May 1 – June 7, 2005

Rudolf Komorous – Wu
Eve Egoyan
Candareen Records CR9092

The collaboration of Rudolph Komorous and Eve Egoyan was fortunate in last year’s Strange Sphere (on Artifact records). Now that collaboration has paid yet another dividend to us listeners. Amazingly, Wu is just the pianist alone in a room, playing this vast work. As with so much of Komorous’ output, the stark simplicity forces us to listen ever more closely.

For a full hour, the slow-moving melodic line expands and folds in upon itself and expands again. Endless variation in that manner is completely unprecedented. At times, I am reminded of Sorabaji’s Opus Clavicembalisticum, but that does Komorous a disservice; Wu is a masterwork in its own right. The melody briefly gives way for an actual chord, finally, about 20 minutes from the start. The effect is startling in the context of the piece.

The composer tells of the performance requirements, outlining the 31 segments of the work in a brief programme note.

Egoyan employs what can only be termed Olympian restraint; her celebrated technique is tightly controlled throughout. The Philip T. Young Recital Hall at the University of Victoria contributes little in the way of reverberation, matched by the dry sound of the Yamaha C-9 piano. A project like this must cause acute anxiety to a recording producer, in that spirit I especially applaud Christopher Butterfield. The microphones, and even the preamplifier, are credited in the notes also. A spectacular CD.