Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Kalamazoo Valley Museum
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Pianomania gets up close and personal with a group of world famous virtuosos – Lang Lang, Alfred Brendel, Rudolf Buchbinder, Till Fellner and Pierre-Laurent Aimard—but the real stars of this penetrating documentary are Stefan Knüpfer, the earnest piano tuner doubling as physician and voice coach, and the beautiful instruments themselves. The film observes Knüpfer over the course of a year as he assembles, tightens and fine-tunes a series of magnificent grand pianos, bringing a rare spirit of ingenuity, knowledge and extraordinary competence to his work.
Knüpfer’s yearlong collaboration with Pierre-Laurent Aimard is at the center of the film as the pianist prepares to record his interpretation of Bach’s contrapuntal masterpiece, The Art of the Fugue. Together the two sit at the chosen instrument as Knüpfer handles his tools with a surgeon’s precision and adjusts the 230 strings of the piano to refine its voice and tonal color.
With an attentive, languorous pace, the film allows Knüpfer and associates the space to think, ponder and hold forth on camera, providing an inside look into a rarefied world of time-honored culture, exquisite artistry and, of course, astonishingly executed classical music.
Release date: 2011
Running Time: 93 minutes
Directors: Robert Cibis & Lillian Franck