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Pianomania


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$16.70 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Pianomania + Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 + They Came to Play
Price for all three: $44.68

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As Steinway & Sons' Chief Technician and Master Tuner in Vienna, Stefan Knupfe is dedicated to the unusual task of pairing world-class instruments with world-famous pianists. Juggling the demands of the pianist, the piano, and the piece to find the perfect match requires boundless enthusiasm, but also endless patience and nerves of steel. No detail is too small or too inconsequential for Knupfe, not even the tiniest speck of dust on a piano string.

Pianomania is a humorous and surprisingly suspenseful peek into the heated clash of wills between a genius craftsman and the renowned pianists who rely on his talent - including Lang Lang, Alfred Brendel, Rudolf Buchbinder and Pierre-Laurent Aimand - as they search together for that elusive perfect tone.

Review

The art of the Steinway whisperer. --The New York Times

Knupfer is as much of a crazed perfectionist as the pianists themselves...he is a co-conspirator, a sorcerer's apprentice, even a piano witch doctor and to watch him in action is addictive. --Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

An amazing glimpse into the rarefied realm of elite musicians. --Jennifer Merin, About.com

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Stephan Knupfer, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Lang Lang, Alfred Brendel, Till Fellner
  • Directors: Lilian Franck, Robert Cibis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: February 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006A9XTOE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,454 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this terrific and entertaining film.
Jon Hunt
This is a fascinating and insightful look into the life of a very talented and dedicated Steinway master piano technician.
R. Tobias
He mesmerizes you with his technical wizardry at working each fine detail of the pianos.
Kevin Cheung

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By D. Pittsford on July 19, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Pianomania" follows Stefan Knüpfer, Steinway & Sons' master tuner in Vienna, as he works with some of the world's best known concert pianists, including Lang Lang, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Alfred Brendel. Warm, and at times gently humorous, the film reveals how more »unsung hero Knüpfer is pivotal to realising the vision of each virtuoso, showing us the art, the science and the passion behind the search for perfection. No detail is too small or inconsequential for Knüpfer, even down to the tiniest speck of dust. Humorous and surpising peek into the world where few have ever visited. Gives new appreciation to a 'concert' performance. Makes a wonderful* double feature with Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037
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Format: DVD
I'll be honest. I had almost zero desire to watch a feature length documentary about a piano tuner! It's just not a subject that I've given much thought to, never something I've pondered. But "Pianomania," by Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis, does something pretty remarkable. It introduces a fascinating world that you'd never have an opportunity to experience if it were not for this film. It's subject is so specific, you may not realize just how vital the tuner's role is in contemporary classical music. But "Pianomania" isn't about just any technician, it is about Steinway's Stefan Knupfer--a gentle soul of infinite patience, professional integrity, and pride in excellence. Knupfer is so tireless and so dedicated to working with the artist to ensure every note is pitch perfect, he stands as an unrecognized hero in the realm of classical music. And because he is so passionate and dedicated, you can't help but be swept up in his enthusiasm.

Working in Vienna, Knupfer is showcased over the period of a year. Within that time, he sets up various concert performances and the film culminates with an important recording session. If you follow classical music, you will undoubtedly be familiar with some of his clients--but even if you don't, the film has much to recommend it. I can't exactly make the topic sound exciting, but it is endlessly fascinating to watch Knupfer at work. Each piano and master has their own idiosyncrasies, and it is his job (one he takes quite seriously) to provide a perfect pairing. It's a masterwork of precision to meet the specifications of each pianist, but Knupfer never tires of his role. Quite frankly, he comes off as a saint and a genius!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hunt on April 25, 2012
Format: DVD
Stephan Knupfer, the slightly crazed star of this wonderful ninety-minute film, has a job that is both highly demanding and one that also demands a fair amount of tact. Knupfer, working out of Vienna, has an energy that is more than boundless as he dashes around keeping pianos tuned and egos in check. One doesn't need a background in piano (or for that matter, music) to enjoy "Pianomania", but a certain knowledge is helpful in understanding some of the inner workings of his professional world. I highly recommend this terrific and entertaining film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jon Wynne on April 14, 2014
Format: DVD
The pursuit for perfection is not unknown in the world of art, but how many of us have ever realized that pursuit can be found behind the scenes in the art world, and in what is normally thought to be the purely technical side of things? In this case, being a piano technician. The film could easily be entitled THE ART OF THE PIANO TECHNICIAN, but PIANOMANIA is more accurate, really, because there is true “mania” on display, that is, if we understand “mania” to be a heightened energy and focus–the opposite of “depression”. In that light, the title is apt.

In the world of classical piano, Steinway & Sons have long been recognized as the principle supplier of quality instruments worldwide. It is understandable that great instruments require equally masterful maintenance. Therefore it is logical that the best of these technicians require the right mixture of qualities, namely technical skill, a superior work ethic, an appreciation for the music they help to create (by providing the artists with the best instruments in optimum condition), boundless enthusiasm, obsessive attention to detail, a finely tuned ear, a sense of humour and a psychiatrist’s ability to deal with quirky and neurotic personalities (the artists).

Stefan Knupfer is precisely that type of individual. As Steinway & Sons Chief Technician and Master Tuner in Vienna, Knupfer’s world is one of variety, privilege and very great demands on his expertise. To quote the box art for the film, “no detail is too small or too inconsequential for Knupfer, not ever the tiniest speck of dust on a piano string.”

The film is briliant on a number of levels, but what is most impressive is the technical standard of the soundtrack.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Tobias on October 27, 2012
Format: DVD
This is a fascinating and insightful look into the life of a very talented and dedicated Steinway master piano technician. Much of the film centers on Stephan Knupfer's professional relationship with talented professional pianists. It is remarkable how far this highly cultured and esoteric European world is removed from what most of us experience! Long discussions about highly subjective issues of piano preparation consume much of Knupfer's life. In particular, the talented but extraordinarily finicky French pianist Aimard would exasperate a lesser man, but Knupfer shows remarkable aplomb and patience in trying to satisfy his (at times impossible) demands. The film is not highly technical in its detail, but you do get a good sense of how difficult this work is (especially when dealing with highly demanding top artists). And you get a sense of just how broad and deep Knupfer's knowledge of Steinway grands really is, and in particular how incredibly refined and detailed that knowledge is. If you are a pianist, especially, you don't want to miss this one, but any musician would find much of interest here. And there is plenty human interest to satisfy non-musicians as well. An extremely well done and unique documentary/feature with top production values. Highly recommended.
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