Pianomania follows Stefan Knüpfer, a piano tuner from Steinway and his famous clients Lang Lang, Brendel, Buchbinder and Pierre-Laurent Aimard as they search for the perfect pitch. Truly an...
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Pianomania follows Stefan Knüpfer, a piano tuner from Steinway and his famous clients Lang Lang, Brendel, Buchbinder and Pierre-Laurent Aimard as they search for the perfect pitch. Truly an unusual and entertaining peek behind the curtain at the world's great concert halls.Written by
Cibis & Franck
I'm a classically-trained pianist and composer, so behind-the-scenes movies like this have a lot of appeal for me. I respect the piano technicians, such as the film's protagonist Stephan Knüpfer, who know how to coax the right sound from an amazingly complicated instrument. This documentary is a tribute to his skill, and especially his patience, as he deals with pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, an ultra-demanding control freak who will just about drive you insane as you watch.
Aimard's attempts to get Knüpfer to recreate the many piano tones he has in his head forms the main plot thread of this documentary. In between grueling sessions of watching Aimard complain about the shape of a particular note's tone, the documentarians have inserted scenic pictures of Vienna, and clips of other, less annoying pianists, including two comedians who provide much-needed relief for the Aimard-induced tension.
There are some lovely shots of the interior mechanism of the piano, as well as behind-the-scenes looks at Vienna's concert hall. But overall, I found this film tedious due to Aimard's perfectionistic attitude. Would anyone else put up with it? Knüpfer seems to relish it somehow, because it presents him with a technical challenge. The film rambles on, cutting back and forth to the main story for no apparent reason, and be warned: 90% of it is in German with subtitles.
Definitely for the piano lover only.
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