Artur Rubinstein – Podroz sentymentalna

Nadeslal Krystyna Kamyczek

Ostatnia podroz Artura Rubinsteina do Polski w 1979 r. Pianista przyjechal z francuska ekipa filmowa.Zwiedzil Warszawe, Lodz,Karolin , opowiadal o swojej mlodosci.W filmie wykorzystane zostaly telewizyjne zdjecia archiwakne , m.in. z wykonania Poloneza AS-dur granego przez Rubinsteina w Lodzi w 1976 r.


Film – 46 min


A very moving and revealing documentary film (“Podróż Sentymentalna”, or “Sentimental Journey”) about Arthur Rubinstein’s last trip to Poland when he was 92 years old. In it, he visits Warsaw, Chopin’s house and the museum at Żelazowa Wola, and Łódź, the city of his birth. Also, excellent Polish folk groups sing Polish songs and dance the mazurka for him (that scene starts at about 22:38 into the clip).

It also includes archived musical clips of him rehearsing with an unnamed orchestra and conductor — I assume that this was with the Łódź Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Henryk Czyż (???) when he performed Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 in F minor and Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major in Łódź on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Łódź Philharmonic Orchestra in 1975 (or possibly 1976; there seems to be some conflicting information out there on the web).

At the end of the film, he plays the Polonaise No. 6 in A-Flat Major, Op. 53 (“Heroic”), one of his great warhorses, as an encore after the concerto performance in Łódź. I think that this must be one of his all-time greatest renditions of that piece — at the age of 88 or 89, he still played it with more fire and spirit than any 20-year-old pianist of today could possibly muster. And he was still in great shape pianistically: I have vivid memories of the last recital he gave in Houston in 1975 or 1976 which I was fortunate enough to be able to attend, more or less in the same time period as when he played in Łódź. The Polonaise performance starts at about 34:23 into the video.

The film was produced by Polish Television together with a French camera team in 1979-81 and broadcast by ARTE sometime in 1992, probably on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Arthur Rubinstein’s death. It was broadcast on the same evening as the Hamburg documentary I posted earlier — fortunately, I had my VCR running! 🙂 The spoken parts are almost entirely in Polish. I translated the German subtitles provided by ARTE into English (I don’t speak Polish, but have a working knowledge of Russian which helped in a few spots). There are brief times when Rubinstein speaks in English, but mostly he is speaking in Polish and some French. Since the placement of YouTube’s subtitles on the video frame cannot be controlled, I blended them into the video at the top — neither the English nor the German subtitles can be turned off because they are now part of the video stream.

At 13:00 you can see what appears to be Chopin’s passport on display in the Chopin museum. Passports and visas used back in those days were awesomely large and beautiful documents, nothing like the little things we have today which fit in your pocket. Rubinstein also mentioned in the Hamburg documentary that he owned the only passport Chopin ever had (…hmmm…)

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