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"The tone isn't breathing." - complains pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, distraught. This is a typical sentence in Steinway & Sons' chief technician and Master Tuner Stefan Knüpfer's normal work day. Each piano has its own personality, each piece demands its own timbre, and every interpretation has a particular temperament. Pianomania takes the viewer along on a humorous journey into the secret world of sounds, and accompanies Stefan Knüpfer at his unusual job with world famous pianists like Lang Lang, Alfred Brendel, Rudolf Buchbinder and Pierre-Laurent Aimand, among… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Pianomania is the thoroughly apt title for a thoroughly enjoyable documentary about Stefan Knupfer, the chief technician and master tuner for Steinway & Sons"
‑ Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
"All those months spent following Knüpfer pay off in this crisis, because the filmmakers have complete access to the most sensitive artistic discussions."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"You might not think there is all that much to say about piano tuning, but Pianomania will convince you otherwise."
‑ Sarah Boslaugh, Playback:stl
"A solid, workmanlike look at a profession (piano technician) never before covered in the cinema."
‑ Harvey S. Karten, Compuserve
"The unflappable perfectionist works tirelessly to make the tiniest adjustments in tone and shading and he's good company."
‑ , Daily Express
"It has a pleasing smallness -- it's cinematic chamber music -- that almost makes you overlook its inability to really explain its subject."
‑ Kyle Smith, New York Post
"Directors Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis fail to plumb their subject's frustrations or any other insightful biographical details."
‑ Brian Miller, Village Voice
"An amazing glimpse into the rarefied realm of elite musicians, giving audiences a fly-on-the wall perspective to which not even devoted patrons of classical music are often privileged."
‑ Jennifer Merin, About.com
"A too-dry approach and a lack of actual music renders this documentary strictly for nerds obsessed with the keyboard."
‑ David Noh, Film Journal International
"[Highlights] the curious relationship that exists between pianist and tuner, and provides a new appreciation of just how much work goes into creating each note."
‑ Alistair Harkness, Scotsman
"Mr. Knüpfer makes engaging company both because he keeps enviable company and because he's a full-on geek, though one possessed by pianos."
‑ Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"When sitting through this detail-heavy documentary, nonaficionados may feel like they're watching paint dry, albeit in the company of an artist who savors each and every shade."
‑ Sam Adams, Time Out New York
"There's a eunuch's melancholy beyond Stefan Knüpfer's humble expertise that might ultimately be the root of his trade."
‑ Joseph Jon Lanthier, Slant Magazine
"You don't need to be knowledgeable about classical music to savor Pianomania any more than you need to know about Donkey Kong to enjoy TheKing of Kong."
‑ Betsy Sherman, Boston Phoenix
"Delightfully esoteric doc about Steinway's piano-tuner-in-chief, Stefan Knupfer, and his selfless quest for perfect sound."
‑ Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
More reviews for Pianomania on Rotten Tomatoes