Eve’s performance of unearthly beauty

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Eve Egoyan

Music / CIMF, Concert 22 – “Augmented Piano: Solo for Duet”. Eve Egoyan, piano. At Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia, May 12. Reviewed by ROB KENNEDY.

BEFORE this show began, there was a pair of women’s high-heeled black shoes placed centre stage in front of the piano, this mystery was soon to be solved.

Canadian artist Eve Egoyan created a multi-sensory exploration on a Disklavier piano in a performance that fuses music and visual art with performance art.

The pieces on the program were, “Thought and Desire”, composed by Linda Catlin Smith, an American composer based in Canada. “Homonymy” for auto-playing piano, pianist and cinema by Canadian composer/author/animator John Oswald. “David Lynch Études” by Canadian composer Nicole Lizée. “Surface Tension” by creators Eve Egoyan and David Rokeby. “EVƎ” (solo piano for Eve Egoyan) by Michael Snow who is a Canadian artist, and “Duet for Solo Piano” by Eve Egoyan.

In almost darkness, Eve Egoyan walked on to the stage, sat at the piano and began to play. The mysterious tune was as mystifying as the entrance and the stage setting. The music followed a similar pattern for some time until Egoyan began to sing. The words word by Shakespeare, his Sonnet 45.

The mystery of the black shoes was solved as Egoyan placed them on, completing her black and gold outfit and used them to stamp out percussive accompaniment in several pieces. Then with a riding crop in hand, she directed a video which was an imaginative play on what a homonym is.

Soon she was at the piano again, but to prepare it with implements to alter the sound. Egoyan played violently on the piano, in simulation mainly as words flashed across the screen on the wall, which was covered in a large white cloth sheet that also flowed out across the floor. The words were in time with what she was doing on the piano. This theme of music in time with, or programming visuals was used throughout the show.

A selection of scenes from David Lynch movies were used to create a musical montage that seemed to represent some sort of psychotic dream, it was strangely effective.

Egoyan’s skills on the piano are excellent and were demonstrated in several complex, note-filled pieces in the show. The digital manipulations of the video reacting to the music grew more poignant. To see an image of inside a grand piano case dissolve into a well of circular shaped rippling water, guided by the sounds coming from the piano, and then return into the original image spoke loudly on the nature of how Egoyan sees music shaping things.

As an almost final act, the black shoes came off and Egoyan played several pieces that were digitally manipulated by a foot-operated music computer tool. This extended and blended her playing into string-like and singing sounds. Some were beautiful and unearthly, just like the whole show was.

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