Review: Sound Advice

Artist: Suzor-Cote, Aurele de Foy (Canadian 1869 - 1937) Title: Stream in Winter Description: Oil on Canvas 60.6 X 73.3 cm Credit: Art Gallery of Ontario: Gift of Moffat Dunlap from the Estate of his mother, Mrs. R.A. Dunlap, 1947. Photo: Carlo Catenazzi, AGO

The Canadian pianist EVE EGOYAN has recorded some of the piano music by ERIK SATIE. It’s on a recent CD from CBC Records called HIDDEN CORNERS.
For about twenty years, the principal benchmark, or yardstick for the SATIE piano music has been the recordings made by ALDO CICCOLINI – the Italian-born, naturalized French pianist. In the 1980s, CICCOLINI recorded the complete piano music by SATIE for EMI, bringing the name and music of SATIE to a larger audience. And ever since, his name and SATIE’s have almost become synonymous. Other pianists recorded SATIE, but the CICCOLINI recordings always came out on top. They seemed to capture that wonderful, whimsical and satirical quality of SATIE better than anyone else. Or until now. Canadian pianist EVE EGOYAN’s new CD gives CICCOLINI’s reputation, stature and legacy a good run for the money.

This recent all-SATIE disc from CBC Records is first class. I should say, right away, that the more popular SATIE pieces like the GYMNOPEDIES and GNOSSIENNES are not included. Hopefully they’ll be featured on a sequel disc in the near future. This one, the first, presents a more direct and focused view of SATIE – one that I found refreshing and original. Missing are the usual trappings of SATIE as a kind of dreamy, weird, pseudo- Impressionist, played with the sustain pedal stuck down. Clarity is always front and centre here. And EVE EGOYAN uses a huge range of tone colours, shades and effects, with a marvelous sense of musical line and shape. It’s like listening to SATIE with new ears. Refreshing, innovative, creative and original. Highly recommended – the full 5 stars.

—Rick Phillips , Sound Advice, CBC Radio