Lovers of early morning concerts on Sunday would relish the Steinway International Piano Series at the Royal Welsh College. With American pianist Simone Dinnerstein playing the entire Goldberg Variations by J. S. Bach, I found little excuse to make my way to attend.
The genius of Bach is infused in this massive keyboard work. The opening aria (a stunning case for a pure melody of sincerity), leading to thirty sensational variations has left a huge mark on music. The whole piece has an easy listenability, refined in its poised cleverness. I could go on about how it makes great music for study and reading. The canons (or rounds) within are also stimulating in their cyclic elegance, treasures for the ears and soul.
Few composers from this era can remain so fresh and rambunctious today like that of Bach. His cheeky use of tricks in his scores are also note worthy, with some sections of the music being flipped upside down and played accordingly. Though fairly testing in one live sitting, those who choose to stay are treated to the breathtaking repeat of the original aria, heard once agin after it’s kaleidoscopic journey on the piano.
Having heard Angela Hewitt play the same piece last year, it would be reductive to compare this highly renowned musician to Dinnerstein, who’s career is on the rise. Dinnerstein appeared to pull the odd anguished face, coming from her intense delivery. She makes it all look so easy, a breeze to watch her play with such passion. Perhaps a little more vigour right make for a compelling performance, though anyone who can play this fully in my eyes has my respect. I can certainly sense a stellar career in the making.
Next concert in the Steinway International Piano Series is Barry Douglas playing Rachmaninov & Tchaikovsky on 24th November 2019 at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.
Image: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco