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Something Almost Being Said: Music of Bach and Schubert

4.3 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 31, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Simone Dinnerstein's new album, Something Almost Being Said: Music of Bach and Schubert, combines J.S. Bach s Partitas Nos. 1 and 2, with Schubert's Four Impromptus, Op. 90, and was produced by Grammy Award winning producer, Adam Abeshouse. Dinnerstein says of her new album, "Bach and Schubert, to my ears, share a distinctive quality. Their non-vocal music has a powerful narrative, a vocal element. The effect is that of wordless voices singing textless melodies. Bach and Schubert s melodic lines are so fluent, so expressive, and so minutely inflected that they sound as though they might at any moment burst suddenly into speech." Inspired by lines from Philip Larkin s poem, The Trees, Simone Dinnerstein brings her own unique voice to Bach s first two Partitas and Schubert's Four Impromptus revealing the inherent vocal qualities in these instrumental works.
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Digital Booklet: Something almost being said: Music of Bach and Schubert
Digital Booklet: Something almost being said: Music of Bach and Schubert
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Product Details

  • Performer: Simone Dinnerstein
  • Conductor: Simone Dinnerstein
  • Composer: Bach, Schubert
  • Audio CD (January 31, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: SONY MASTERWORKS
  • ASIN: B006JDD80Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,533 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
There's no getting around this when assessing the work of New Yorker Simone (ci-Moan-uh) Dinnerstein: she divides critical and public opinion as much as any artist practicing today. Any concert of hers is more personal utterance than musical examination of the subjects at hand. With more classical music being recorded and released today than ever before, Dinnerstein has brought classical music to a new generation of listeners who see her work as a beacon through the increasing fog of classical music recordings. Now she brings to her fans two of Johann Sebastian Bach's most revered keyboard works and beloved miniatures from Franz Schubert.

Dinnerstein has many times demonstrated affinity for Bach, whose keyboard Partitas occupy territory similar to the piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven. Comprised of a sequence of French dances, Bach's set (there are six of them that demonstrate varying degrees of emotional and intellectual qualities) are almost never played today in Baroque style. Players like Dinnerstein, who use modern pianos with large sustaining characteristics, ornament freely and use rubato to extreme as she has done in the lovely Sarabande of the Partita No. 1. Dinnerstein is marginally less personal and more mainstream in Franz Schubert's earlier set of impromptus; witness her shimmering brilliance of Schubert's fourth impromptu from the D. 899 set that sounds like many other pianists that have recorded this or both sets of Schubert's Impromptus.

While I was taken by her personalized style in her debut album, I am less enthused and convinced about her way in the two mighty Bach partitas included here.
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I like this disc, although I have my reservations about it. Simone Dinnerstein is an excellent pianist with excellent technique and a wonderful tone which is evident in her playing of both the Bach and Schubert here. It is an imaginative coupling of composers and the choice works very well for me with the D899 Impromptus framed by two of Bach's wonderful Partitas.

My reservations are partly just a matter of personal taste. Dinnerstein adopts quite a Romantic approach to Bach with some free use of rubato and the odd grand gesture which I'm not that keen on in Bach. However, she doesn't overdo it and there is nothing "wrong" or "incorrect" about this style, and you may well enjoy it very much if your taste doesn't coincide with mine. Her approach suits the Schubert Impromptus well and the sound and tone of her playing in all of these beautiful pieces is a delight.

Overall, though, I found just a little something missing here. The artwork features several photos of Simone Dinnerstein gazing soulfully into the distance and perhaps that is what I am hearing: a beautiful sound from a pianist who is looking inward slightly too much and not engaging quite enough with the music itself. Whatever the reason, to me the Partitas don't quite dance in that delightful variety of ways that Angela Hewitt brings to them, and the Impromptus don't have quite the magical depth and inner light which Maria Joao Pires or Mitsuko Uchida find there.

I don't want to sound too critical because this is an enjoyable disc of lovely music, well played by a very talented pianist. It won't replace my other much-loved performances of these works but I am sure it will give a lot of people a lot of pleasure.
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I just received the new Simone Dinnerstein album, "Something Almost Being Said". Thank you Amazon pre-ordering and prime shipping for presumably allowing me to be the first on my block to get it. I listened to it in the car on the way to and from work today and it is gorgeous. There are the Four Schubert Impromptus sandwiched in between 2 Bach Partitas. The Partitas are exquisite - every entering voice is articulated and all the voices are so well defined and phrased. They are superb. Ms Dinnerstein takes a slower tempo in the 1st and 2nd Impromptu, which I am still pondering, but what it does in the 1st Impromptu is give a big emotional punch to the phrase endings - you are on the edge of you seat at each phrase (which makes driving a tad tricky). It is meditational - pensive - quiet and reverential. The album is well named because what Ms. Dinnerstein achieves in all three pieces is an intimate conversation - a tête-a-tête between her, the composer and us, the audience. We are drawn into this conversation as we hear the voices of the fugues drift in and out or Schubert's arching, seemingly endless melodic phrases float over those gentle waves of accompaniment. This is a CD to listen to over and over - you will hear something new each time. I had the honor to hear Ms. Dinnerstein play the Goldberg Variations in Philadelphia a year ago and it leaves you breathless to see such towering intellectual achievement along with such finely tuned sensitivity and expressiveness. Thank you! Oh - and buy the physical CD - the poem and artwork in the notes are a joy.
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Ms. Dinnerstein's playing of the Schubert Op. 90 is great. She delivers thunder when it's needed and yet plays as delicately as a mourning dove almost in the same breath.
Her Bach continues to fascinate me. She plays Bach as uniquely as Glenn Gould did, but in a different direction. I have listened to these Partitas for years and yet her interpretation makes them sound nearly like new pieces, especially the C minor.
Some of the old hardliners might have an issue with the way she markets her CDs with photos of her everywhere either dreaming at the piano or gliding through the forest, but you know what? She's a doll and they can put all the photos of her they want on the disc cover. And if it helps sell more CDs I say good for her.
2 Comments 18 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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