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Soundtrack Review

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Seymour: An Introduction


Composer: Seymour Bernstein, Frédéric Chopin, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Johann Sebastian Bach and Robert Schumann
Performed by: Seymour Bernstein
Label: Varèse Sarabande Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 14 April 2015

Varèse Sarabande Records release the piano-based soundtrack to Seymour: An Introduction. In the movie, we meet Seymour Bernstein: a virtuoso pianist, veteran New Yorker, and true original who gave up a successful concert career to teach music. In this wonderfully warm, witty, and intimate tribute from his friend, Ethan Hawke, Seymour shares unforgettable stories from his remarkable life and eye-opening words of wisdom, as well as insightful reflections on art, creativity, and the search for fulfillment. A poignant guide to life and an engaging exploration on the dedication, perseverance, and fortitude essential to creating both art and a rewarding life...

The score to Seymour: An Introduction is a curiosity for fans of classical piano performances as well as fans of the movie.

The album contains 9 (57 min, 03 sec) piano pieces performed by Seymour Bernstein. Two of these are his own compositions, while the remaining 7 are classical works that should be known to most.

There are far better collections of classical recordings, both in sound quality and subject matter, but as an audio souvenir from the movie this delivers exactly as it should.

Track Listing (notes by Seymour Bernstein):

01 - 'Nocturne in G Major, Op. 37 No. 2' - Composed by Frédéric Chopin
When I was 15, a recording engineer came to my parents’ apartment in Newark, NJ with a portable recording machine. The machine cut vinyl records. Often the thread would get caught in the mechanism and the machine would jam necessitating one take after another.

02 - 'Berceuse, Op. 57' - Composed by Frédéric Chopin
When Chopin composed 'Berceuse, Op. 57 (Lullaby)', he entitled it 'Variations'. He changed the title to Berceuse for publication. At 19, I was the only pupil of Alexander Brailowsky, the first pianist to perform all the works of Chopin in public in six recitals. He performed this cycle 10 times, including a performance in Paris on Chopin’s own piano. It was when I heard his performance of Berceuse that I decided to learn it and perform it myself.

03 - 'Mazurka in C Major, Op. 24. No. 2' - Composed by Frédéric Chopin
This mazurka was recorded at my piano debut in Hamburg, Germany in 1958.

04 - 'Drei Klavierstücke, II' - Composed by Franz Schubert
In 1969, I began my Alice Tully Hall recital in New York City with 'Drei Klavierstüke' of Schubert.

05 - 'Lullaby for Carrieann' - Composed by Seymour Bernstein
Lullaby for Carrieann was composed in 1972 in honour of the birth of a daughter to a pupil of mine.

06 - 'Birds, A Suite of Eight Impressionistic Studies' - Composed by Seymour Bernstein
' Purple Finch' • 'The Hummingbird' • 'The Woodpecker' • 'The Sea Gull' • 'The Chickadee' • 'The Vulture' • 'The Penguin' • 'The Eagle'
' Birds, A Suite of Eight Impressionistic Studies', composed in 1972, was my first publication. It was recorded in the former rotunda of Steinway & Sons for the documentary.

07 - 'Intermezzo in A Major, Op. 118 No. 2' - Composed by Johannes Brahms
Recorded in the former rotunda of Steinway & Sons for the documentary.

08 - 'Prelude from Cantata: Gottes Zeit is die Allerbeste Zeit (“God’s Time is the Best Time”) - Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, transcribed for piano by James Frisken
Recorded in the former rotunda of Steinway & Sons for the documentary.

09 - 'Phantasie in C Major, Op. 17 (Last Movement)' - Composed by Robert Schumann
Recorded in the former rotunda of Steinway & Sons


Darren Rea

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