Written by Pamela Margles
Ann Southam 5
Centrediscs CMCCD 19113
There are many reasons to get excited about this recording of late works by maverick Canadian composer Ann Southam. For one thing, no one knew these works existed until they turned up in Southam's Toronto home after her death in 2010. For another, this is a gorgeous recording.
What struck me the first time I listened – and after many listenings I'm still not ready to put this disc away – was that although these works are strikingly austere, they throb with vitality. Like the water-sculpted fallen trees on the booklet cover, they enchant by stealth, as though they are emerging from another world.
Southam wrote these works with Toronto pianist Eve Egoyan in mind, like the works on Egoyan's two previous Southam recordings. Egoyan is able to bring special insights from those close collaborations with Southam to her exquisite handling of the lilting, halting and shifting rhythmic patterns which connect these works to each other, and to previous works called Returnings (two of these share the name Returnings, while the rest were left untitled).
The booklet throws light on Southam's personal sound-world, especially by reproducing pages from her manuscripts. The sound is clear and spacious, allowing the pauses to resonate. But this disc deserves a more meaningful title, especially since it makes such an important addition to the already substantial evidence that Southam is not just one of our finest composers – hers is a significant voice in contemporary music.
Concert Note: Eve Egoyan plays a recital for Music Toronto on November 26 in the Jane Mallett Theatre at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.
"5" : works by Ann Southam
Eve Egoyan, Piano
Works by Ann Southam
Centrediscs CD-CMCCD 19113
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