About the book
The powerful and bestselling memoir of a young Jewish pianist who survived the war in Warsaw against all odds. Made into a Bafta and Oscar-winning film. 'You can learn more about human nature from this brief account of the survival of one man throughout the war years in the devastated city of Warsaw than from several volumes of the average encyclopaedia' Independent on Sunday 'We are drawn in to share his surprise and then disbelief at the horrifying progress of events, all conveyed with an understated intimacy and dailiness that render them painfully close - riveting' Observer 'A book so fresh and vivid, so heartbreaking, and so simply and beautifully written, that it manages to tell us the story of horrendous events as if for the first time' Daily Telegraph
Vivid and anguished . . . compulsive reading -- Richard Overy * Sunday Telegraph * You can learn more about human nature from this brief account of the survival of one man throughout the war years in the devastated city of Warsaw than from several volumes of the average encyclopaedia -- Gerald Jacobs * Independent on Sunday * We are drawn in to share his surprise and then disbelief at the horrifying progress of events, all conveyed with an understated intimacy and dailiness that render them painfully close . . . riveting -- Lisa Appignanesi * Observer * This memoir of a Jewish pianist who survived the war in Warsaw is one of the most powerful accounts ever written * Sunday Tribune * A compelling, harrowing masterpiece * Independent * A book so fresh and vivid, so heartbreaking, and so simply and beautifully written, that it manages to tell us the story of horrendous events as if for the first time . . . His account is hair-raising, beyond anything Hollywood could invent . . . Everything that has been most horrific in life in 20th-century Europe is encompassed in this exquisite memoir * Daily Telegraph * What really stays with the reader is the chilling, almost naive immediacy with which the story is told . . . The Pianist is an icy, nerveless but remarkably readable memoir that takes us as close as we are ever likely to travel to the day-to-day reality of living through terror * Sunday Times * The images drawn are unusually sharp and clear, but its moral tone is even more striking: Szpilman refuses to make a hero or a demon out of anyone * Literary Review *
Wladyslaw Szpilman Biography
Władysław Szpilman (Polish pronunciation: [vwaˈdɨswaf ˈʂpʲilman]; 5 December 1911 – 6 July 2000) was a Polish pianist and classical composer of Jewish descent. Szpilman is widely known as the central figure in the 2002 Roman Polanski film The Pianist, which was based on Szpilman's autobiographical account of how he survived the German occupation of Warsaw and the Holocaust. Szpilman studied piano at music academies in Berlin and Warsaw. He became a popular performer on Polish radio and in concert. Confined within the Warsaw ghetto after the German invasion of Poland, Szpilman spent two years in hiding. Towards the end of his concealment, he was helped by Wilm Hosenfeld, a German officer who detested Nazi policies. After World War II, Szpilman resumed his career on Polish radio. Szpilman was also a prolific composer; his oeuvre included hundreds of songs and many orchestral pieces.
Career as a pianistSzpilman began his study of the piano at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland, where he studied piano with Aleksander Michałowski and Józef Śmidowicz, first- and second-generation pupils of Franz Liszt. In 1931 he was a student of the prestigious Academy of Arts in Berlin, Germany, where he studied with Artur Schnabel, Franz Schreker and Leonid Kreutzer. After Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933, Szpilman returned to Warsaw, where he quickly became a celebrated pianist and composer of both classical and popular music. Primarily a soloist, he was also the chamber music partner of such acclaimed violinists as Roman Totenberg, Ida Haendel and Henryk Szeryng, and in 1934 he toured Poland with U.S. violinist, Bronislav Gimpel. On 5 April 1935 Szpilman joined the Polish Radio, where he worked as a pianist performing classical and jazz music. His compositions at this time included orchestral works, piano pieces, and also music for films, as well as roughly 50 songs, many of which became quite popular in Poland. At the time of the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, he was a celebrity and a featured soloist at the Polskie Radio, which was bombed on 23 September 1939, shortly after broadcasting the last Chopin recital played by Szpilman. The Nazi occupiers established the General Government, and created ghettos in many Polish cities, including Warsaw. Szpilman and his family did not yet need to find a new residence, as their apartment was already in the ghetto area.
Survival during the HolocaustWładysław Szpilman and his family, along with all other Jews living in Warsaw, were forced to move into a "Jewish quarter" – the Warsaw Ghetto – on 31 October 1940. Once all the Jews were confined within the ghetto, a wall was constructed to separate them from the rest of the Nazi German-occupied city. Szpilman managed to find work as a musician to support his family, which included his mother, father, brother Henryk, and two sisters, Regina and Halina. He first worked at the Nowoczesna Cafe, where the patr ... Read full biography
|Publisher:||Orion Publishing Co|
|Imprint:||WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON|
|Languages:||| English ||
|Publication date:||March 1, 2003|
|First Publication Date:||Jan. 1, 1946|
|Publication City/Country:||London, United Kingdom|