One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
Vivaldi
9 cello sonatas
Dussek
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Inventions BWV 772-786 [23:04]
Sinfonias BWV 787-801 [30:26]
Simone Dinnerstein (piano)
rec. 6-7 June 2013, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City (Inventions); 24-25 July 2013, The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College (Sinfonias)
SONY CLASSICAL 88883 795972 [53:30]

Always intrigued by Bach performed on the piano but entirely innocent as to the qualities of Simone Dinnersteinís playing, I was put on cheese alert by somewhat drippy illustrations from the 1980s in the booklet which presumably serve as mute illustration of burgeoning talent at early age. This is another one of those annoying presentations which provides a personal comment from the soloist and no further information on the actual music. I donít blame the pianist for this and saving on real booklet notes no doubt cuts costs in an age when download purchases are as likely as shifting actual discs, but with this approach we run the risk of turning such recordings into ephemera. Of Dinnersteinís other work a further searches revealed Jens F Laursonís colourful review of the Berlin Concert disc from Telarc, a label which has also released her Goldberg Variations. Live concerts have been given mixed receptions here and here. Sony Classical already has two solo albums from Dinnerstein, Bach, Strange Beauty and Something Almost Being Said (see review). To sum up in advance of hearing a note, it would seem that Bach purists are unlikely to be happy with Simone Dinnersteinís interpretations, but then I would ask, what is a Bach purist doing listening to Bach played on a Steinway in the first place?

Wondering if Simone Dinnerstein might be Sonyís answer to Virgin Classicsí David Fray, I do in fact find myself pleasantly surprised by the quality of her playing. Yes, this is a romantic approach, with a limpid, legato touch in many of the Inventions. There is a dynamic rise and fall which emphasises the shape of phrases, and there is a vocal clarity to the contrapuntal strands which keeps us soundly on message for the most part. Dinnerstein has a tendency to give little expressive delays here and there, in particular in advance of ornaments, and this can lead to some rhythmic strangeness, such as in the extra half a beat which sometimes crops up to distort the Invention No. 10. In the end, most of these performances are very good indeed on their own, but only your individual taste will dictate if you respond to Dinnersteinís approach.

There are plenty of players to admire when it comes to this repertoire. At the drier end of the spectrum we have the incomparable Glenn Gould, who as ever is a frequent seeker of extremes when it comes to tempi, but who explores rich veins of expression and excitement despite the flaws in this recording. Andrea Bacchetti (see review) has an honest directness and is closer to the Gould camp, though with a greater sense of playfulness and less uncompromising touch when it comes to a feel for legato. Compare the magic of his Sinfonia No. 5 to the over-ornamented version we have from Dinnerstein. AndrŠs Schiffís 1983 Decca recording has plenty of romanticism and has many excellent qualities, though Iím not always keen on his delayed right hand in some of the slower pieces. Till Fellner (see review) remains a firm favourite for the sheer poetry in his playing, transforming these often simple keyboard pieces into something desirable and unforgettable.

I have a declared affection for Angela Hewittís Hyperion recordings of Bach, and her Inventions and Sinfonias (see review of the single disc release here, and the big Bach box here) are full of life and variety. Hewitt doesnít linger much with these pieces, though gives full expressive attention to masterpieces such as the Sinfonia No. 9. Hewittís recording is a bit on the dry side, but this lends clarity to the changes in colour she is able to give to the different strands of counterpoint. Dinnerstein doesnít do this as much, using dynamics and individual atmosphere to point out micro and macro contrasts.

To sum up, I like Simone Dinnersteinís Inventions and Sinfonias quite a lot, but they donít hold my attention for a whole CD. I can see myself reaching for this if seeking Bach for relaxation, and like a nice perfume it already holds some pleasant associations, but if I want to be energised and inspired I think there are too many other places with a wider variety of approach.

Dominy Clements