Review: Whole Note

Whole Note
June/July 2006

Eve Egoyan

This CD of four compositions by four different international composers receiving their first recordings reminds me that music is about personal taste and even bias, as much as it is a collection of intentional sounds, performed in time.

These works were all composed for and inspired by the brilliant Toronto pianist Eve Egoyan. She has built her significant career over the past twelve years primarily on the difficult foundation of commissioning, performing and recording contemporary music for piano. While this is admittedly not the most popular of repertoires with the general audience, yet once again, she convincingly showcases music by cutting-edge contemporary composers of concert music: Martin Arnold (Canada), the American, James Tenney, Jo Kondo (Japanese), and Englishman Michael Finnissy.
Returning to personal taste in music, mine leans towards the Apollonian (its earmarks – intellectual rigor), while also embracing the more hedonistic qualities of the undeniable shear sensual pleasure derived from pleasing sounds.

To Weave (a meditation), track 2 of this CD, by the American composer, pianist and long time Toronto resident who is professor emeritus of York University’s Music Department, James Tenney, embodies both of those attributes admirably. It’s at once a marvel of contrapuntal and structural clarity, “wave upon wave [of sound] but precisely calibrated to peak at the phi-point of the golden ratio” (from the liner notes by the composer), as well as a meditation “on the wondrous physicality and inescapable spirituality of all our music making”.

Profound and surprising music is this, evoking the best of our western musical traditions.
– Andrew Timar