Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Art of Finesse

It is not often that people behind the scenes take center stage. Yet that happens in the documentary of a Steinway & Sons piano tuner in Vienna, Pianomania. We watch Stefan Knüpfer and his efforts to perfect pianos. Perhaps he will add felt inside a piano. Perhaps replace parts. Even add acoustic panels to the concert hall. To achieve excellence and accommodate his clients, he will do everything possible.

PIANOMANIA - Trailer from OVALfilm on Vimeo.

The main story consists of the preparation and search for pianos for a recording session of Bach's The Art of the Fugue by the renowned pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard . (In other scenes, famous pianists such as Alfred Brendel and Lang Lang rehearse and perform.) Aimard plays several pianos and requests many variations to their sound. A twist to the plot includes the sale of a familiar piano, which disappoints the pianist. When the recording begins, the engineers also voice their opinions about the sound, which leads to more piano tuning.

The lessons for the viewer of this fascinating documentary are to have patience, and how to solve problems for clients. As they demand more and more of us, we learn about them and ourselves. Some clients are extremely difficult and finicky, but as we strive for perfection, the results could be brilliant and worth the trouble.