Pianists Street

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: EuroArts
ALBUM TITLE: Pianists Street
WORKS: A film by Mariano Nante
PERFORMER: Natasha Binder, Karin Lechner, Sergio Tiempo, Lyl Tiempo, Martha Argerich, Alan Kwiek, Mischa Maisky
CATALOGUE NO: Euroarts 2061308

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When her history teacher asks 13-year-old prodigy Natasha Binder why she plays the piano, she simply shrugs and replies, ‘because I like it’. It’s a simple truth, and her love of playing fills this revealing documentary by Mariano Nante with warmth. Over its course, our understanding of what it means to be a pianist, how music shapes every part of a performer’s life, is gently enriched and explored.

Natasha comes from the talented Tiempo-Lechner clan. Grandmother Lyl Tiempo taught her children, pianists Karin Lechner and Sergio Tiempo; now it’s Natasha’s turn. We join them as Karin, Sergio and Natasha prepare for a shared recital in the Teatro Colón in their native Argentina, yet the backdrop is Brussels, where they have lived since 1982. Their neighbour is Martha Argerich; the family know her well, but we hear more of her – through the wall, practising – than we see.

Laughter and humour abound, as various combinations of friends and family rehearse late at night or while others eat. No one is in any doubt about the sacrifices made by musicians, yet the piano is woven without fuss into their lives: there’s always time to sing through a difficult passage, to teach Sergio’s toddler daughter to play her first notes, and to discuss concerts. All this is tellingly observed by Nante, the layers building up until we reach the day of the concert itself. From the snippets included, it would be wonderful to have that on DVD too.

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Rebecca Franks