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Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037

4.5 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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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.

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.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: September 15, 2009
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001P8M9FK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,949 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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By D. Harter on September 26, 2009
Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This documentary chronicles the manufacture of a single Steinway grand piano. Of course it isn't, and does not pretend to be, a comprehensive technical manual on the materials and techniques required to produce a complex musical instrument costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rather, it is an overview of several of the processes involved in the extremely time-consuming manufacture, adjustment, tuning and testing of the instrument. The people who work at the Steinway plant are racially and nationally diverse, and what they do there, year after year, decade after decade, is so obviously a labor of love. They are patient, perfectionistic craftsmen and women. Steinway makes 2,000 pianos a year to the 100 per day made by other companies. The techniques at Steinway haven't changed much in the last century. And the old-world philosophy produces instruments that musicians of the highest caliber love to play. Steinway still tunes their pianos aurally as opposed to electronically. It's a multistep process requiring multiple tuners, and it requires hours to accomplish. That kind of devotion to quality applies to every aspect of piano creation at this company. And finally, when the piano is rolled into the concert hall, that quality is audible, and the perfectionism can be heard.

Steinway went through a period some years ago where an old-fashioned woolen-felt bearing (one required for every key) was replaced by a Teflon bearing. That caused squeaking when the note was struck. Fortunately they saw the error of the ways and returned to the traditional material.

This documentary should appeal to almost everyone, children included. It's about art, and craft, and care--and, really about the creation of art through its physical tools, i.e., its instruments; and through the soul of the artist. Turn the phone off before you start it; you won't want to be interrupted.
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