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Simple Lines of Inquiry

The Toronto Star

Eve Egoyan's miraculous one-hour meditation

Reviewed by John Teraud

I can't say enough about the quiet, simple beauty of Canadian composer Ann Southam's new, one-hour piano suite Simple Lines of Enquiry, or about its sparkling interpreter, Toronto pianist Eve Egoyan. Just released on the Centrediscs label, piece and pianist create a profound experience that transcends any and all musical genres. The only thing you have to do is give it a chance. Simple Lines of Enquiry is true to its title. In 12 movements, Southam slowly, deliberately says out single lines of intervals from a 12-tone pattern. There are few chords or clusters to smudge that single line that, on the surface, mocks the 87 keys that are not being struck at the same time. But the intervals created by these lines engage each string's rich palette of harmonics, revealing secret sympathetic and dissonant vibrations that merge in a mesmerizing soundscape. That sounds awfully intellectual-conceptual. But the result is meditation in its truest sense, where, if we allow ourselves the space and freedom, time stands still and we become suspended somewhere outside the three other dimensions, as well. There is nothing here to scare a lover of, literally, any genre of music. And everyone stands to gain an escape from our busy, more-is-more lives.


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