This is an interesting DVD in which we get to learn a bit more about the personal side of the leader and piano soloist. Mr. Schiff is the “Tour Guide”, who tells us more about the historic performance venue, its designer, and its location in Italy.
The DVD also unexpectedly shows us Mr. Schiff’s sense of humor: Schiff tells us that the German word “Schiff” means boat. He also tells us that the Italian word for “boat” is “Barca”. Apparently he named the performance orchestra that he leads in this DVD, the “Capella Andrea Barca”.
While there is plenty of “serious” classical content to this DVD, it is fun to get to know the personal side of this well-know pianist whom I am seeing for the first time as an orchestra leader as well.
The location of the performance is a marvelous old stage in Italy, and Mr. Schiff provides lots of interesting historic information about the stage and its designer. In this all-Mozart program, we hear first a lovely, sensitive performance of the Haffner Symphony of Mozart (Symphony # 35).
The orchestra has been cut down to the size of a chamber group, and the nice thing is that players are thus able to hear each other better, and the whole performance takes on the feeling of a string quartet, with added winds and brass (and Tympani).
In the second part of this DVD, Andras Schiff begins with a nice performance of the overture to Mozart’s Don Giovanni. As this selection ends in D-Minor, it is a great immediate lead-in to the beginning of the final piece on this DVD, which is the D-Minor Piano Concerto #20, K. 466, in which Mr. Schiff is both conductor and pianist.
All in all: A fine addition to any collection, with some unique, creative content.