystian Zimerman, one of the renowned interpreters of Chopin says: “Chopin’s music is overwhelmingly expression; he never writes one note too many.”  Another famous pianist, Ingrid Fliter says: “Chopin developed a new era in piano expression, he made the piano sing, and that’s one of the most important things when you start playing his music: to develop your own voice.”

But Chopin’s music is not only difficult to perform because of the sensitivity required by the pianist but also because he composed his music in a time when piano construction was different from today.Chopin’s favorite pianos were the ones made by a French company called Pleyel. Their sonority and tone were some of the reasons why he loved them so much. The way these instruments were designed also accommodated his small, delicate hands and they were capable of producing a strong sound, full of color and textures, even when Chopin didn’t have the physical strength due to a long battle against TB. “The most difficult pieces Chopin wrote are his mazurkas, they have almost a supernatural difficulty. This is the case when the modern instrument is next to impossible to use,” says the pianist Nikolai Demidenko.

Chopin, without a doubt, is one of the most brilliant pianists of all times, his music, revolutionary because of its musical structure, is full of powerful yet delicate sounds that make his compositions unique to this day.

The Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Poland has an amazing collection of all of Chopin’s works played on historical instruments and also a list of all his compositions  that you can enjoy anytime.

The February 2010 issue of the magazine BBC Music has a long and interesting article about Chopin that I used for this blog. Feel free to come to the Faulk Central Library to enjoy it. If you prefer to read books about Chopin here are some examples:

If you want to check out some CD’s, consider the following ones:
*Image from the Canadian Broadcasting Centre website (CBC)

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