07/25/2014  
Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II in Theaters Aug 29 & Blu-ray Sep 16Toy Story of Terror! On Blu-ray + Digital Copy, DVD, and More Aug 19The Railway Man on Early Digital Aug 1 on DVD/Blu-ray Aug 12Gangster on DVD & VOD Jul 22Spartacus: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray, Digital HD, DVD Sep 16Awkward: Season 3 on DVD Aug 5Worm on DVD Aug 12

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Nick Jonas Releases 'Chains' Single ...
Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II in Theaters Aug 29 & Blu...
'Bosom Buddies' Star Donna Dixon Resurfaces, Stunning a...
'Fargo' will return to FX next season but with new ca...
Toy Story of Terror! On Blu-ray + Digital Copy, DVD, an...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d't)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

DVD Review: NOTE BY NOTE: THE MAKING OF STEINWAY L1037



Studio: Docurama
Year: 2007
Cast: Henry Steinway, Franz Mohr, Dennis Schweit, Wally Boot, Bob Bernhardt, Helene Grimaud, Ron Coners, Harry Connick Jr., Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Dan Duddy, Gino Romano, Hank Jones, Lang Lang, Marcus Roberts, Prenta Ljucovic, Victor Apuango, Bill Charlap, Eddy Salvodon, Lou Bagonja, Ante Glavan, Warren Albrecht, Larry Viguerie, Betsy Hirsch, Anous Vertus, Mike Massetti, Bruce Campbell
Director: Ben Niles
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:20m:35s
Genre(s): documentary

"Every piano has its own personality." - Wally Boot

NOTE BY NOTE: THE MAKING OF STEINWAY L1037

Buy Now @ Amazon

 
    

Here's a doc about how Steinway pianos are made, and how each instrument carries a unique feel and its own set of exacting build standards.

Movie Grade: B-

DVD Grade: B-

In what could almost be an 81-minute commercial for Steinway & Sons pianos, director Ben Niles follows the one year creation of a concert grand piano, from raw Alaskan wood to the finished product.

But unlike those clinical and mechanical How It's Made shows on the Science Channel, Niles adopts a slightly more artistic air, as both Steinway craftsmen and celebrated pianists take time to tell us how each instrument carries its own personality and attitude, even though each piano is made with the same level of precise and delicate design qualities.

At each point along the build, Niles introduces viewers to the craftsmen in Queens, NY who make it all happen, each one involved in a process that involves exacting measurements and skilled handiwork so that the next person in the chain can do their thing. They all seem to share a love of what they do (though if cameras were on me at my day job I'd say the same thing), and they each seem to leave a part of themselves buried somewhere inside the finished product. The intricate hand-crafted work is impressive, and if nothing else, the process of how the wood is bent and shaped was completely fascinating.

Niles alternates between the creation process with input from an assortment of pianists, including Helene Grimaud, Harry Connick Jr. and Hank Jones. This is where the talk delves into the arty vagaries of the "feel" and play of each piano, and how they're all slightly different. Some apparently "push back" more than other, while some carry subtle differences that only come out dependent on the personally playing style of each individual pianist.

Watching Pierre-Laurent Aimard bound from Steinway to Steinway, looking for just the right one for a Carnegie Hall performance, is perhaps the moment where all of this "feel" talk comes to fruition, because we can see on his face that he is hearing and feeling things that most of us mere mortals cannot.

There's no formal narration in Note By Note, so aside from some occasional subtitles, the entire film is presented in the words and actions of the builders and players. Niles steps outside of this momentarily when he introduces us to a family looking to buy a piano for their teenaged son. What follows is a genuinely sweet scene when the piano is delivered to their home, and we learn how this instrument (and the boy's natural talents) are providing a very deep connection across familial generations. If any of those Steinway craftsmen ever needed to see proof exactly what it is they're building, this would be it.

While it was an interesting process to see how a Steinway grand piano is built, and to hear all the input from players like Grimaud and Connick Jr., Note By Note lacks a wider central theme that could give it bite. Clearly this is a dying art, and it's a marvel to see it all come together. There's just not enough of a main story to perhaps make this a bit more accessible to anyone but diehard documentary fans.

IMAGE/AUDIO
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer isn't going to be a showcase disc, but it carries nice colors and at time some wonderful closeup detail of the craftsmanship involved in the build process. Overall there's a measurable inconsistency to the quality—ranging from soft to sharp—though the transfer never took me out of the moment. This one walks like a doc, looks like a doc. No major specs or debris issues to be found.

Audio options are available in 5.1 Dolby Surround and 2.0 stereo, and both are on pretty equal footing. There's a noticeable issue with volume levels that is either annoyingly intentional or unfortunately accidental, resulting in a number of very quiet passages (that require a boost of the volume) that lead into loud scenes that will have you suddenly reaching to drop it down. Not much in the way of rear channel cues, but the 5.1 does deliver the occasional professional piano playing with a much cleaner, natural tone.

EXTRAS
This "deluxe edition" comes with over 80 minutes of extras, nearly the length of the feature itself, with the supplements split into three sections: Portraits, Performances and Scenes. Portraits carries nine separate segments, highlighting pianists and key players featured in the film, including Helene Grimaud, Harry Connick Jr. and Henry Steinway. Here there's more in-depth discussion of their passion, as well (in eight of the nine) some additional piano playing. Performances has separate footage of Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Bill Charlap, Hank Jones and Marcus Roberts delivering a number on their Steinways, while Scenes is a collection of five extended and/or deleted scenes focusing on the assembly and craftsmanship involved in the creation of a piano.

Posted by: Rich Rosell - December 16, 2009, 7:38 am - DVD Review
Keywords: documentary, steinway & sons, grand piano, harry connick jr., helene grimaud




Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

music, nick jonas, jonas brothers, jason evigan, r&b, chains, comedy, television, donna dixon, bosom buddies, dan aykroyd, james brown biopic, get on up, saturday night live, doctor detroit, fx, fargo, martin freeman, billy bob thornton, allison tolman, animation, drama, tca awards, breaking bad, true detective, matther mcconaughey, hbo, itunes festival 2014, september, pharrell williams, kylie minogue, maroon 5, david guetta, sam smith, blondie, beck, kasabian, movie, philip seymour hoffman, february death, cooper, tallulah, willa, mimi odonnell, james cahill jr., david friedman, box office, movies, action, app, james garner, maverick, the rockford files, devine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood, 8 simple rules, the children's hour, doris day, reality, marvel comics, thor, femail, god of thunder, mjolmir, super hero, horror, johnny winter, blues guitar player, zurich switzerland, johnny winter album, willie dixon, walter horton, sex tape, the purge: anarchy, planes: fire & rescue, dawn of the planet of the apes, documentary, soccer, world cup, germany, argentina, mario goetze, dancing with the stars, abc, cheryl burke, botox, no eating disorder, no plastic surgery, simian flu, matt reeves, rick jaffa, amada silver, mark bomback, andy serkis, jason clark, keri russell, kodi smit-mcphee and gary oldman, daytime talk, the view, rosie o'donnell. whoopi goldberg, elisabeth hasselbeck

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too
Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact