Last night James and I had the privilege of experiencing the piano genius of new star Simone Dinnerstein, a 34-year-old pianist who lives in Brooklyn. Three magical elements marked the evening. One, of course, was Dinnerstein's playing. The second was the thing played: Bach's Goldberg Variations. James and I adore this piece and chose it as the music accompanying our wedding ceremony. Ms. Dinnerstein's love for the music is exceptionally personal as well as professional; she insisted that her doctor let her listen to it while she gave birth to her son during an emergency C section. She "thinks he was born during Variation 20."
Like most, I know Glenn Gould's iconic interpretation. Now there is another iconic moment in the piece's history. I'm not sophisticated about music, so all I can say is that her playing rocked. It was awesome. Certain things truly distinguish her mastery. Her rhythm and pacing are beyond reproach, in addition to being so unique and artistic. The way she trills and makes the piano sing is remarkable. Each variation and its repeat was so interesting, modulated, and fresh. Nothing by rote. Each note felt new.
The final element of the evening that will sear it in my memory was the setting in which we heard the Variations, the perfect setting, if you ask me: the sitting room in the Buckleys' maisonette on Park Avenue.
Our friend Larry Perelman, a pianist himself, organized the evening for Mr. Buckley. To listen to Bach in a plush room with red velvet sofas and silk tassels, reclining on a stuffed chair, intoxicated me. After she played, Ms. Dinnerstein was told by Bill Buckley that her playing represented one of the most exciting performances he had ever seen. He has lived quite a life, and that was an incredible compliment. She must be thrilled. Perhaps as much as we were listening to her!