Julie Amacher, Classical MPR
Simone Dinnerstein A Character of Quiet (Orange Mountain Music)
"I'm so glad that he made me do it. I just I think that if he was a different type of person, I would have just not... I would have given up and he would have said, OK."
When Simone Dinnerstein's producer, Adam Abeshouse, suggested she make a new recording, during a global pandemic, at her home in Brooklyn on her nine-foot Hamburg Steinway, she threw out all kinds of excuses.
"And then I said, well, you know, most importantly, I really I've not been practicing, as I said. And I, I just don't see how i'll be inspired to play. I don't think I'll play well. And he said, 'don't worry. When I arrive and you start, you're going to you're going to find that you have a lot to say and it's all going to come out.' And that's exactly what happened.
I thought this program of Franz Schubert and Philip Glass seemed absolutely perfect. It just completely reflects how how I was feeling then. And so I practiced for about two weeks and then we recorded.
Both nights I played for about five hours without going ...without stopping, you know, just playing. And I entered another kind of a world. And that world, the world of that particular music is fairly dark and very deep.
The Glass etudes have a very meditative feeling about it, about them especially 16.. Number 16, and Number 2.
But the Schubert Sonata in B flat, his final sonata, is is is a sonata that is so much about thinking about life. There's so much in it.
And I think allowing myself to get completely immersed in it in those sessions was a way that I had it...It allowed me to to understand more about how I was feeling about everything that had happened in a musical way. And music has always been like my most natural language, more than words. So when I didn't have music, when I couldn't when I couldn't express something through music, it was as if I didn't quite understand what I was feeling."
There were some words that helped inspire. Some poetry. And it's where the title of the recording comes from. Can you talk about that Wordsworth poem, please?
"I started reading William Wordsworth's 'The Prelude', which is a huge poem that's an autobiographical poem. And one of the lines in it, a part of the line refers to a character of quiet. And when I saw that line, I thought that line completely describes the music that I'm playing and how I'm feeling. And I thought it would be just a perfect title for the album."
You made this recording in your home, over two nights, during a pandemic. What was most memorable for you, during this process?
"My husband and son — having them in the house. They've never been nearby when I've recorded. I mean, I've never had them close like that. Even Daisy, my dog, for her to be nearby, totally well behaved. My family and Adam supported me through this recording and in in my home. And that's just like a priceless thing for me when I think back to it."
You have a couple of projects coming up. Would you mind sharing a bit about those?
"I have some really exciting projects. One project that will definitely happen, concerned or not, is that the composer, Richard Danielpour, has written a huge piece of music as a reaction to the pandemic. It's called 'An American Mosaic,' which was commissioned by the Oregon Bach Festival. And he's written it for me. I'm going to be recording it and live streaming it in December. And I'm currently learning it. It's a huge piece. It's about 50 minutes long. And I think it's really a major, major American work. So that's been really exciting to be learning that and getting to work with Richard."
Simone Dinnerstein, on her latest release and making music during COVID-19.
To hear the rest of my conversation, download the extended podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.