fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Note By Note

We have quite a variety of film festivals here, which means I have a chance to see the sort of quirky non-mainstream movies I like. Today, I went to a screening of Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1037, which was part of the DC Labor Filmfest. The screening was at the AFI Silver Theatre, which I had never been to before. It lived up to its reputation as a great movie theatre, but it was an awfully long metro ride on a weekend which involved track work on both the Orange and Red lines. I suppose I could have driven, but traffic and parking in downtown Silver Spring are not for the faint-hearted either.

As for the movie, it's a documentary following the production of one Steinway concert grand piano. The emphasis was on the craftsmanship involved, which includes a surprising amount of hand labor. Clips of piano making were interspersed with clips of piano playing. Lang Lang was amusing as he talked about how Tom and Jerry cartoons piqued his interest in the piano when he was a child. Pierre-Laurent Aimard is followed through the process of selecting a piano for a concert at Carnegie Hall and, frankly, comes across as a major pain in the ass. One of my favorite scenes involved the annual Steinway factory sale and a couple who buy their son a Steinway so his grandfather (who was very musical himself) can hear it before he dies.

Everybody has heard the "building a cathedral" story as part of some workplace motivational training. It struck me that the workers all talked about their role as making pianos, not just bending the case or fitting the sounding board or whatever. As I have said before, people talking about things they are passionate about are always interesting. This is a lovely film, filled with that sort of passion.
Tags: movies, music

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