WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Bach: Goldberg Variations / Dinnerstein

Release Date: 08/28/2007 
Label:  Telarc   Catalog #: 80692   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Simone Dinnerstein
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

This title is currently unavailable.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein makes her Telarc debut with Bach's Goldberg Variations which she recorded in March 2005 with GRAMMY Award winning producer Adam Abeshouse.

The New York Times trumpeted Dinnerstein's Carnegie Hall recital debut performance of the Goldberg Variations as "a thoughtfully conceived, thoroughly modern performance that seemed to take into account the development of Western art music since Bach ... there was something in the slight pauses she took between repeated sections, or between halves of variations, and something in her pacing of the set as a whole, that so completely evoked the image of a journey that Schubert's Winterreise kept coming to mind."

Dinnerstein describes her
Read more approach to this music as a current interpretation of a timeless work. "Bach's Goldberg Variations is a piece with a profound sense of structure and organization, and yet the listener never experiences these elements as constraints," she says. "It is as expressive as it is diverse. Each variation explores a distinctive mood, a particular sound world, and a unique shade of character and emotion," she continued. "We live in a world that is unimaginably different from Bach's, but this piece speaks to us as powerfully as though it was written for our time."

The Goldberg Variations have become a professional milestone as well for Dinnerstein. Her success story is quite unusual in the classical music world, where careers are often established when musicians are in their early twenties or even late teens, usually by means of a big competition win. But in 2005, Dinnerstein was living a quiet life in Brooklyn with her schoolteacher husband and young son. She had been performing publicly for more than a decade and had been a much-awarded student at The Juilliard School, but at the age of 33, she did not hold a major competition title, nor did she have a manager. She knew she was at a now-or-never age for a classical musician, and she decided to take her career into her own hands.

In November 2005, she performed the complete Goldberg Variations on a self-produced Carnegie Hall recital debut. This bold move, coupled with the increasing interest in her unreleased recording of the piece, won her critical acclaim in the press.

A management contract, a record deal, and concert dates throughout the world have all come together within a span of two years. For Dinnerstein, the release of her recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations on Telarc symbolizes both her determination to stay true to the paths she has chosen in life and in music, and her unwavering belief that each is essential to the other.

Dinnerstein's Goldberg Variations was recorded in the neoclassic auditorium of the Academy of Arts and Letters in New York in March 2005. The piano she plays, a 1903 Hamburg Steinway model D concert grand, was originally owned by the town council of Hull, in Northeast England. During World War II, Hull was extensively bombed and the town hall in which the piano was housed was severely damaged. The piano, however, survived intact and was used in a series of concerts after the war to restore Hull's spirit. In 2002, it was restored by Klavierhaus in New York City, in time to be used at the re-opening of the World Trade Center's Winter Garden, playing the same role as it had in Hull over fifty years earlier.

R E V I E W S:

"An utterly distinctive voice in the forest of Bach interpretation, Ms. Dinnerstein brings her own pianistic expressivity to the “Goldberg” Variations, probing each variation as if it were something completely new." -- Anne Midgette, New York Times (11/30/2007)


The Goldberg Variations Made New

"I'm as tough a sell as any...I seem to have imprinted on Gould's '55 disk. Nothing, not even Gould's more spacious 1981 revision could shake my allegiance. Until I turned on my radio and heard Variation 13 played in a way I'd never heard it played before: pensively, wistfully, with an ebb and flow as natural as breathing...

"In the dreamlike fugue state that Dinnerstein induces, Bach seems to be channeling the next 200 years of Western music...the spikiness of Prokofiev, the ripple and shimmer of Debussy...In Variations 3 and 13, one finds the nursery reverie of Schumann's Kinderszenen; in 19 and 30 a sense of beatitude, that brings to mind Berlioz's Enfance du Christ.

"Dinnerstein is a throwback to such high priestesses of music as Wanda Landowska and Myra Hess. Remember the name: You'll be hearing it often."

-- Evan Eisenberg, Slate
Read less

Works on This Recording

Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Simone Dinnerstein (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1741-1742; Nuremberg, Germany 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts and Letters, Ne 
Length: 78 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (03/11/2005 - 03/13/2005)
Composition written: Nuremberg, Germany (1741 - 1742). 

Featured Sound Samples

Variation no 1
Variation no 26

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title