American Pianist Simone Dinnerstein Enthralls Younger Generation
Simone Dinnerstein’s 2007 recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations challenged us to see Bach in a different way. It was a sort of question. How much room is there for emotion in Baroque music? Bach’s music has always been moving, but Dinnerstein plays him so expressively, soulfully, almost Romantically. Still, Dinnerstein’s expressive playing does not disguise the symmetry of Bach’s music. It is still the same music with all its mathematical precision and beauty. It is this dichotomy perhaps, that has made Dinnerstein so appealing to such a broad audience. She accentuates the changes, the deviations in Bach’s patterns making the emotion behind them that much more powerful. In a time after Schumann, Joplin, Coltrane, and Kesha, maybe we need some help hearing the feelings that were obvious to Bach when he transcribed them to music. Even playing Bach’s aria on a piano opens musical doors that even he could only imagine.
It was a bold move to choose the challenging Goldberg Variations for her debut, but Dinnerstein says she wanted an complex piece to explore while she was pregnant. Dinnerstein was able, it seems, to use the momentous changes in her own life to infuse Bach’s music with fresh perspective.