Mission Mozart (DVD)

Sony Classical
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Lang Lang, Vienna Philharmonic, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

For four days, the legendary Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein was turned into a music laboratory and sound studio for Chinese pianist Lang Lang, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

The film focuses on two classical musicians who could hardly be more different: Lang Lang, a glamorous international piano star who constantly blurs the boundaries between pop and classical music; and the Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, musicologist, brooder and pioneer of “historical performance practice” – and an artist with very much a mind of his own. Lang Lang believes Harnoncourt is simply the ideal ambassador for Mozart and looks on the recording session as a multi-day master class. “For me,” he says, “Nikolaus Harnoncourt is the master of this era of music, a god. I'm overwhelmed to be recording my first Mozart concertos with him – and the Vienna Philharmonic. No other orchestra plays Mozart with such authenticity.”

As tribute to Harnoncourt – Mozart authority and hugely respected performance practice pioneer – Sony Classical will release the TV film 'Mission Mozart.'

This film documented the one and only recording project between these two great musicians, recorded at Vienna’s Musikverein in 2014. The documentary shows insights into the rehearsals and preparations, as well as interviews and comments by Lang Lang and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

The director Christian Berger and his film crew could observe the artists during the recording sessions at the Musikverein, the preparations of both soloist and conductor, the orchestral rehearsals and the recordings, as well as listening in the control room and eavesdropping on the artists’ lively discussions. “Mission Mozart” provides an exclusive look behind the scenes of the music industry - informative, entertaining, and with Mozart's outstanding music.

The program includes two piano concertos by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Nos. 17 in G major and 24 in C minor. Nikolaus Harnoncourt says: “Music is a language. It’s just like spoken language; you have to know how to read it. If you cannot read it, you’ll only hear tinkling. We only wanted to convey what Mozart wanted to say with these works.”

This doc­u­ment­ary is a re­veal­ing in­sight in­to the cre­at­ive pro­cesses of two of the most dis­tinct­ive and in­flu­en­tial mu­si­cians in the world today. Lang Lang says about work­ing with Harnon­court that "every ses­sion with him is like a mas­ter­class. He just gave me everything from his heart, and that direct con­nec­tion in mu­sic-mak­ing is the most im­port­ant in­spir­a­tion for me".

For Harnon­court too, this is a stim­u­lat­ing part­ner­ship : "It's rare to find someone who is so open-minded", he says about Lang Lang. "I can only work with so­loists who are ready to de­vel­op a concept to­geth­er with me, and very sel­dom have I ex­per­i­enced a read­ing of the work that de­veloped so quickly."

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Lang Lang piano
Wiener Philharmoniker
Nikolaus Harnoncourt conductor

Movie director: Christian Berger
Duration: 52 min
Production date: 2014