Monday, April 19, 2010
Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 (2007) by Ben Niles is a lavish and absorbing tribute to the hands that build and tune pianos at the Steinway factory in Queens, New York. Musicians such as Hank Jones and Helene Grimaud (above) try to communicate the differences they hear among pianos that, to a layman, look exactly alike. Bottom still: a piano-in-progress is placed on a rotating device like a gigantic rotisserie. The film may be a mixture of Steinway infomercial and elaborate process sequence, but its range of characters provide abundant charm and surprise along the way.