Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Genius Within (2009)

      The Genius Within (2009) A bio of Gould that pays homage to his music, but focuses on his love life. He fell in love with Cornelia Foss, and she with him, so she moved her children to Toronto, and for a while it seemed they might marry. But Gould became increasingly dependent on his anti-depressant meds, and eventually she returned to her husband. Gould died of a series of strokes in 1982 at the age of 50. His death hit the children especially hard.
     An above average documentary, with reminiscences by Cornelia, the children, Lorne Tulk (the sound engineer on Gould’s recordings), and other friends and acquaintances. The biographer speaks a few times, and confesses that there’s a mystery he was not able to penetrate. This remark is echoed by other people. In the end, what remains is Gould’s music, and  the impression of a life that was perhaps less fulfilling emotionally than it might have been.
     Does the genius of Gould’s interpretations of Bach match the cost of his and others’ emotional pain? Perhaps. Everybody must balance the costs and gains of his life. Gould came to accept the cost, enjoying his time at the family cottage, and in playful impersonations of imaginary figures, recorded in photographs. Hearing his second recordings of the Goldberg Variations, I imagined scenes from a movie, of figures in a cityscape at night, together but alone, wandering in and out of lights and shadows, while some unknown hunters close in on them with dispassionate intensity, preparing for the kill. ***

No comments: