issue 21 :: March 2012

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Review: Maria de Alvear / Eve Egoyan

Asking CD (Mode)

I bought this CD purely on wanting to hear more of pianist Eve Egoyan, whose work on the compilation CD for Musicworks 77 so moved me. “Asking” is a single, fifty-two minute work for solo piano. Beautiful, slow and intense, most of the work is ringing single notes, with an insistent edge, the music a wandering melody that does not seem so much as asking as rehearsing the exact wording of a questions to ask—should I say it like this?, or like this? Or delve into an explanation?—sometimes repeating a single note for so long that one forgets there were earlier notes. It is hard not to compare portions of this with Morton Feldman’s later piano works. Written for her after previous collaborations, Egoyan (sister of the director) purposely modulates the intensity of the score’s episodes, explosive low notes, interesting multi-register interplay. She has some interpretation of the score, but the liner notes don’t detail what kind of choices she has to make. Ponderous and introspection-inducing, “Asking” makes for a sublime evening of listening, always surprising in the answers it gives.
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