Opus Magazine, Fall 1999
The Things In Between
by Elissa Poole
Rating: Performance: *****, Sound: *****.
With grace and intensity in equal measure, Canadian pianist Eve Egoyan seems incapable of an unmellifluous gesture. Her first CD is a collection of recent compositions for solo piano, many written especially for her. And if there’s a thread that runs through this recording, it is the affection which the composers and the performer obviously have for the piano—for its sonority, versatility and history.
More than a few of the selections make references to the instrument’s Golden Age as it were, to the rhapsodic, erotic, nostalgic world of 19th-century piano repertoire, but they also explore ideas of fantasy, memory and forgetting. Michael Finnissy, in ‘Strauss-Walzer’, muses on the waltz in meteor showers of notes that Egoyan negotiates with featherlight but sensual ease. Michael Longton’s ‘Piano Diary’ pins down the thistledown of whimsy in a tight formal structure that remains as open ended as imagination itself, while the Alvin Curran’s ‘For Cornelius’, a bittersweet tribute to British composer Cornelius Cardew, evolves into a sonorous curtain of pattern music that resonates like a choir of angels.
The more experimental works—Torontonian Linda C. Smith’s elusive ‘Nocturne’, where an alien pitch is needled into consanguinity with the composer’s prismatic harmonies, and Stephen Parkinson’s insect-like explorations inside the piano in ‘Rainbow Valley’—show Egoyan to be patiently, amorously solicitous of the tiniest minutiae of expression.