Brooklyn pianist Simone Dinnerstein and her new recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations have been getting an extraordinary run of press coverage recently: glowing praise everywhere from The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer to the online newsmagazine Slate to the economics blog Marginal Revolution, and frequent comparisons to the legendary, perennially best-selling Goldbergs by the late Glenn Gould.
So it's not surprising that Dinnerstein's disc has gone right to no. 1 on the Billboard classical chart following its first full week in release.
Another set of Goldberg Variations is still on the chart — and by Glenn Gould, no less. Well, it's not exactly by Gould: it's a recording of a re-performance, by a Zenph Studios adaptation of a Yamaha Disklavier, of Gould's 1959 recording of the Bach collection, now at no. 14 in its 14th week on the chart.
Three more new releases made their classical chart debuts this week: "Angela Gheorghiu — Live at La Scala" (no. 9), Evgeny Kissin playing piano concertos by Mozart and Schumann with Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra (no. 17), and "Maria Callas — The One and Only" (no. 24), a two-disc compilation of arias sung by EMI's best-selling classical artist.
Returning to the classical chart are four more titles: "Bach and Beyond" by pianist Gabriela Montero (no. 20), the debut disc by soprano Nicole Cabell (no. 21), Sony Classical's compilation titled "The Essential Joshua Bell" (no. 22), and the Paavo Jšrvi/Cincinnati Symphony recording of the Concertos for Orchestra of Bartůk and Lutoslawski (no. 25).
Following Dinnerstein's Goldbergs at the top of the chart are the aria-filled soundtrack CD to the recently-released film No Reservations (no. 2), the Yo-Yo Ma/Silk Road Ensemble title New Impossibilities (no. 3), Sting's John Dowland collection Songs from the Labyrinth (no. 4) and Ma's Appassionato (up two notches at no. 5). Joshua Bell's Voice of the Violin, now at no. 6, has just completed a full year on the classical chart.
The new arrival on Billboard's classical crossover chart this week, at no. 11, is another of those string-quartet-plays-rock-and-roll discs. But it's not one of the "string quartet tributes" on the Vitamin label that usually populate the 20s on the crossover chart. (The only one of those there this week is the tribute to Three Days Grace, at no. 22.) The new disc, titled Fuzzbox and on Decca Classics, includes covers of well-known songs by numerous rock bands, including The Strokes, Radiohead, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and even good old Led Zeppelin. The performers, a group called the Section Quartet, style themselves as a sort of rock band that plays violins and such.
The crossover top ten, with only one small change this week, is just about exactly as it has been for the past couple of months: Josh Groban's Awake at no. 1 and Andrea Bocelli's Amore in second place, followed by Il Divo's Ancora and Siempre in third and fourth positions, the soundtracks to Pride and Prejudice at no. 5, Bocelli's Under the Desert Sky up a notch at no. 6, the soundtrack to the Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en rose down a notch at no. 7, Bocelli's Amor at no. 8, Juanita Bynum and Jonathan Butler's Gospel Goes Classical at no. 9 and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's collection of Broadway and Hollywood tunes, Showtime!, at no. 10.