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Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 (2007)

Harry Connick Jr. , Pierre-Laurent Aimard , Ben Niles  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Harry Connick Jr., Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Helene Grimaud, Hank Jones, Lang Lang
  • Directors: Ben Niles
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: 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: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: September 15, 2009
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001P8M9FK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,801 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

The most thoroughly handcrafted instruments in the world, Steinway pianos are as unique and full of personality as the world-class musicians who play them. However, in this age of mass production, their makers are a dying breed: skilled cabinet-makers, gifted tuners, thorough hand-crafters.

Note by Note follows the creation of a Steinway concert grand, #L1037, from forest floor to concert hall. Each piano s journey is complex, spanning 12 months, 12,000 parts, 450 craftsmen, and countless hours of fine-tuned labor. Filmed in key Steinway locations the factory, Steinway s reserved Bank, and the rooms of private auditions Note by Note is a loving celebration not just of craftsmanship, but of a dying breed of person who is deeply connected to working by hand. In the end, this is an ode to the most unexpected of unsung heroes. It reminds us how extraordinary the dialogue can be between an artist and an instrument crafted out of human hands but borne of the materials of nature.

Featuring famed pianists such as Harry Connick, Jr., and Lang Lang, NOTE BY NOTE follows the year-long, hand-crafted creation of a Steinway concert grand piano from forest floor to concert hall.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Making of a Miracle November 5, 2009
This is a truly marvelous documentary that should appeal to anyone with musical interests. Even more than the celebration of a miraculous musical instrument, it is the honoring of the diverse, inner-city craftsmen and women who lovingly and skillfully craft these musical wonders called Steinway pianos.

The building of this particular piano - unglamorously titled L1037 - is interspersed with episodes of some famous and diverse pianists dropping into the Steinway showroom to select just the right piano for their next performance. Featured are classical artists Helene Grimaud, Pierre-Laurant Aimard and Chinese dynamo Lang Lang (who is hilariously impromptu and impressive here) - as well as some jazz artists as Harry Connick Jr.

I'm not a pianist, but I can easily imagine how special it is to play a Steinway Grand, especially one that ideally suits your tastes. (I suspect playing an Italian Fazioloi Concert Grand would also inspire the same). Seeing the intricacies of these pianos in this DVD will only highten your appreciation and understanding of how thousands of individual efforts by dozens of craftspeople over the course of the year in production leads to that magical, full, bell-like tone a trained ear can readily identify as "Steinway." A unique and delightful story of an American legend wonderfully suited for family appreciation. 5 stars
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite sure . . . April 24, 2010
It is all going to depend on your expectations of the video whether you like it or not when you have finished viewing it. Is the video "made well"? Yes - in fact, it is a beautiful story. However, if your expectation of this video is thatyou will know: 1) how a piano is made from start-to-finish, and; 2) what differentiates a Steinway PIANO from other piano-shaped instruments, I think you may not be 100% satisfied. Owning a Steinway and having been to both the factory and Steinway Hall, there is a lot that this film is NOT. If you want to know about the heritage of the Steinway, if you want to see the generations of ethnic workers carrying on a tradition, you will probably like "the story". It is also a bit of an "infomercial" for Steinway, but I'd hope they wouldn't use it as a primary sales tool! So - if you are passionate about the piano or music and you want to add something to your library --- go ahead and it's probably worth what you'll spend for a USED copy (getting one in the library or renting it would be a better aproach). If you want to know something about how pianos are built and what makes a Steinway special ---- READ Jim Barron's book, PIANO and visit the Steinway website and there are a lot of video clips there. The online factory tour -> [...]
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous September 26, 2009
The title may be a little misleading, read as an 80-minute informercial, but it's not (disclaimer -- I prefer Kawai to Steinway). Instead, the movie is a touching and educational flick about the making of pianos in the heart of NYC. It celebrates the soul inherent in the handmade object. Personal stories are interspersed throughout, keeping us emotionally attached to the tradesmen who are part of the piano making process and the accomplished pianists, both young and old, who act as consumers. My favorite part is when one of the pianists explains how he first became enamored by the piano through watching Tom and Jerry cartoons and he plays a flamboyant rendition of a Liszt piece that will give you a good chuckle.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
NOTE BY NOTE is a documentary that is not a documentary: it is a love story the begins with the initial choice of wood form Sitka, Alaska, through the multiple aspects of creating the case, the soundboard, stringing and creating the hammers and pads, and finally the tuning of the piano before placing it before the public wither for sale or for storage in the Steinway Headquarters in New York for pianists to select for performances in the New York area. Each step of the process introduces the craftsman responsible for particular aspects of the building of this near sacred musical instrument: it takes a year to handcraft a Steinway piano.

Each step of the process of creating the piano, here the selected piano is numbered L1037, is explained and demonstrated but that is where this film is so very unlike other films that attempt to achieve the same 'this is how it is done' process: this is a story of a 'lover' passed from person to person until the wooden and metal and pad-filled 'box' is presented to the hands of a variety of musicians for the acid test. Throughout the film we are in conversation with such pianists as Hélène Grimaud, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Lang Lang, Harry Connick, Jr. and Hank Jones. But the real radiance of this film directed by Ben Niles is the series of tender tributes each of the workers adds when attempting to describe how working to build a Steinway is as rewarding an occupation as possible. This little film is a quiet love story and very awe inspiring. Grady Harp, July 11
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Skillfully done documentary on how Steinway pianos are made, following a single piano ( serial number S1037) through it's build process over the course of a year. Interviews with the craftsmen, detailed close ups of various parts under construction, and lots of piano music. Concert pianists try various pianos, and explain as best they can why they choose one over another. You come away from this movie with a sense of how much work it is to make a piano and why they differ from each other. Also, you get a sense of the pride of craftsmanship that each person who touches the piano has.

You will never listen or see a piano quite the same way again.
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