Episode 10: The Pianist - Wladyslaw Szpilman

Nocturne in C-sharp Minor

rc-szpilman-200The Nazi invasion of Poland In September of 1939 literally blasted Fryderyk Chopin's music off the air. But the elegant pianist playing Chopin live on Radio Poland miraculously survived. And his remarkable story became an Oscar winning film.

In the 1930s young Władysław Szpilman was the most popular pianist in Poland. He was celebrated adored for his daily performances, broadcast live from the downtown Warsaw studios of Radio Poland. And that's where Szpilman was on September 23rd, 1939, three weeks after the Nazis invaded Poland: Live on the air, playing Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp minor.

Suddenly, a German shell rocked the building.

It destroyed the studio, with Szpilman barely escaping with his life. And that was just the BEGINNING of his harrowing odyssey in the Warsaw ghetto. Szpilman's entire family was deported to Treblinka, and perished. But the pianist survived, hiding from the Nazis in the ruins of Warsaw. - AND by playing Chopin over and over his head.

The end of the war brought Radio Poland back on the air and Szpilman back before the microphones. The first piece on the air? Szpilman playing the very same Nocturne in C-sharp minor - another Survivor From Warsaw. - Ted Weiner

Radio Chopin Episode 10: The Pianist: Wladyslaw Szpilman



Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. posth.