Review: Asking – Soundcheck, The Wire 73

The Wire 73

Maria de Alvear
Eve Egoyan, piano

Reviewed by Barry Witherden

Commissioned in 2000 by the performer on this disc, pianist Eve Egoyan, Asking deals with what the composer calls “one of the most intimate situations in which we can find ourselves”. It places us in a state of suplication and vulnerability and de Alvear’s music is sensitive to all the shades of emotion and levels of risk inherent in the process. She allows for many interpretive decisions to be made by the pianist, so that the music is seen as asking questions of the player. There is no faulting the answers Egoyan comes up with in this multilayered performance, which encompasses everything from timid entreaty to relentless demand. De Alvear, who studied with Kagel, insists she is both Spanish and German, not half-Spanish/half-German, but there is nothing here that could be readily pigeonholed as characteristic of both nations or either. This is utterly individual music which, for 53 enthralling minutes, draws you into a personal space of predominantly subtle shapes and resonances.