Simone Dinnerstein Plays in Her Home Studio

The B Minor Prelude, a Cousin to the Bach Prelude in C Major

Simone Dinnerstein plays the Bach Prelude in B Minor (arranged by Alexander Siloti). Full video premiering on 11/12/13.
When the concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein agreed to a video performance and interview with GRAND PIANO PASSION™, I was thrilled. I could not wait for the chance to watch her play in the intimate, private setting of her home studio. Simone, famed for the Goldberg Variations and several other albums featuring Bach, would be available in late July, in the midst of tours for her new album, Night.

I expected the experience to be similar to the time I had sat in the VIP box at a professional basketball game; I had felt privileged and protected from the pressing crowds, and even, I’m a little ashamed to admit, smug. But standing a few feet away from Simone Dinnerstein while she played the Bach Prelude in B Minor, I felt much differently: elated, lightened, grateful. It was a spiritual experience.

While the videography team set up the cameras and hooded lights, I took my place behind the piano bench, only a few feet away from the keyboard. “I’ll just stand here, to be out of the way,” I called out. Of course I did not want to block the cameras, but I also had another motivation: I wanted an up-close view of Simone Dinnerstein’s hands.

A rich and yet sorrowful sound filled the air as she played the Bach Prelude in B Minor from Night. I admired the perfect plane of the backs of her hands as they floated above the keyboard, the left hand skimming down the keyboard to strike notes deep in the bass. Concentrate, I told myself, because surely watching her fingers create the Bach Prelude in B Minor would make me a slightly better pianist through osmosis.

The music that she played is a close cousin to the Bach Prelude in C Major from The Well-Tempered Clavier Book One. Both the B Minor and the C Major Preludes have a progression of broken chords that is deeply satisfying and in some places unexpected. While Simone played the B Minor Prelude, I floated in the lustrous sound, the tension building as the notes arched higher and higher up the keyboard.

A few tears sprung into my eyes, gratefulness at being present in the moment in her studio to hear such an accomplished artist play, but also gratitude that I owned a piano, that I was taking adult piano lessons, that I was learning how to play. When she struck the final notes, I realized I had never heard a pianissimo so soft and glimmering.

On 11/12/13, GRAND PIANO PASSION™ will premiere the full video of Simone Dinnerstein playing the Bach Prelude in B Minor, along with her interview with Nancy M. Williams.

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