Simone Dinnerstein

Is her Goldberg Variations as good as The New York Times (and other reviews) claims?  In a word, yes.

No, it doesn’t displace Gould for me, but it comes closer than I thought any recording ever would.  I’m a Gould-obsessive who resold his Murray Perahia recording of the Goldbergs in disgust and never cottoned to the Goldbergs on harpischord (Egarr and Hantai being truly splendid, however).  Schepkin, Hewitt, Tipo, and Peter Serkin were fine, Pi-hsien Chen was surprisingly good, Schiff wasn’t so hot, and then there was Gould, Gould, Gould.  After Gould, I was just as happy to hear the transcribed version for guitar.

Now there is another.

Comments

what do you think of rosalyn tureck?

Tyler,

Do you ever make comments about works of art that aren't just some sort of ranking or thumbs up - thumbs down evaluation? You're a smart guy and you can absorb cultural works extremely fast, but most of your blog comments don't offer much at all in the way of analysis of why you like something.

To cite an astonishing example of analytical criticism on a blog, here's Michael Blowhard on "300":

http://www.2blowhards.com/archives/2007/03/300_2.html

Sorry, I don't see it. Dinnerstein's variation 5 is a disaster. Other variations are too Romantic. She has a very nice touch and I can see why it might remind one of Gould's unique and irreproducible bouncing Baroque style, but I don't think the work succeeds as a whole. If I could combine the two, I'd mix Gould's later Goldberg recording with Pinnock's harpsichord version. The harpischord is brutal on many of the variations, but Pinnock's playing is quite perfect on some of them. His variation 1 is my favorite.

Tyler,

Which Gould version do you prefer, the early version, or the later one?

Paul and Steve: I don't think asking deeper questions will be profitable. Tyler is on record as saying he skims books and reads only their beginnings in most cases. He is also on record as being interested in deception (to wit, his recent experiment about the secret blog). Most of his lists of favorites could have come from a Top Ten list published by any existing critic. What I'm saying is, he probably knows as much about Gould and the Goldberg Variations as anyone else would learn by reading the New York Times. Also never forget that the name of this blog is Marginal Revolution. Tyler only needs to commit the tiniest fraction of time and effort to extract the majority of influence and intellectual power. He is leveraging our tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt, by saying superficial things and forcing us to assume there's an iceberg beneath the tip. He has shown time and again a very deep knowledge of economics, and on economic subjects I would trust him almost implicitly. But on cultural matters I think he's playing the odds and making you blink. I apologize if this comment seems harsh, but my diplomatic neurons have not yet begun this morning to fire.

De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum.

Dear Henrik Mintis:

Thanks. That explains a lot. It seems kind of adolescent to try to impose your tastes on other people rather than to explain why you like one thing more than another.

I have a bit of an obsession with the Goldbergs. I've been working on playing them for while (even though I am not a particularly good pianist), and am yet constantly surprised by them.

As it happens, I love the Schiff recording. The Aria grabs you, and the first variation really grabs you--the sharpness of the playing and the subtle differences when he does the repeats are breathtaking to me.

I will give Dinnerstein some more chances, but it is not working for me.

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Refueling!Refueling!Refueling!

I don't think there's a single Brandenburg set out thre with the "best" version of every variation. For example I don't like its variation number 1, but Gould 2 contains in my opinion the definitive versions of many of the others.

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