As soon as concert pianists sound their last notes, take their bows and glide off stage, typically while the ovation is still ringing, the listener is left alone to analyze the experience. The critiques that ensue typically focus on the performer and his or her abilities, but what many fail to appreciate are the seemingly inconsequential details that go on behind the scenes. Enter the film Pianomania, which focuses on a profession that rarely receives acknowledgment where it is due: piano tuners.
Directed by Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis, Pianomania centers on the meticulous fervor of Steinway technician Stefan Knüpfer, a man truly obsessed with and captivated by the science of instruments. His mission, which he chooses to accept, is to find the perfect piano for the exacting Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s recording of Bach’s The Art of Fugue. The award-winning documentary that results is not only a study of sound, but a study of the inner workings of technical prodigies and performer egos — and how both may flourish together.
For the opening-night show 7 p.m. Sunday, The Belcourt has scored a coup for Nashville pianomaniacs: an appearance by Steinway & Sons' chief concert technician Franz Mohr. Below, the info from the theater's website:
—Special Opening Night Event presented by Steinway of Nashville—
Sun, Jan 15 - 7pm screening
Special Guest Franz Mohr
Franz Mohr has been chief concert technician for piano maker Steinway & Sons for more than a quarter century. As the close colleague of legendary musicians such as Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein, Glenn Gould, Rudolf Serkin, and many others, Franz Mohr has attended to their instruments, making delicate adjustments, that affect tone, balance, and other characteristics of sound. It is Mohr who enables virtuosos to fully realize their own individual interpretative styles and concepts of tonal color. Says Mohr himself: “I play more at Carnegie Hall than anybody else, but I have no audience.”