Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Seymour: An Introduction

I had not heard of Seymour Bernstein before, but Ethan Hawke was so impressed by him that he went and made this documentary about the octogenarian piano player. So it's kind of a musical version of Supermensch.

It's fun: Bernstein and his pupils have many nice stories both personal and historical, an interesting history, a cool view on life and art, and a passion for teaching it. He's sort of the anti-Fletcher, although I can't say The Boy and I didn't have fun whispering "NOT my tempo!" and "Wait, this is where he throws a grand piano at his head."

Some good music, as you would expect. Cool hanging out in the New York Steinway & Sons basement. The pianos sounded good, too. (The last time I played new Steinways they sounded mediocre and played like crap.)

1) Subject matter: Good, interesting, arty.

2) Treatment: Competent. Not super flashy. I remember a slight feeling that there were a few too many long "beats" between parts of the movie, but really very slight.

3) Reverential. Some critics had a problem with this but really, how else you gonna do this sort of thing? Shep Gordon and Roger Ebert are easily more contentious characters, although maybe Bernstein is some sort of toxic quantity in the New York Art circle.

We liked it. Probably won't change your life like it seems to have Hawke's, but you could do worse.

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