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Rafael Kubelik - Music Is My Country
Rafael Kubelik - Music Is My Country
Actors: Daniel Barenboim, Reiner Mortiz, Albert Scharf
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
NR     2005     2hr 5min


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Movie Details

Actors: Daniel Barenboim, Reiner Mortiz, Albert Scharf
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical, Documentary
Studio: Arthaus Musik
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/22/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2003
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 5min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

A Moving Tribute to a Great Conductor, Rafael Kubelik
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 03/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rafael Kubelik (1914-1996) was one of the great conductors of the second half of the twentieth century. Son of a great violin virtuoso, Jan Kubelik, this young Czech had the advantage of his father's cosmopolitanism and he traveled with him all over the world as a child. He showed early talent for music, studying both violin and piano, and made his début as a conductor with the Czech Philharmonic at the tender age of 20. But he was destined to leave Czechoslovakia as a political emigré and didn't go back until his triumphal return to the podium of the same orchestra 42 years later. He was greeted as a national hero, at least partly because of his outspoken criticism of the totalitarian government forced upon the Czech people for all that time.

This documentary, made in 2003 for German television by Reiner E. Moritz, is a loving tribute to this great conductor. It features may clips of him conducting a number of different orchestras, and there are extensive interviews with his son Martin, his second wife, the great English soprano Elsie Morison, conductor/pianist Daniel Barenboim (who first soloed with him as a child), and many others. The picture that emerges is one of a gentle, thoughtful, dedicated man, kind to others, quietly persuasive with his musicians, a dedicated composer who took long periods off from conducting to write music but who rarely played his own music with the orchestras he was conducting. The film follows him through his many moves as a conductor (Prague, Covent Garden, Chicago Symphony, Munich) to the time of his death and his burial back in his beloved Prague, alongside his idolized father. It recounts the story of his brief tenure at the Metropolitan Opera where, among other things, he conducted the glorious American première production of Berlioz's 'Les Troyens.' After the tragic, too early death of Göran Gentele, the general manager of the Met who created the post of music director for him there, Kubelik decided that he couldn't really take up the post without Gentele by his side. He continued his long-time post as conductor of the Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester almost to the time of his death.

The only real criticism I have of the film is that in most cases the works that Kubelik is conducting are not identified. In many instances, of course, this is not necessary, but there are others that are obscure. For instance, when talking about his great fondness for the music of his dear friend composer Karl Amadeus Hartmann, we see him conducting what is obviously one of Hartmann's works, but we are not told which one it is. Also, whoever was responsible for the English subtitles was not terribly musically informed (nor a very good speller, for that matter). No matter. This is a very satisfying film.

TT=125 mins. Subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish. Sound is PCM Stereo. Sound is generally quite good and the videography and editing, for all its differing sources--there is an extensive use of archival material--is also quite good.

Scott Morrison"
Massimiliano Wax | Dominican Republic | 05/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)