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Bach - A Strange Beauty

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Following the success of her recordings of J.S. Bach's "Goldberg Variations" and The Berlin Concert for Telarc, Simone Dinnerstein switched to Sony for her 2011 album, Bach: A Strange Beauty, which presents a mix of Bach's keyboard works performed on piano, including transcriptions by Ferruccio Busoni, Wilhelm Kempff, and Myra Hess. Lest there be any confusion, Dinnerstein's performances are not aimed at the Baroque purist who would prefer in the first place to hear this music played on harpsichord in period style and would reject the modern arrangements out of hand. Rather, she appeals to a mainstream audience that accepts modernizing Bach and enjoys hearing the full ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Following the success of her recordings of J.S. Bach's "Goldberg Variations" and The Berlin Concert for Telarc, Simone Dinnerstein switched to Sony for her 2011 album, Bach: A Strange Beauty, which presents a mix of Bach's keyboard works performed on piano, including transcriptions by Ferruccio Busoni, Wilhelm Kempff, and Myra Hess. Lest there be any confusion, Dinnerstein's performances are not aimed at the Baroque purist who would prefer in the first place to hear this music played on harpsichord in period style and would reject the modern arrangements out of hand. Rather, she appeals to a mainstream audience that accepts modernizing Bach and enjoys hearing the full sonorities of a piano. Once past this stylistic hurdle, Dinnerstein offers three chorales that reflect the taste of a bygone age, when the Lisztian idea to dress Bach's counterpoint in pianistic textures dominated. Busoni's thickened version of "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ"; Kempff's robust take on "Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein"; and Hess' substantial bolstering of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" provide opportunities to make the piano reverberate with rich sonorities, but take away the essentially modest and sacred character of Bach's originals. In the "Concerto No. 1 in D minor" and the "Concerto No. 5 in F minor," Dinnerstein is joined by the Kammerorchester Staatskapelle Berlin, and the performances are acceptably polished and accurate, if somewhat lacking in intimacy and individuality. Dinnerstein is at her best without modern adaptations or an orchestra, but by herself. As she demonstrates in the "English Suite No. 3 in G minor," it is enough to play the notes as written, letting her expression and technique take care of themselves and trusting Bach's music to convince and move the listener. Here, her personality and skills are shown to their best advantage. Sony's audio reproduction is first-rate, but there is a somewhat boosted bass in the concertos.
San Francisco Chronicle - Joshua Kosman
Magnificent.... Dinnerstein brings out the luminous, off-kilter splendor of this music in a way that is both fearless and sly.... The effect is like a conversation with someone who sits too close and fixes you with an unblinking stare, while revealing truths you'd never suspected; it's unnerving and mesmerizing all at once.
The Independent - Andy Gill
The stately calm of the 5th Keyboard Concerto's "Largo" has an almost weightless poise, while the English Suite No 3 offers an engrossing journey between styles, from the reflective "Allemande" to the agitated "Courante" and the melancholy "Sarabande".
National Public Radio - Ashalen Sims
What's striking about Dinnerstein is that she plays Bach as if she's never heard it before. From the first ponderous low notes of the chorale arrangement that opens the album, she compels the listener to follow her in a journey of discovery filled with unscheduled detours. Throughout Bach: A Strange Beauty, she often stretches out a particularly rich cadence or luxuriates in the multi-voiced texture of the chorales. She's actively listening to every note she plays, and the result is a wonderfully expressive interpretation.

The stately calm of the 5th Keyboard Concerto's "Largo" has an almost weightless poise, while the English Suite No 3 offers an engrossing journey between styles, from the reflective "Allemande" to the agitated "Courante" and the melancholy "Sarabande".
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/18/2011
  • Label: Sony Classics
  • UPC: 886978174222
  • Catalog Number: 781742
  • Sales rank: 16,367

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Simone Dinnerstein Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Worth Waiting For!

    Simone Dinnerstein's newest recording has been circulating among the cognoscenti for a while now and finally it has been released. It is a complete pleasure. Aptly titled BACH: A STRANGE BEAUTY, the Cd includes Keyboard Concerti Nos. 1 BWV 1052 and No. 5 BWV 1056 which she performs with the Kammerorchester Staatskapelle Berlin, the English Suite No 3 BWV 808, and three choral transcriptions for keyboard alone. Not to be outdone with the display of technical facility she offered in her Goldberg Variations recording, here Dinnerstein is drawn more to the elegant and gently Bach. Her touch is rich and full as is well suited to these works. There are high points, such as the Largo movement from the Concerto No. 5 - as richly romantic as Bach can be played (!), and the choral transcriptions are refreshingly elegant. The entire recoding is very well produced and there is not a disappointing aspect of this project by an artist who commands our respect. Highly recommended! Grady Harp

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2011

    So Beautiful!

    So beautiful it made me weep.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews