Pianist plays beautiful melody in the ruins of Kharkiv, in a scene reminiscent of ‘The Pianist’

20 April 2022, 13:53

Yaroslav Korolev plays in the destroyed Palace of Labour
Yaroslav Korolev plays in the destroyed Palace of Labour. Picture: Getty / Sergei Romensky

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

The moving piano melody was written by Ukrainian composer, Yury Vesnyak.

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Amidst the war-torn streets of Kharkiv, Ukraine, an E minor piano melody rings through bullet-holed buildings.

The music can be heard coming from the western part of the city’s Constitution Square, where the neoclassical Palace of Labour, built in 1914, now lies in ruins.

A piano sits in the open courtyard of the now destroyed building. And at the keys is musician, Yaroslav Korolev.

Filmed by music producer Sergei Romensky, Korolev plays as the camera pans around the devastation, caused by intense fighting in the region.

The song is by Ukrainian composer, Yury Vesnyak, and descriptively named, Tenderness.

Read more: Ukrainian cellist plays solitary Bach suite in abandoned bombed-out streets of Kharkiv

Kharkiv has been consistently shelled since the war began at the end of February earlier this year.

Multiple landmarks have been decimated, and according to the mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, as of the start of this month, Russian forces have destroyed over 1,600 buildings.

The city is just 21 kilometres (13 miles) southwest from the Ukrainian border with Russia, and has played a critical part in holding off the Russian advance.

More than half of Kharkiv’s population has fled the city since the beginning of the war, but many who have stayed now live in the underground shelters, fearful of Russian shelling.

Read more: Kharkiv residents soothed by classical music in underground festival

Commenters watching Romensky’s video on Instagram and TikTok, have said the scene reminds them of the 2002 film, The Pianist, starring Adrien Brody.

The Pianist tells the heart-wrenching story of acclaimed Polish Jewish musician, Władysław Szpilman, and his harrowing journey through the ‘Warsaw Ghetto’ during the Second World War.

The film is inspired by the autobiography, The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945.

During the film, Szpilman is seen navigating his way through a ruined city, much like the ruins apparent in Romensky’s video.

One commenter who noted this similarity commented on Romensky’s TikTok, “it does remind of The Pianist. Beautiful sound in such horror. I pray this war ends. So many have died, their world torn apart”.