Tiny Desk

Simone Dinnerstein

Simone Dinnerstein: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/317015727/317018690" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Almost any pianist, from a budding beginner to a pro like Simone Dinnerstein, will tell you that one of the basic techniques of keyboard playing is also the toughest to master: making your hands to do separate things simultaneously.

The great Johann Sebastian Bach knew this to be true. That's the primary reason he composed his Two-Part Inventions. On one hand (pardon the metaphor) they are rigorous exercises he wrote in the 1720s for the musical education of his children and students. On the other hand, as Dinnerstein told the audience at this Tiny Desk Concert, they are "an endless well of musical knowledge and imagination." Some of the Inventions zing with the speed of a sewing machine. Others dance and some unfold like a gentle aria.

Dinnerstein learned a number of Bach's Two-Part Inventions as a youngster. Later she used them to teach her own students how to divide their brains. And now, as an adult musician with a major career, she has returned to these deceptively simple pieces, finding their complexity especially satisfying.

She also likes the way the inventions force the player to make the piano sing. That's not easy when you consider the piano is actually a percussion instrument of wires and hammers concealed inside a box. Bach himself noted that they are good not only for playing "neatly in two parts" but also "to achieve a cantabile style of playing." That's musical jargon for playing the music in a singable style. And oh how poetically Ms. Dinnerstein makes our Tiny Desk piano sing.

Set List

  • J.S. Bach: Inventions Nos. 1, 6, 8
  • J.S. Bach: Inventions Nos. 9, 10
  • J.S. Bach: Inventions Nos. 12, 13, 14

Credits

Producers: Denise DeBelius, Tom Huizenga; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Olivia Merrion; Production Assistant: Faith Masi; photo by Jim Tuttle/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Julia Jacklin performs a Tiny Desk Concert on May 1, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Julia Jacklin

A restrained, whisper-soft Tiny Desk concert from Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin with songs taken from her debut album Don't Let The Kids Win.

Troker performs at Tiny Desk Concert on April 5, 2017 (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero /NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero /NPR

Tiny Desk

Troker

Mexico may not be known for its jazz, but the young lions of Troker are a promising hope to make the country and its capital city a destination.

Tim Darcy performs at Tiny Desk Concert on April 21, 2017 (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Tim Darcy

Tim Darcy of Montreal band Ought brings his mysterious solo work, from the album Saturday Night, to the Tiny Desk. The record he says, was his chance to "get back to my roots, in my own voice."

Danilo Brito performs a Tiny Desk concert on April 10, 2017. (Ariel Zambelich/NPR) Ariel Zambelich/NPE hide caption

toggle caption Ariel Zambelich/NPE

Tiny Desk

Danilo Brito

Danilo Brito and his band brought their dextrous expression of choro music to the Tiny Desk, a long-established musical style that has its roots in the streets and backyards of Brito's native Brazil.

Aimee Mann performs at Tiny Desk Concert on Apr. 20, 2017 (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero /NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero /NPR

Tiny Desk

Aimee Mann

"This song is called 'You Never Loved Me' — it's another cheery, optimistic number," says Aimee Mann, introducing the second of four songs in this Tiny Desk Concert.

Peter Silberman performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Apr. 7, 2017. (Emily Bogle/NPR) Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

Tiny Desk

Peter Silberman

A strange condition hushed the life of Peter Silberman, resulting in what may be the quietest Tiny Desk Concert ever.

Antonio Lizana performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 25, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Antonio Lizana

The traditions of flamenco and jazz are disparate, but in the hands of a few Spanish jazz musicians, these two worlds commingle and find common ground.

Chicano Batman performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Mar., 30, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Chicano Batman

Chicano Batman comes with a sound that perfectly captures dark lounges, quinceñera dances, car shows and backyard parties.

Ljova & Kontraband perform at Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 13th 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Ljova And The Kontraband

Composer, arranger and viola player Ljova lead his Kontraband to the Tiny Desk for an eclectic swirl of Western classical, jazz, tango and Eastern European and Balkan folk music.

Back To Top