American pianist Simone Dinnerstein has branched out to numerous areas outside of classical music throughout her career, including last year’s Night, a recent mix of landscapes across classical, folk, and rock. But when all is said and done, Dinnerstein will always be known for what she does best: Bach. Continuously stretching herself to be the premier Bach interpreter of the last twenty years, Dinnerstein is not far from the mark.
A bit dubious of choice, Dinnerstein decidedly to go back to the basics – crafting an album around Bach’s Inventions and Sinfonias, originally intended and what many present pianists believe today to be a musical guide for all keyboardist. Yet as simple as much of Inventions and Sinfonias may be, Dinnerstein interjects layers of complexity far beyond what Bach probably had in mind.
Dinnerstein is selectively “playful” when it comes to the 15 Inventions. There is a casual approach that Dinnerstein takes much to the delight of the listener. Much of the record pertains the exquisite manner in which the Inventions and Sinfonias was meant to portray. While purists will argue Dinnerstein is a bit too relaxed without much of the luster usually exuded from her fingers on previous Bach recordings, her technical pattern is justified for its end result of a more gentle, guiding patterns. Going onward into the album, Dinnerstein brilliantly shines during the course of the Sinfonias, opting for a more “Bach to the Basics” style, soft and fine-tuned. Again it is bit off-setting to hear Dinnerstein more reserved than usual, but even here on the Sinfonias are there almost poetic prancing of gravitation that she has become increasingly known for.
It’s still a bit far fetched to call Dinnerstein the new Glenn Gould for our time, but she’s considerably placing herself in a league of her own when it comes to Bach interpreters. Inventions and Sinfonias shows Dinnerstein isn’t afraid to go outside her norm and actually take a more light-hearted approach for the sake of a more general, welcoming sound. In that plight she doesn’t lose the poetic nature of her technique but instead garners a newfound touch that’s more honest and endearing.
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