CHRISTINA PETROWSKA QUILICO LAUNCHES NEW COLLECTION
OF ANN SOUTHAM’S GLASS HOUSES, ON CENTREDISCS LABEL
Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico completes her recordings of the Glass Houses cycle by the late Ann Southam with the launch of her new Centrediscs CD, Glass Houses Volume 2, Tuesday, April 22, 5:30 p.m. at the Canadian Music Centre, 20 St. Joseph Street, Toronto.
The event, featuring a performance followed by a reception, is open to the public, with free admission. However, attendees are asked to register in advance, by calling 416-961-6601 ext. 201, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.musiccentre.ca. More information is available from these sources. Doors open at 5 p.m., with a short performance at 5:30 p.m., followed by the reception.
Glass Houses Volume 2 (CMCCD 20114) features six of Southam’s Glass Houses, written in 1981, and then revised for Petrowska Quilico in 2009. (1981 was the year that Petrowska Quilico began performing Southam’s music, and began a friendship and collaboration that continued till Southam’s death in 2010.)
The pianist describes the pieces as “fiendishly difficult etudes,” comparing the cycle of entirely fast pieces to the lightning-speed fingering of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes and the complexity of Bach’s counterpoint. As there are “no indications of dynamics, phrasing, fingering, pedaling, or other directions in the score,” it was up to Petrowska Quilico to choose how to interpret the work.
As she describes it, “Fingers become whirling dervishes, entering a mystical and ecstatic trance through suddenly shifting patterns and moods. The dizzying tempi, speed and control required from the performer make them extremely demanding and require virtuosic pianistic skills. Technically, the two hands must be able to play completely independently because the pieces are based on a mathematically precise order. But the interpreter must also have an intuitive grasp of the phrasing and flow of the music as well as the technical control of rhythmic articulation.”
Petrowska Quilico’s 2011 CD, the JUNO nominated Glass Houses Revisited(Centrediscs CMCCD 16511), featured nine pieces, edited and revised by the pianist with the composer’s whole-hearted approval. It earned high praise internationally and has become one of Centrediscs’ all-time top sellers. John Terauds, then of the Toronto Star, gave it four stars, writing, “This is nothing short of miraculous. Toronto pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico elevates to poetry the complex musical loops created by Ann Southam. …That Petrowska Quilico can perform these nine pieces is an achievement in itself; that it makes for mesmerizing listening is the magic of art.”
Glass Houses Volume 2 represents Petrowska Quilico’s fourth recording and sixth solo disc of Southam’s piano music for Centrediscs. Besides Glass Houses Revisited, the other two titles are the two-CD cycles Rivers(Canadian Composers Portraits: Ann Southam, 2005) and the two-CD Pond Life (2009). She has also included works by Southam on four general compilation CDs.
Petrowska Quilico recently returned from a Maritime tour with Toronto Dance Theatre, performing the music of Ann Southam live in Rivers, the much-heralded dance work by Christopher House, which premiered in Toronto in 2012.
Labels: Ann Southam, Christina Petrowska Quilico, Glass Houses