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.
"This is an oustanding achievement, which any genuine Chopin lover and student of Romantic music should own … A landmark in the recording of Chopin's music … Garrick Ohlsson and Hyperion deserve the greatest success in bringing this important undertaking to such a consistently impressive conclusion" (International Record Review)
'Garrick Ohlsson’s complete survey of everything Chopin wrote for piano (including chamber music, songs, and for piano and orchestra) will delight the completist and the Chopin connoisseur. Ohlsson (who won the Chopin International Piano Competition in 1970) gives us accounts of this wondrous repertoire in weighty and commanding style, aristocratic and impulsive (but not lacking light and shade or contemplative contrasts) and, at times, very sensitive and searching. These vivid recordings were made in the second half of the 1990s and have previously appeared on the Arabesque label. They now sit very well in Hyperion’s catalogue'
Stephen Hough joins the celebrations for Chopin s 200th birthday with a disc containing much of the composer s most extraordinary music, written in the last years of his life where the expressive possibilities of his art were constantly unfolding and he imbued his favored forms with previously unknown levels of complexity and emotional depth. This disc includes the intoxicatingly ornamented Berceuse Op 57 and the sublime Barcarolle in F sharp major as well as the Polonaise-Fantasy in A flat major and the towering Piano Sonata No 3 in B minor. Also included are two late Nocturnes that demonstrate how Chopin s art had evolved since he first composed in that genre in his youth. The program is completed by a selection of Mazurkas, each a tiny jewel, containing no less mastery than their larger counterparts, and providing moving sonic evidence of the contemplative profundity of Chopin s late style. Stephen Hough s extraordinarily sensitive playing is informed by his limitless technique and engaging musical imagination.