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Seymour: An Introduction (2015) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 03 April 2014

 

Jay´s Review

This documentary (directed by Ethan Hawke) follows the great Danny Seymour, a legendary pianist who, without fanfare or warning, quit performing concerts in his forties. 

Danny Bernstein started playing the piano when he was four, in a family that had never before owned one. His prodigious talents were immediately obvious and his life became focused on a single objective: Music.

This story is told through a series of interviews with his peers, his students, and his legion of admirers, all of whom reminisce and sing his praises as he smiles in the background. We also hear his memories of his Army days (he was in Korea) and other aspects of his professional life.

We follow that professional life, along with a sidetrack or two (e.g., the woman who "gave" him a massive house and showered him daily with gifts, until he realized that she was falling in love with him, so he bailed!) as his concerts were met with glowing reviews throughout the Western world. His anxieties about performing never abated and he chose a different way to follow his heart.

It's fun to follow him on his daily routine, walking from his one-room studio in New York City where he has lived for decades, to buy his groceries, to meet with students and to his visit his beloved Steinway outlet where he field tests the various models. His ear is unerring and his decisions are final!

We watch his teaching techniques as his adoring students devour his every word. Among his acolytes is actor Ethan Hawke, who had been dealing with crippling stage fright in his appearances on Broadway. Hawke struck up a friendship with Seymour, hoping to gain authenticity and fearlessness. This documentary is the result.

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