8 years ago

Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015

Vol 21 No 2 is now available for your viewing pleasure, and it's a bumper crop, right at the harvest moon. First ever Canadian opera on the Four Seasons Centre main stage gets double coverage with Wende Bartley interviewing Pyramus and Thisbe composer Barbara Monk Feldman and Chris Hoile connecting with director Christopher Alden; Paul Ennis digs into the musical mind of pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, and pianist Eve Egoyan is "On the Record" in conversation with publisher David Perlman ahead of the Oct release concert for her tenth recording. And at the heart of it all the 16th edition of our annual BLUE PAGES directory of presenters profile the season now well and truly under way.

ERIN RILEY On the Record

ERIN RILEY On the Record A Ground From Which A Lot Springs Forth DAVID PERLMAN As things turn out, Eve Egoyan’s latest recording, Thought and Desire (Earwitness Editions EE2015,, is reviewed elsewhere in this issue, so I will dwell less on the specifics of it in this story than I otherwise might. But with post-production on the disc, minimal as it was, only recently wrapped when Egoyan and I chatted last May, it was very much in mind, so perhaps unavoidably, our conversation started there. “It’s interesting when you hear a disc in its entirety how satisfying that is, because before then it’s only imagined. It’s a very important disc for me. Beyond that it’s by one composer [Linda Catlin Smith] who is a woman, which is important to me, it’s just gorgeous. And it was recorded at the Banff Centre which is my first time recording there and it was an exquisite experience ... between the location and the pianos and the people we were working with ... just the focus of time there. So the clarity, the fluidity of the experience – everything just fell into place and I think you can hear that ease in the sound of the recording because we were all very happy there.” The fact that Catlin Smith was there for the whole session was pivotal. “We received a Canada Council grant and decided that it was actually quite cost effective to go there and be there and do it very quickly,” Egoyan says, “because they offered everything. Also because of the kind of music that it is. We decided from the start that it wouldn’t be heavily edited, that it needn’t be, so, you know, it’s full takes with the occasional insert. We actually walked away from four or five days basically with a complete master. So we recorded it and edited it within the time we were there, which was so wonderful; because often, you know, with things you have recorded you sit with them for months.” Egoyan’s musical relationship with Catlin Smith goes back a long way. “Actually my very first disc and my very first commission was a work by Linda. We have had this relationship working together for a very long time and we’ve also released a disc of a work by her for cello and piano, Ballade. I know her; I love how she writes for the piano; and I wanted to document, as a disc, her piano music.” Egoyan’s pleasure at the two Steinways available for the project at Banff is palpable. “I was using their more recent Steinway, which was lovely for the quality of sound for Linda’s music. I’ve actually been very lucky with pianos recently. I’ve just come back from a tour where I have had two Faziolis and two Steinways.” An embarrassment of riches? I offer. “Totally,” she replies. “In Regina it was the best Fazioli ever. It was really lovely. Now, with tours, I’m treated very well, I even get the better pianos.” It wan’t always that way for a practitioner of new music on tour. “It used to be that when people knew I was playing new music I was not given the better piano, because the assumption was that I would be abusing the piano, going inside the piano and detuning it.” Thought and Desire involves Egoyan’s own Earwitness label, as many of her ten solo recordings have done. But this one is not a completely solo venture. “This one actually is a mixture,” she says. “It’s a double release with a European label [World Edition (Germany)]. I’ve done this before and this seems to be the best way. I mean, for me to be actually on a label means....” She pauses for the right words. “Well, it’s almost like labels don’t have a lot of money to put towards the release of your disc, so it’s as though they take on a ton, and then they benefit if a disc does well. And I am not sure where the artist benefits, if the disc is not reviewed, or whatever. At this point in my career I don’t feel as though I need to be part of ... I don’t – I never did actually – understand the function of a label unless they go behind a disc, and very few labels will actually go behind a contemporary disc. For them it’s like the curator of an art gallery who takes on a ton of artists and is ok if, you know, they sell one show a lot. So that’s how I see it.” This is not sour grapes. Egoyan knows whereof she speaks. “I was on CBC Records; I was on Mode Records; I was on Artifact (my first label). And Centrediscs for three, the Ann Southam discs. Of course, if you do go with a label there are expenses that the artist doesn’t have to assume; [but] if sales go well, their cut is huge. So, for example, if this disc does get a great review then I would benefit. And you know, as an independent artist who makes a living through bits and pieces, that’s important to me; and so rather than getting 50 percent ... I’ll have distribution through a distributor, options for retail sales, as opposed 8 | Oct 1 - Nov 7, 2015

GREAT CHAMBER MUSIC... DOWNTOWN Eve Egoyan to digital and show sales.” It’s like a small business, she concludes. “I think contemporary music is, for most, a small business.” Fifty people in 100 towns, not 5,000 in one arena, I say. “It’s a poetic world,” she says. “A world of poetry, and I don’t belittle it. It’s very important, and how it resonates with other art forms. My dialogue with other artists and art forms through what I produce is very important to me. It’s a ground from which a lot springs forth. It really feeds other artists, so if you take away the experimental, the explorative ...” The thought tails off into silence. Egoyan’s connection to The WholeNote goes back to the early days of this publication and I remind her that back then she was carrying more works in the standard symphonic repertoire in her portfolio. I ask if she still does. “Not really,” she replies. “Although I probably should. I realize that I went from mixed recitals to only contemporary, to right now, what you are seeing on this disc, one composer. But you know my career has been very very supported through certain levels of Councils, Toronto Arts, Ontario, Canada, which support artists in exploration and in generating and supporting new Canadian works. So I have been very much a product, a happy product, of bringing new continues on page 58 BENJAMIN GROSVENOR Tues. Oct. 13 at 8:00 pm CUARTETO CASALS Thurs. Oct. 22 at 8:00 pm Order online at 416-366-7723 Canadian Heritage Patrimoine canadien Oct 1 - Nov 7, 2015 | 9

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