Note By Note
The Making of Steinway L1037
Hmmm. Richter has played a 7 min 51 sec (or longer) piece in 5 min 54 secs?
The official website can be visited HERE and it has the Pounding Room Intro, followed by a slide show of scenes and review hightlights. You can control the speed of the slideshow and make it go back and forth bysliding your cursor left and right over the images. The page has more video.
Amazon sells the video and two books about making pianos.
and a more modern version —-
The following are reviewers’ comments about Note By Note, which can be ordered on DVD from Amazon.
“ENGROSSING! (Director Ben) Niles and cinematographer Ben Wolf scrutinize each step as if it were RIFIFI’s climactic heist, offering moments of fixated strangeness and wonder—as when a burly Croatian “bellyman” named Ante Glavan installs perfect rows of teensy little notches in the bridge, using swift, unhesitant repetition that seems more magical than robotic. …As a study of stubborn artisanal tradition in the ProTools age, NOTE BY NOTE is a stirring symphony of specialized labor.”
– Jim Ridley, Village Voice
“One of the most legendary instruments in the world. The Steinway is an elusive example of perfection. Niles’s focus on the nitty-gritty details of its production is remarkably absorbing.”
– Sara Cardace, New York Magazine
“Delightful! Follows the yearlong process to hand-craft a concert grand, from the selection of wood in Alaska to the delivery of the finished piano to Steinway Hall on 57th Street. Features a who’s who of pianists who sing the praises of Steinways and contribute to the soundtrack.”
– V.A. Musetto, New York Post
“Follows the birthing of one piano from start to finish… Watching NOTE BY NOTE… I couldn’t help thinking that Beethoven would have been pleased. The result is not an article but a miracle. It ripples, it thunders, it sings. Feels like an oasis of civilization. For 81 minutes we are in a venue where storybook principles really apply, where pride is justified, and, for the last fortissimo, where they are giving Beethoven what he wanted.”
– Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
“(A) distinct pleasure…an engaging and instructive glimpse into a world of artisans and artists.”
– Tim Page, The Washington Post
“HOW DOES A PIANO GET TO CARNEGIE HALL?” – the first of nine articles by James Barron, published by The New York Times, on the making of a Steinway piano and the history of the 150-year-old company, “one of the last outposts of hand craftsmanship in a machine dominated industry.” Intrigued, Ben Niles has made a documentary on the genesis of a Steinway concert grand. It begins life in a gritty 5-story Queens factory (on Steinway Street in Astoria) where a small army of technicians ply their trade in much the same way as their predecessors a century ago. The mystery of each piano’s sound and personality is explored by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Harry Connick Jr., Hélène Grimaud, Kenny Barron, Marcus Roberts, Bill Charlap, Hank Jones and Chinese prodigy Lang Lang.