Simone Dinnerstein

Winter Was Hard

Look­ing up from the end­less chill and gloom of this past win­ter, I see that it’s been four weeks since I last posted here. Mea culpa. I had been using weekly playlists as a short­hand way of pro­duc­ing implicit reviews, but even those fell by the way­side under an unex­pected rush of writ­ing assign­ments and adjusting(…)

Multimedia Miscellany

Things to hear, see and antic­i­pate: Vijay Iyer has big plans on ECM: Simone Din­ner­stein is hold­ing a Google Hang­out on Feb­ru­ary 12, 1–2 p.m. EST. Live from the Greene Space, you can watch it here, join the Q&A here, and tweet with hash­tags #Bach­In­ven­tions and #Google­Hang­out. That same evening, there is free new music at(…)

Winter Music

In a Jan­u­ary with­out snow, there’s not much excuse not to get out of the house. And after what amounted to a long, lan­guid pause from Christ­mas through the first week of the new year, there are enough entic­ing events to plan for that no one, myself included, will be able to make it to(…)

2011 Year’s Best Classical

Because it was a good year, another Baker’s Dozen …

Playing Bach

And if they, and any­one, are intel­li­gent, then how can we com­pre­hend Bach? As the title of an excel­lent book about him goes, he was the learned musi­cian. One need know noth­ing of his bio­graph­i­cal details to hear this in his music. His mas­tery of the com­plex and tech­ni­cally for­mi­da­ble com­po­si­tional struc­ture of fugue is an obvi­ous intel­lec­tual achieve­ment, cel­e­brated in obvi­ously intel­lec­tual ways that break down the music into some sort of math­e­mat­i­cal puz­zle. While that’s a valid way to appre­ci­ate it, I find the pro­nounce­ments that result about music being like math to be too easy, too dis­mis­sive of what music actu­ally is, too quick to don the man­tle of learn­ing. Music is not math­e­mat­ics, actu­ally, music is physics. Math­e­mat­ics is the lan­guage of physics, the way it is expressed from one per­son to another, and while that lan­guage can be used for music as well, it’s util­ity is limited.

Number One With A Bullet

It’s not often I get to review a num­ber one record, much less two. In fact, it’s never. And, con­sid­er­ing my taste, it will prob­a­bly never hap­pen again. But as I write this, the two record­ings in ques­tion are num­ber one: Simone Dinnerstein’s Bach: A Strange Beauty , holds that place on the Bill­board Clas­si­cal chart,(…)

Bigger Than Jesus

He wasn’t Jesus, but in some ways he’s just as impor­tant. In music, there is Before Bach and After Bach, a period of time that bifur­cates two com­pletely dif­fer­ent ways of imag­in­ing musi­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties. All the pagan, Judaic and Pla­tonic ideas and val­ues that are the foun­da­tions of Chris­tian­ity needed Jesus to syn­the­size into something(…)

From The Comfort of Your Own Home

Since out­side of sci­ence, bad ideas never die, they just gain an increas­ingly loud and igno­rant con­stituency (see: Sup­ply Side Eco­nom­ics), I know I’m never going to stop seeing/hearing how new media is going to get rid of the book, the CD, etc. Phys­i­cal media will always be with us, and so will tele­vi­sion, and(…)