mm122: Simone Dinnerstein plays the Goldberg Variations. – By Evan Eisenberg – Slate Magazine

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Did you ever read a novel, a newspaper or magazine article, a blog posting and say: “Wow, I wish I could write like that!”?

I had one of those WIWICWLT! moments the other day, when I encountered this outstanding music review in Slate. And, I don’t usually read music reviews, in Slate, or anywhere else.

Evan Eisenberg absolutely made me want to get out there and buy the music CD described. And believe MUDGE when he tells you that purchasing a classical music CD is probably the least likely act he might have been tempted to commit in these budget constrained times before reading this story.

Move over Glenn Gould, here’s Simone Dinnerstein.

By Evan Eisenberg
Posted Monday, Aug. 27, 2007, at 3:54 PM ET

Goldberg Variations


The year was 1955. Three things happened: Albert Einstein died, and Glenn Gould recorded the Goldberg Variations.

It is difficult to describe the impact of the second event, in part because I was a fetus at the time. (The third event, of course, was my birth.) But I will try. For those of us—beatniks, philistines, fetuses—who thought of classical music as something powdered and periwigged, that slab of vinyl struck with the force of a meteor. The stegosaurs who played Bach as if he were Lawrence Welk sniffed the heady, pomade-purged air and keeled, metaphorically, over. The Cretaceous Age of Music had ended. The Age of Gould had begun.

We hear a lot about meteoric careers, but Gould’s—his concert career—really was. In 1964, at the height and breadth of his fame, he renounced the stage to devote himself to making records. Two years later he set forth the method to his madness in an essay in High Fidelity titled “The Prospects of Recording.” In prose of a puckish fustiness as distinctive as his playing, he made three predictions: One: that recording would supplant live performance. Two: that much of the real action, musically speaking, would take place in the studio. Three: that, as technologies of sound manipulation got better and cheaper, the line between artist and audience would be smudged and maybe even—in a distant, Gouldtopian future—erased.

During the course of the lengthy read (well worth it) there are several illuminating recorded samples (I just love the the linking capabilities of the web! But you know that about me — you haven’t forgotten about the sequitur already, have you?).

Please read and enjoy.

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Simone Dinnerstein plays the Goldberg Variations. – By Evan Eisenberg – Slate Magazine

My current addiction notwithstanding (and, I do mean an addiction — it was on all day at work, and on now as I write this; find out more here and here and even here), I am, have been, and always will be a classical music person (listener — not performer!).

Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler: my desert island fare. And, Glenn Gould was a god.

Everything else is commentary.

Sounds like the topic for a future blog post or 60.

Anyway, open up your mind and listen. Soon as post this I’m heading over to Amazon to buy the reviewed Simone Dinnerstein recording of the Goldberg Variations.

And isn’t Evan Eisenberg one hell of a writer?

Another thing: One feels that Dinnerstein was, from the start, playing for someone—unlike Gould, who played for himself and maybe, if he was in a sociable mood, Bach. Gould was one of the first classical musicians to master the mode of phonography I’ve called “cool”: Rather than reach out to the listener, he lets the listener come to him. Dinnerstein’s performance is anything but cool; it glows with a warmth that I will, with difficulty, restrain myself from calling maternal. Yet it has its own profound inwardness. Dinnerstein sheds some light on this: “When you’re pregnant, you’re aware of having somebody else there, but it’s also very much you. In a way, the most playing for yourself you could possibly do is playing with a baby inside.”


It’s it for now. Thanks,


Note!: the link to used above is for the convenience of faithful reader and represents no commercial relationship whatsoever. Left-Handed Complement should be so fortunate as to ever collect remuneration of any kind for this endeavor. I can link, so I link. It’s technology. It’s cool. Deal with it.

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11 Responses to mm122: Simone Dinnerstein plays the Goldberg Variations. – By Evan Eisenberg – Slate Magazine

  1. ClapSo says:

    I’ve always been partial to Mozart myself, he really did revolutionize music. If the film “Amadeus” is right, he was the first out of control, party boy rock star.

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

  2. […] last post, somehow I left Rachmaninov off (no, I’m not stuttering) of my desert island list. […]

  3. […] post was almost going to be MUDGE’s classical music trifecta (I, II) but this terrific post from Talking Points Memo (highly recommended, and an inexplicably late […]

  4. opit says:

    Rachmaninoff – the court pops composer! This reminds me of the quip : “Classical music is well-aged hit parade.” I’m dull – I actually like Grieg.

  5. mudge says:


    No quarrel at all with Grieg: his piano concerto, some of the theatre music: nothing cold about Scandinavian composers. He’s just not made my desert island listing.

    Thanks for reading,

  6. […] first it was that terrific review of that sublime recording of the Bach Goldberg Variations by Simone […]

  7. […] man writes like I wish I could (WIWICWLT), and makes connections of disparate facts (purportedly a MUDGE specialty) that I’m frankly […]

  8. […] on terroir.” WIWICWLT! These guys at the “Big E” have a sense of humor that we always […]

  9. […] Wow, I Wish I Could Write Like That! And, wow, I wish these self-important presidents would stick to playing with their currency and nationalized oil producers, and leave time alone. […]

  10. […] taken with my own wordsmithing as I am, but I ran into an essay that caused me to have one of those W!IWICWLT! […]

  11. Mao Adkins says:

    Good write-up, I am normal visitor of one’s web site, maintain up the nice operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

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