Eve Egoyan Returnings: The Music of Ann Southam

One of Canada's foremost new music composers, the late Ann Southam, had found a soulmate in pianist Eve Egoyan. But Returnings marks a closure in their long-term personal and artistic relationship, and there's a pervasive feeling of longing in Egoyan's performance of the minimalist title piece. "Returnings I" has a meditative, stately spaciousness ― notes and chords are given an almost harp-like, plucked quality as they are sounded and allowed to resonate and interact in space/time. On the other hand, "Qualities of Consonance" is in places more robust, with fortissimo, active interjections interspersed amongst longer, softer, sparser passages. The effect is suspenseful and intriguing. "Returnings II: A Meditation" is exactly what the title states: it's a meditation on the musical materials of the first piece, distilling its elements, quietly echoing its mood and atmosphere. "In Retrospect" also shares the quiescence of the two "Returnings," with its spare structure and gentle pianism. Artistic pairings like Southam and Egoyan's are precious. (Centrediscs)