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Note by Note: The Making of the Steinway L1037 Reviews

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Emily S. Mendel

... an engrossing film that makes the process of crafting a piano and the people involved come alive.

Full Review Source:

June 28, 2008
Sean Means
Salt Lake Tribune

With its precise editing and thoughtful storytelling, 'Note by Note' is a celebration of craftsmanship - of a piano and of film.

| Original Score: 3.5/4

June 20, 2008
Jeff Vice
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1307 doesn't need any cameos by celebrities, musical or otherwise, to hold our interest.

Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City | Original Score: 4/4

June 19, 2008
Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle
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Like an elegant set of theme and variations, director Ben Niles' beautiful, probing documentary about music and craftsmanship takes a simple idea and follows it in a number of directions.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 4/4

May 30, 2008
Amy Nicholson
Boxoffice Magazine

The story of one piano is a microcosm of art, commerce, perfectionism and the American dream in a thorough, but repetitive, documentary.

Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine | Original Score: 2.5/5

May 30, 2008
Bill White
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Note by Note is a reminder of the deep working class roots of high culture.

Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Original Score: B

February 22, 2008
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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This narrative gambit allows Niles to score a quiet but stunning rhetorical point: in their meticulous attention to detail, the blue-collar workers who've spent their lives at the plant seem just as artistic as any musician.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

February 1, 2008
Duane Dudek
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Although Note by Note has the qualities of an industrial or promotional film, it also is a lovely and lyrical look at a labor of love.

Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Original Score: 3/4

January 31, 2008
Maureen M. Hart
Chicago Tribune
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It's inspirational to watch and listen as the Steinway employees demonstrate with pride their part in producing an instrument that will sell for more than $100,000 and may succeed some of its brethren on the stage at Carnegie Hall.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

January 18, 2008
Jeremy Eichler
Boston Globe
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A modestly scaled but enjoyable documentary.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3/4

January 4, 2008
Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
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A fascinating documentary that more than just piano lovers can enjoy.

December 11, 2007
Ron Wilkinson
Monsters and Critics

A slimy log dumped into frigid Alaskan waters emerges as the hand-selected Steinway for a world-class performance. A fascinating look at the mini-city within New York City where hand work still prevails.

| Original Score: 7/10

November 16, 2007
Jim Ridley
Village Voice
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As a study of stubborn artisanal tradition in the Pro Tools age, Note by Note is a stirring symphony of specialized labor.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

November 13, 2007
Ken Fox
TV Guide's Movie Guide

This unexpectedly charming documentary from filmmaker Ben Niles follows the construction of one piano from the bending and molding of the raw maple that will become the piano rim in workshops of the Steinway & Sons factory in Queens.

Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide | Original Score: 3/4

November 9, 2007
John Anderson
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Gorgeous, visually and musically.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3.5/4

November 8, 2007
Nathan Rabin
AV Club

Infomercials are seldom this leisurely paced or austere.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B-

November 8, 2007
Andrew O'Hehir
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Ben Niles' picture is a fascinating and delightful thing.

Full Review Source:

November 8, 2007
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 follows the painstaking yearlong process of building and fine-tuning a handmade nine-foot concert grand piano.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3/5

November 7, 2007
Maria Garcia
Film Journal International

Niles purposefully seeks out quirkiness rather than providing meaningful demonstrations of craft.

Full Review Source: Film Journal International

November 5, 2007
Kam Williams

A cinematic first, a standing ovation by icons for the unsung, working-class heroes who make them look good.

Full Review Source: NewsBlaze | Original Score: 4/4

November 5, 2007
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