Simone Dinnerstein

I tend to listen to classical music when I’m deep into writing mode or need to put myself there (I’m on deadline). Lately, I keep on turning to the music of Simone Dinnerstein, mostly the Goldberg Variations, which have a soft spot in my heart partly because of their prominence in Ian McEwan’s Saturday and partly because the way the music works is precisely the way a good argument should work, or at least, it sounds like I think good writing would sound if transmuted into music.

Dinnerstein has a new album out of Bach’s Inventions and Sinfonias, and she has thus been making the NPR rounds. I caught her on Diane Rehm yesterday discussing her new album and the work she does educating kids about Bach and classical music in general. What struck me was how accessible Dinnerstein thought classical music should be. I think what I like about her playing is that it’s not fussy or elite. Indeed, the above video shows how this music should be seamlessly apart of everyday life not separated out into elite boxes.

You can hear it in this Aria from the Goldberg Variations. The music and playing is precise, but there’s such a simple joy in the execution. Perhaps simple is too reductive; Dinnerstein asks you to pay attention to how she’s playing. But she clearly enjoys the act of putting notes together, letting them flow from her fingers in a sinuous rippling arc of small pleasures.

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