Simone Dinnerstein

For pianist Simone Dinnerstein to choose Bach's “Goldberg” Variations for her 2007 debut CD (self-financed, though Telarc issued it) was roughly the classical equivalent of a band deciding to make its first album a start-to-finish cover of Abbey Road. The work's been recorded by many pianists, but identified with none so strongly as Glenn Gould, who chose it for his own astounding debut almost exactly 50 years earlier (and then re-recorded it just before his death in 1982). And in a way, Dinnerstein carries on Gould's legacy: She plays Bach with a similar miraculous, luminous clarity, but with a slightly creamier tone and a more Romantic sense of tempo shading, applied with a thoughtfully subtle hand, than Gould used. Above all, she achieves in Bach the same sort of ecstatic serenity; of her performance of the Variations' opening movement, she made the very Gouldian pronouncement “I didn’t want any movement in the Aria. I wanted it to be about sound, and space.” She'll play Bach at Meany Hall tonight, of course—an English Suite and a few arrangements of organ works—plus Schumann and Schubert miniatures. GAVIN BORCHERT

Wed., Jan. 12, 8 p.m., 2011

 
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