Simone Dinnerstein on her Bach obsession

American pianist Simone Dinnerstein’s fascination with the music of Bach is long-standing. Her latest recording, Bach - A Strange Beauty, is her first album for Sony Classical and features a combination of solo piano pieces and concertos.

Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

The album title is a quote from the humanist and philosopher Francis Bacon.
"My husband introduced me to the works of Bacon. Anything that is beautiful has some strangeness in its proportion. It made me think about Bach and his music... he's always deviating slightly from perfection, he's changing patterns or taking a different harmonic route than expected… These are almost purposeful mistakes, misshapen qualities that give the piece of music the depth that it has.”

Does Dinnerstein feel that Bach is playing games with the listener?
"He was someone who really loved tricks, almost like riddles in the music, but things that only the musicians reading the music would know. For example, in the Goldberg Varations there's a canon where you can take the actual physical score of the music and flip it upside down, and it reads exactly as it does the right way up… He was trying to bring something human and unusual into the music - the ground is always shifting underneath you in his music."

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