Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Note By Note

Until I can get Pianomania, I'll check out other piano related documentaries... of which, I found one: Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037. (You can buy the DVD from here.)

This movie is about, if you can believe it, the making of a Steinway piano. Number L1037 if you can stretch your imagination that far. At least, a brief 90 minute version thereof. We meet the various people behind this hand-crafting process, and also talk to some famous pianists about how they choose their pianos (hand-crafting giving each piano its own 'personality').

Quite an interesting documentary that shows off the loving care that goes into this process. And that, if you are truly a pianist of note, you'll spend a lot of time not being able to tinkle just any ol' ivories. Not that these pianos are just littering the place. L1037 takes a year to produce, so I'm not sure just how many pianos Steinway manage to make. Obviously enough to keep in business, and Steinway is definitely a known brand of piano, so I'm sure they'll be going for a while yet...

This is more of a character piece than a character study. Although we follow the piano through its creation, it doesn't really play much of a part. Instead, we have a variety of people who mold it that we meet, and many of them are indeed 'characters' in the more notable sense. And of multiple skills. Many of them can (and indeed have to, for their jobs) play the piano, but there are also a lot of people who, as long as they are willing to pay due care, are just as essential to the piano-creation process.

The DVD has extras in the form of some extended and deleted scenes, and most of the extras time is with interviews with, most, pianists, and also some key Steinway people. Some definitely interesting stories there, and in many ways could have separate documentaries of their own.

Not as enthralling as some documentaries I'm waiting for, a good watch nonetheless.


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