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The Private Life of Glenn Gould

The Canadian pianist Glenn Gould was one of the most celebrated classical musicians of the 20th century. A child prodigy who could read music before he could read words, Gould was endowed with an incredible technical dexterity, enabling remarkable interpretations of pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach. But as a new documentary of his life attests, he was by no means just another preternaturally gifted concert pianist––he was the James Dean of classical music (and even bore a striking resemblance to the actor). New from White Pine Pictures is Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould, a documentary about Gould, co-directed by the award-winning Michele Hozer and Peter Raymont. The film aims to show “the more human side” of the pianist who died in 1982 aged 50, and compiles never-seen footage and interviews with friends and lovers who have rarely, if ever, spoken publicly about Gould. He was notorious for his eccentricities––audible humming and peculiar movements while performing; the shabby chair he used for each concert; his insistence on wearing numerous layers, whatever the weather. Genius Within doesn’t play down these quirks, but it does cast a much-needed light on Gould’s warmth, intelligence and mischievous wit––all of which explain why after nearly 30 years, the great man’s influence shows no signs of abating.

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