Simone Dinnerstein is another musical talent from the piano stable of The Juilliard School. To some, ‘musical’ and ‘stable’ may be at opposite ends of the artistic spectrum — the institution has a tendency to promote fist slammers and hard pounders. As such, for Dinnerstein’s label Sony Classics, maybe another Rach 2 was on the cards? Lucky for us, clearer, musical heads prevailed. Something different from this young lady. Dinnerstein is a singular talent. She is incredibly musical, possesses a golden touch, and will challenge and delight you.
Dinnerstein’s previous Sony albums have all featured Bach. ‘Something Almost Being Said’ (I thought it was a pop album when it arrived at the office) stars her favoured composer but she also treats us with Schubert’s Four Impromptus, Op. 90 D. 899.
Peter Serkin trained (another pianist with a lovely touch), Dinnerstein’s playing is a constant pleasure in both the Bach and Schubert. Her Bach Partita’s are forthright (think Angela Hewitt at her very Bach best) and highlight an exquisite touch. This beautiful, tactile technique is always in service to the phrase and the bigger musical picture. Melodies are phrased squarely (correctly), and then are spun in development into webs of glorious sound. And her cadences? Superb!
These qualities are also much in evidence in her Schubert Impromptus. At times, she sounds like the late, great John Bingham, whose Meridian Schubert LPs are my benchmark for this composer’s piano music. Her sound in concert with wonderful technique (listen to the filigree sound in the Ab Impromptu) portends great things to come in other repertoire. I’d like to hear Dinnerstein in some early Beethoven and Schumann, more Bach, and a lot more Schubert.
Dinnerstein takes great care to mention the piano technicians who prepared the superb piano. This care is also evident in the brilliant recording. Pianos are very difficult to record, especially with the decay of the sound and its direction. Adam Abehouse’s recording in New York’s American Academy of Arts and Letters is a knockout. I love piano recordings where the touch and sound can be felt as well as heard, especially in quiet, reflective music.
This CD will be in the running for Audiophilia Recording of the Year. Yes, it’s that good. Highly recommended.
Simone Dinnerstein, piano
J. S. Bach’s Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 826; Schubert’s Four Impromptus, Op. 90; J. S. Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825
Playing time: 75:49