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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Glenn Gould: Genie und Leidenschaft (Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould)

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Available on DVD August 27

Original language: English & German subtitles | German

glenn gouldThose who knew him intimately say he was a “fascinating genius” and that he was only at home when playing music; all agree his performance recordings have a timelessness that will live on forever. An only child born late to Russell Herbert ("Bert") and Florence ("Flora") Emma, young Glenn could read music before words, Flora taught him piano, and Bert created an adjustable-heights chair so Glenn could sit parallel to keyboards. While studying at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, being a pianist became a serious career option for Glenn Gould when he was but 10- or 11-years-old.

Wildly imaginative with a good sense of humor, he exuded eccentricity, solitudinarian, and a high degree of concentration as well. Very early in Gould’s career he performed on the radio, which activated his life-long association with, and aesthetic preference for, studio recording and electronic media. The 1960s and early ‘70s were the best and most productive of times for Gould. Thence he became less interesting as his desire to control situations overrode his sensibilities, his paranoia and self-medication alienated many, and, his mother died. All these elements rippled through his music, affecting his interpretation in yet further new channels.

Directors Michèle Hozer & Peter Raymont have crafted a persuasive, hypnotic portrait of the most celebrated pianist of the 20th century. The stunning archival black/white film and photography, and interviews with persons who knew him well, is interlaced judiciously with Gould’s glorious piano music. Influential and mystifying, the many facets of his personality are concisely and compellingly incorporated in Glenn Gould: Genie und Leidenschaft. A Renaissance man who was but 50-years-old when his blinding brilliance was snuffed out. 

TRT: Documentary - 84 minutes | Director’s Cut -106 minutes

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