Simple Lines of Enquiry
Ann Southam has been composing for the piano all her life. The piano is her medium, her oil paint. For her to create an hour-long work for solo piano is her engagement with a larger canvas. And after all of her piano pieces, this work has the feeling of a new beginning – a clean slate – as though she is discovering the piano all over again. She is partnered in this discovery with pianist Eve Egoyan, who hears this music profoundly. Simple Lines of Enquiry is dedicated to her.
The title notwithstanding, there is nothing simple about Ann’s music. While on the surface there may be simplicity to it, this simplicity belies her depth of engagement, her very serious and rigorous practice. Ann has often worked with the device of a twelve-tone row (or as she says, “a twelve-interval row”), and this has allowed her the freedom to explore her relation to harmony and register, while keeping a tight rein on structural relations. The lines of music unspool in one way, and then another, and it’s almost like we can hear her following and observing it – a scientist watching the behavior of an unknown organism.
Ann has a very clear and personal musicality – a thumbprint – that is hers, and hers alone. She is modest, almost maddeningly so, about her accomplishments, but her work is beautiful and strong at the same time. There is a clear-eyed, assured attitude of doing what one must – a sense of deep and persistent investigation of material – that lies under her work; bones of iron wrapped in a skin of silk.
It’s worth noting that in all of her years as a composer, she has not spent much of her talent on the grand forms (there are few orchestral works, no operas). This, then – this hour-long solo piano work – comes to us as a major work, a place where she allows herself to take up more space. This piece may be, for her, simply a mode of enquiry, but these questions, these probings, take us deeper into the musical worlds of Ann Southam, Eve Egoyan and the piano.
- Linda Catlin Smith
released November 28, 2015
Executive Producer / Réalisatrice éxecutif : Eve Egoyan
Studio Producer / Réalisateur atelier : David Jaeger
Recording Engineer / Preneur de son : David Quinney (asst. Chris Jackson)
Digital Editing & Mastering / Montage numérique et préparation de la bande maîtresse : Clive Allen Recorded at / Enregistré à : Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, December 9-10 decembre, 2007 Canadian Music Centre / Centre de musique canadienne : Elisabeth Bihl, Executive Director / Directrice générale
Centrediscs / Centredisques : Richard Truhlar, Producer / Réalisateur
Cover by / Couverture par : Lisa Kiss Design, Toronto
Album Design / Conception de la pochette : Mark Hand
Programme Notes / Notes d’explication : Linda C. Smith
Programme Notes Editor / Éditeur des notes d’explication : Lauren Pratt
Translation / Traduction : Véronique Robert
Poem / Poésie : David Wagoner, from/de Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems. © 1999 David Wagoner. Used with permission of the poet and the University of Illinois Press.
Eve would like to specially thank Daniel Pellerin, Matt Chan, Richard Spence-Thomas, and Teresa Morrow for making this a much better disc. / Eve aimerait remercier spécialement Daniel Pellerin, Mat Chan, Richard Spence-Thomas et Teresa Morrow qui ont beaucoup rehaussé la qualité de ce disque.
World première recording / Création mondiale.
This Centrediscs recording was made possible through the financial assistance of the Canada Music Fund and the Music Section of the Canada Council for the Arts. / Cette enregistrement Centredisques a bénéficié de l’appui financier du Fonds de la musique du Canada et du Service de la musique du Conseil des Arts du Canada.
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