Ethan Hawke’s first feature documentary “Seymour: an introduction” makes no attempt to be comprehensive about the life of its titular subject, classical pianist Seymour Bernstein. Instead, it focuses on what drew Hawke to Seymour: his sagaciousness and reflections on music, artistic devotion, and life. Eighty-seven years young, Seymour is a guru who not only mentors in piano playing but also in the abstract domains of spirituality and inner harmony.
From the start of the film Hawke explains his personal connection to Seymour. They met at a dinner party and the actor relates how he, an actor whose fame contrasted greatly with his growing dissatisfaction and anguish with his life, felt immediately at peace after talking to Seymour. The pianist’s meditations on the relationship between harmony of music and assonance of life and his lifelong dedication towards perfecting his craft takes center stage in the film, with little attention given to his personal life.
Hawke’s cameras follow Seymour as he gives piano lessons to his students and holds discussion with his former students about the detriments of giving in to commercial gains in the music world. Featuring scores of moving performances by Seymour himself and other renowned pianists “Seymour” gleams with wisdom and aural beauty.