Phoney video: A pianist in fear of his life

Phoney video: A pianist in fear of his life


norman lebrecht

December 26, 2013

This is the trailer for the forthcoming movie, Grand Piano, in which a soloist is warned he’ll be shot by a sniper if he plays a wrong note.

Can you see anything credible in this?

grand piano elijah wood


  • Ignacio says:

    I’d be scared, even if I were Michelangeli.

    I saw the preview and did not recognize any of the piano music being played; I think it is an original score. Is the premise credible not in real life but to make a good suspense movie? I think the answer is NO on both counts, requiring little deliberation.

  • Crumbleaddict says:

    Bizarre! Why is he playing from the music in the first place??? Clearly no-one involved has ever actually been to see a top pianist perform ….. (but when has credibility ever stopped a film maker from depicting ridiculousness with a very serious face???) I’m sure someone thought this was another great idea in the ‘Phone Booth’ type scenario. Pity they didn’t think the whole thing through!

  • Tom Emlyn Williams says:


  • John Birge says:

    Life/Cinema Imitates Martha Argerich (boldface mine): “When I was very young, about eight or so, I was to perform a Mozart concerto, and before the concert I went to the bathroom, knelt down, and told myself that if I missed a single note, I would explode. I don’t know why I believed that, but I didn’t miss a single note. It’s terrible for a young person, and that explains something about me today, I think.”

  • Daniel Auner says:

    My god I loled. This was one of the funniest things I ever saw im my life. Honestly Norman, have you never been in a concert where you wish you were that sniper?? Comes immediately to Classical Music Humor on Facebook

  • Gary Carpenter says:

    Not a bad teaching strategy though. I’ll check the rules and regs!

  • rdamerell says:

    Seems like some regression therapy for someone who had an over-strict teacher. Memories of the rap over the knuckles with a ruler flooding back…

  • James says:

    A bullet would be swift and merciful. A bad review would last forever.

  • timwalton3 says:

    What does anyone expect. After all it does come from America.

    You have to suspend belief from most things that emmanate from America.

    They’d give a standing ovation if the pianist blew his nose!

    • Greg Hlatky says:

      Actually you have to suspend belief in most things that emanate from Hollywood. Where else do people believe that corporations – most of which are hard pressed to keep the lights on – have armies of assassins at their disposal to go after young, courageous, photogenic journalists?

    • american says:

      To TimWalton: actually it DOESN’T come from America. Not even close. It was made in Spain. Spanish director, producer, filmed in Barcelona. It’s been out there for a while now.

      • timwalton3 says:

        Thanks for this info. Obviously this kind of taste has spread over the Atlantic

        • american says:

          Yeah. Blame everything on the Americans as usual.

          Just for the record, Spain has a long and respectable tradition of film-making. It’s something Franco nurtured during his dictatorship. Pedro Almodovar didn’t just fall out of an orange tree.

          Spanish film-makers would be just as insulted as Americans over your comment. To imply that Hollywood and the US have undue influence over the films Spain produces or what Spanish filmgoers enjoy, be they good or bad, is pretty insulting to both parties.

          This is just a bad film. It happens in every country. It’s not always America’s fault.

          • timwalton3 says:

            Maybeso, but they have an undue influence on everything else.

            they are either GOD nuts, GUN nuts or TEAPARTY nuts & I have yet fathomed out which is the worst.

            There is a bigger social divide in the USA than many third world countries & the Government – whichever side they are on – does absolutely nothing aout it.

          • m2n2 says:

            Don’t forget AntiAmerican Nuts who think that everything bad anywhere in the world is always USA’s fault. Even when it is nothing but a silly trailer of a silly movie that those nuts have never seen.

  • Brian says:

    Sounds awfully silly. Or perhaps a critic’s wetdream. If one wants sniper fire amid music, far better one should rent Hitchcock’s “Man Who Knew Too Much,” either version, of which this sounds like a partial ripoff, with Arthur Benjamin’s “Storm Clouds Cantata.”

  • David Boxwell says:

    The killer’s gunning for Schnabel in the sequel.

  • This sounds like campy fun, actually.

  • Paul Edlin says:

    What scale should we rate it on?

  • Frank Almond says:

    The trailer is probably ridiculous to anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of classical music (and concert protocol). But it’s worth noting that serious threats and stalking are (sadly) not uncommon for certain soloists, A-list or not. I’m not surprised someone thought that fact might make a good screenplay, and judging from the majority of youtube comments, maybe there’s an audience for it (however small).

  • robcat2075 says:

    I’ve always felt that screen plays about classical music are written by people whose knowledge of classical music performance comes from having seen a few cartoons.

  • Joel Lazar says:

    There’s a long and dishonorable tradition of films related to classical music having minimal contact with the physical reality of concert/opera life in terms of protocol, platform seating and the like.

    I exclude, of course comic masterpieces like “A Night at the Opera” or “Once More with Feeling”.