Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466
Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K467 Elvira Madigan
Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K595
Staatskapelle Dresden/Rudolf Buchbinder (piano)
Bonus: Making Of – A 4K production at Volkswagen’s “Die Gläserne Manufaktur”.
Disc Format: BD 50
Audio: PCM Stereo, PCM 5.1
Region Code: 0 (worldwide)
rec. 15-17 June 2015, Volkswagen’s “Die Gläserne Manufaktur”, Dresden
C MAJOR DVD 733908 [93:00]

This is definitely not your average concert – the performances took place at Volkswagen’s high-end manufacturing facility “Die Gläserne Manufaktur” in Dresden. It is a state-of-the-art glass building that is used for production of the VW Phaeton.

Rudolf Buchbinder is on double duty as pianist and conductor. The DVD opens with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.27 in B flat. Buchbinder uses a bit of tempo rubato in his solo passages in the first movement, and plays Mozart’s cadenzas. The outer movements of the Piano Concerto No.21 in C are taken at a brisk tempo, though they never sound frantic. Buchbinder plays his own cadenzas, which are excellent and perfectly in keeping with the Mozart style. The performers’ approach to the Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor is very much classical and shorn of the romantic pathos that is often heard in other interpretations. Beethoven’s cadenza to the first movement sounds a bit out-of-style with Mozart.

The playing of Staatskapelle Dresden, with a small body of strings (8-6-4-3-2), is excellent, as is the playing of Rudolf Buchbinder, which is technically immaculate and classical in approach. There are a few transitions where the ensemble would have benefited from a dedicated conductor, but overall the performance is excellent.

The recorded sound is very good, particularly given the concert venue. The orchestra and pianist play towards one end of the long factory floor, with no wall, partition or sound reflector behind them. A glass building with Phaeton chassis hung from the ceiling and engine blocks on work-benches behind the orchestra is hardly the ideal setting for a concert performance. However the sound is surprisingly good, if the audio was indeed recorded at the location of the filming session. The camerawork is excellent, with appropriate close-ups of the soloist as well as various orchestra members when they have prominent parts.

The bonus is a short four-minute documentary on the making of the concert, available in English and German. It reveals that the stage is set up after the work-day at the factory ends at 3:30pm, which makes the production all the more impressive. Buchbinder says he likes cars and feels at home at the venue. There is no mention of what prompted them to mount concerts at this particular venue though. The video was shot in 4K, four times the normal HD resolution, though on my DVD copy it is not possible to enjoy the ultra-high HD resolution.

The booklet is in English, with the main essay, originally written in German by Tobias Niederschlag, given English and French translations.

This is a very interesting production that more than holds its own against the competition.

Wai Kit Leung

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