Synopsis by Mark Deming
The piano is one of the fundamental instruments of classical music -- and one of the most complicated. A piano is an elaborate arrangement of mechanics and acoustics that requires proper maintenance to sound its best, and world-class pianists demand that the instruments they play be in proper condition before performing a concert or beginning a recording session. Stephan Knüpfer is a piano technician affiliated with Steinway & Sons, one of the world's most respected piano manufacturers, and he spends his days working with musicians and their instruments, helping put the pianos in tune for major concerts at venues around the world. Filmmaker Robert Cibis and Lilian Franck present a portrait of Stephan Knüpfer and his career caring for pianos in the documentary Pianomania. In addition to his work with noted touring musicians, the film deals with the finer points of keeping a piano in tune (including heat, humidity, and the conditions of the hall) and his work with Pierre-Laurent Aimard as he prepares to record a collection of Bach fugues. Pianomania was an official selection at the 2010 San Francisco International Film Festival.
behind-the-scenes, classical-music, piano, piano-tuner