Seymour: An Introduction

Songs By: Various Artists

Performed By: Seymour Bernstein

Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the documentary, Seymour: An Introduction, director Ethan Hawke introduces us to his friend Seymour Bernstein.  A veteran New Yorker and virtuoso pianist, Bernstein gave up a successful concert career to teach music.  Throughout the documentary, viewers are treated to stories from Seymour Bernsteinís life, his wisdom and reflections on art, creativity and the search for fulfillment.

                The Seymour An Introduction Soundtrack features songs by Frederic Chopin, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Johann Sebastian Bach, Robert Schumann and Seymour Bernstein himself performed on the piano by Mr. Bernstein.  The album features liner notes in which the performer discusses the various works he performs.  Some of the songs will be easily recognizable like Nocturne in G Major, Mazurka in C Major and Intermezzo in A Major.  Others will be rare surprises.

                Thank goodness for the liner notes Ė I wondered why the first track of the album was so fuzzy and learned that this was recorded when the artist was fifteen years old on a portable recording machine in his parentsí apartment.  Throughout the rest of the album, the listener will definitely recognize that Seymour Bernstein is a gifted pianist.  That he loves what he does is evident in my favorite track, Birds, A Suite of Eight Impressionistic Studies, in which the artist interprets the movement of the purple finch, the hummingbird, the woodpecker, thesea gull, the chickadee, the vulture, the penguin and the eagle.  I couldnít help but laugh as I pictured the movement of these birds as interpreted by Bernstein via the piano.

                Fans of classical music, especially that written for the piano will find the artistís interpretations quite interesting.  Some will get a kick out of the compositions created by Sebastian Bernstein.  This is definitely worth the listen for piano and classical music enthusiasts.


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