Kenneth Turan, LA Times
Great geniuses can be terribly boring, and compelling individuals can be devoid of any gifts save charm. Glenn Gould, however, who lived his life on the balance point between genius and madness, was a virtuoso who couldn’t have been more fascinating.
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Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun Times
Classical music superstars come in all shapes and sizes. They include the larger-than-life mensches like Itzhak Perlman and Lang Lang. There are the exalted aristocrats like Vladimir Horowitz and Herbert von Karajan. And then there are the reclusive enigmas like Canadian-born pianist Glenn Gould.
Gould, who died at age 50 in 1982, is the topic of an engrossing documentary by two Canadian filmmakers, which had its world premiere at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.
“Genius Within” is the most accomplished type of documentary, ushering us into the private world of a reclusive genius without making us feel like voyeurs. There are some startling revelations. Gould’s partner in a long-rumored, mysterious affair in the late 1960s turned out to be visual artist Cornelia Foss, wife of noted composer-conductor Lukas Foss…
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Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
Glenn Gould may not have been the first rock star of classical music – that designation should probably go to Franz Liszt – but he was certainly the most charismatic of modern pianists. In still photos, especially the famous ones gracing the cover of his 1955 debut album of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” he has, at 22, the surly, delicate handsomeness of a James Dean or Marlon Brando.
The new documentary “Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould” offers up a wealth of moving pictures of Gould, ranging from concert footage and recording sessions to goofy home movies, and his movie star charisma remains amply in evidence.
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Tim Robey, London Daily Telegraph
Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould is a treasure trove for fans of the legendary Canadian pianist, digging deep down beneath the image of the glamorous eccentric, low at the keys, mumbling his way over a recording of the Goldberg Variations. It makes a convincing case for his importance in the history of musical interpretation, and the life (both inner and outer) is so rich and odd it feels like a mystery still waiting to be solved.
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“An exquisitely wrought portrait of a formidable musical talent. . .a beautiful,
detailed evocation of his life. . . a work of art in its own right”
Neil Young, Programmer, Edinburgh International Film Festival
“Genius Within gifts us with an invigorating and brightly unsettling journey into the complex psyche of Glenn Gould. Through the miracle of vintage film we are lured into the dense forest of his imagination – mischievous and divine. Gould exhibits his unparallel skills, shuffles in his ever-present overcoat, and is so alive that we sense his footsteps, and feel his breath as we are assaulted by the duality of his smile.”
Patti Smith, Singer/Songwriter