David B I feel like I'm turning your review into a concert. 😀
No problem with you turning this into a concert 😀 ... And I find the tone in this video very good, and very similar to what I anticipate a Steinway to sound. If at that time, you had the possibility of flattening the initial part of the velocity curve (from 0-70, being mapped like 0-60 or 0-55), the tone would be even better, I reckon. That is what I like in the VSL D-274: you can tame it down (either by exquisite technique or by flattening down the curve), while retaining the possibility of making an almost aggressive timbre in the top range of velocities. And with their engine and number of layers, that transitions are always smooth (if you create a smooth curve).
But the tone of the Steinway always has a bit of complexity within: will never have notes made essentially of the fundamental, but the harmonics are always very present and to an extent you almost hear the double or triple strings sound independently from each other. As if the strings are more tensed than in other pianos and give off more metallic blooming. Even when you play just one note, it almost sounds like there are two pianos being played. If you listen to classical music CD, that is characteristic of concert pianos. The VSL CFX behaves the same way, and the Bluethner thrives on that. On the other hand, more muffled VSTi (Noire is probably the best exemple of that, but even Garritan and the VSL Bosendorfer Imperial have a mild version of this) filter a lot the sound to make it more focused on the fundamental frequency. That is what I erroneously called "bell-like" in my initial comments (I say erroneously because there is probably nothing that generates more harmonics than a bell...). The VC280 has also that characteristic of a more "rounded" tone but on top of that the change in timbre in higher velocities never gets really aggressive like in the D-274, CFX or Imperial. For late classical music (which I hope to be able to play one day), I find this very important; for hymn playing like you do, the D-274 will probably always be a struggle and the VC280 is a match made in heaven of clear notes and more even timbre across velocities.
I feel that with the Garritan CFX and the D-274, I have covered my needs. Maybe in the future I get the VSL Bluethner, but this needs very good pedal technique to sound OK. When I tried the demo, in my hands it sounded really thin, awful and unforgiving; the notes sounded loud or silent by any slight error in pressure. And I really want to try the Modern U, but don't want to pay for something and then miss the deep bass notes... In only they had a demo...