Ballade No. 1 in g minor by CHOPIN:
M U S I C E D U C A T I O N
This extraordinary piece was centerpiece to the crucial confrontation between Szpilman & Nazi officer, Captain Wilm Hosenfeld in the 2002 film, The Pianist (based on the true-life memoir of Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman who survived the horrors of the #holocaust ). If you recall in the film, the disheveled Szpilman (played by Adrien Brody) is led by Hosenfeld (played by Thomas Kretschmann) to the miraculously undamaged piano in a bombed-out house where he was hiding.
In real life, Szpilman actually played Chopin’s Nocturne in C sharp minor, and believes that playing the moving music of Chopin saved his life. The movie chose to use the Ballade instead of the Nocturne, but I can understand why. The somber introduction, almost improvisation like, leaves the performer and audience in a state of unrest. The music is written as if Chopin was improvising, not knowing or not deciding where he is taking us. For the first 2 minutes of the piece, it almost sounds like he keeps restarting the piece again and again. It isn’t until a few minutes in that a musical direction finally appears (my clip above starts at that moment).
Yes, the suggestion of the "good German" & the idea of a redemptive, humanist equivalence between him and “the Jew” is certainly tough to digest after witnessing the cruel barbarity of the Nazi regime. But this critical moment in our history proves the strength of the power of music. Music of this caliber and depth, unlike any other medium, can play a key role in expanding our circle of empathy, a human value critical to a healthy society.
I hope you enjoy my interpretation of this piece, and I hope you listen with empathy.
Special thanks to for loaning me Liberace’s historic glass touring piano, it is truly an honor.
#chloeflower #liberace #thepianist #musiceducation #chopin #empathy #adrianbrody #thomaskretschmann #holocaustremembrance