New CD of the Week | Bach: A Strange Beauty

Hear it each day this week for 5 O'clock Bach with Richard Ray.


Listen to Simone Dinnerstein speak with CPR's David Rutherford about Bach: A Strange Beauty.


Simone Dinnerstein’s first album on Sony Classical Bach: A Strange Beauty sees the pianist return to Bach, this time combining three transcriptions of his Chorale Preludes with one of his English Suites and two of his Keyboard Concerti.

Simone Dinnerstein’s special affinity to the music of Bach was cemented when her self-funded recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations took the US Billboard charts by storm on its release in 2007. The album drew intense critical acclaim and Dinnerstein’s unique playing garnered such impressive reviews as that from The New York Times "An utterly distinctive voice in the forest of Bach interpretation."

Her expressive style and individual approach to Bach’s music manifest themselves again in her Sony Classical debut, Bach: A Strange Beauty, displaying a range of sonorities and textures between the solo piano, piano with orchestra, the piano mimicking other instruments and even the piano evoking a soloist with orchestra (as in moments of the English Suite).

For the album title, Bach: A Strange Beauty, Simone Dinnerstein quoted the early 17th century writer and philosopher Sir Francis Bacon about beauty: “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.”  She feels this exemplifies the way she experiences Bach’s music.  Seemingly built around patterns, symmetry and logic, Bach’s music on further delving, deviates constantly from the expected patterns, altering the rhythmic stress and creating something mysterious and unexpected.

Dinnerstein also draws parallels to the peculiarities of visual art.  "Strangeness in some proportion is what I like in all of the arts.  My father is an artist and I grew up discussing this with him as it applies to the fine arts... This certainly affects the way I want to play the piano."


See previous CDs of the Week here.