By Martin Popoff
It’s really no surprise that the phalanx of professionals who coalesced upon this obviously high-gloss production came to Ian Gillan to breathe extra (rock ’n’ roll) passion into the story of the Polish classical genius Frederic Chopin. I mean, without Ian, and indeed with any narration, the story would soothe the senses sublimely, given the astonishing scenes and cinematics set up to accompany the story (at 23 minutes, presumably cut for a half hour TV time slot).
But it’s an immense pleasure to have Ian on board, for it turns out he’s got a level and wise narrator’s voice, and his passion for the subject matter blazes through. As much plush travel journalism as anything, we see Ian touring significant sites in Chopin’s early life, and his placement into the times through semi-historical sets, reconstructions, churches, leisurely daydreaming by horse and carriage, and even jumping on a tractor. There are aerial shots, breathtaking views of the countryside and a variety of music, from Chopin piano pieces to folk.
Within the flow, Gillan draws parallels to Hendrix, and manages a little Steve Morse-era “Smoke On The Water” for graphic effect. (Ian is also shot sitting at a piano, diddling a few keys of “Smoke” while narrating). The DVD is presented in Polish and in English, and there’s an Ian Gillan interview added as bonus, in which Ian recounts his surprising ties to Poland. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to order.