Thursday, April 26, 2018

A look at a genial musical genius

If you thought musical genius, by definition, would be intimidating, the documentary Itzhak should go a long way toward changing your mind. In her look at the life of Itzhak Perlman, director Alison Chernick shows us an artist who can't resist indulging a silly sense of humor, who loves baseball and who has been in the public eye since he made his television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. Now 72, Perlman seems to be one of those rare people who take their art more seriously than they take themselves. It will come as no surprise to those who have enjoyed Perlman's musical adventures that Perlman has built a philosophy around the indefinable passion that goes into the music he plays. We see the Israeli-born Perlman meeting with violin restorers and hear him discuss the popularity of the theme from the movie Schindler's List, his most requested piece. Perlman also talks about growing up with polio that now has him moving about in a motorized wheelchair, but no one will feel sorry for this genial genius who seems to spread warmth wherever he goes. My favorite moment: Perlman waiting for a concert and requesting a TV so that he can watch baseball. He'll practice during commercials. That's probably not a great idea for young musicians, but when you're a master, you set your own rules. You've earned the privilege.

No comments: