LaScena Worlds Apart Album Review

Christina Petrowska Quilico: Worlds Apart (Centrediscs)

MyScena

Worlds Apart
Christina Petrowska Quilico
Centrediscs, 2017. CMCCD 23717, 2 CD. 88 min 13 s.

 

Christina Petrowska Quilico dropped a new album today – a cross-section of Canadian piano repertoire – that features a wide variety of post-modern compositional techniques. In this two-CD set, the first disc is entitled Classics with a Twist – a way to dip your big toe in the pool before jumping in headfirst in the second. With overt references to the titans of Romantic piano repertoire – Schumann, Brahms, and Chopin – Rea, Koprowski, and Gellman dish up the familiar in surprising ways. The second CD features the namesake of the collection, Worlds Apart by Diana McIntosh, as well as “edgier” and darker works by David Jaeger, Michel-Georges Brégent, Patrick Cardy,Diana McIntosh, and Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux.

John Rea’s Las Meninas – named after a Velázquez painting that depicts the aritst in the act of capturing the likeness of Philip IV and his wife, Mariana of Austria who are only seen reflected in a mirror – is a series of 21 variations in 13 movements on Schumann’s “Scenes from Childhood.” Each a slight view into a different perspective of composers past and present, the variations achieve a lot with very little. The second homage in the set is to fellow Canadian composer Alexina Louie directly quotes Debussy’s “Pagodes.” An allusion to her Chinese heritage, perhaps? Though, I have to admit that’s when I gave up the game – aside from the obvious and often literal references, I don’t have nearly an encyclopedic enough knowledge of piano repertoire to trace the origin of every thread found in Rea’s rich tapestry. Petrowska Quilico has a wonderful touch in these miniatures, an intrinsic understanding of voicing that lends itself well to creating each atmosphere with due expediency.

Published around the same time, Peter Paul Koprowski’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Brahms was premiered by Petrowska Quilico at the Winnipeg New Music Festival back when she was known only by one name. The Brahms theme, his Lullaby, is well-hidden in the weeds of elaborate neo-Romantic Chopinesque figurations, handily executed by Petrowska Quilico without becoming too overwrought. Written for Angela Hewitt, Steven Gellman’s Fantasia on a Theme by Schumann has a French air to it like the previous two works, but has much more in common with the overtly pianistic Rhapsody than Rea’s take on Schumann. It’s also the darkest of the three, with tremolo bass that leads well into the second disc.

David Jaeger’s Quivi Sospiri for piano and synth, composed in the ‘70s but revised in 2014, is a dark and otherworldly depiction of Canto 3 of Dante’s Inferno, in which there is no light but only sound. Geste by Petrowska Quilico’s late first husband, Michel-Georges Brégent, is an aleatoric work with graphic notation and mobiles reminiscent of Alexander Calder that resists fixity with broad dramatic gestures. Cardy’s The Masks of Astarte draws on the myth of the ancient Middle Eastern goddess of fertility, who some believe was the prototypical Virgin Mary. The masks here are fleeting glimpses of truth, musical lines that point to something larger but which turn away at the last moment and become something else entirely.

Diana McIntosh’s Worlds Apart also evokes the celestial with water-droplets of colour that gain a compelling rhythmic vitality before gradually receding into the same ether from which it emerged, barring the abrupt perfect fifth ending devoid of a tonal centre. The final piece, Assemblages by Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux is taken from a 1972 archival recording of Petrowska Quilico at a SMCQ concert. With indeterminate pitch and rhythmic elements, it is in much of the same spirit as Geste and is very evocative of Morton Feldman’s work.

Though all the pieces featured in this collection are Canadian works and “contemporary” by most standards, I found it stunning I am the same age or younger than each. Yet, in several cases, Petrowska Quilico is still the only recording artist to devote studio time to these works, all of which deserve second, third, multiple hearings. For this, the collection is not only a great service to the Canadian musical landscape, but a testament to Petrowska Quilico’s sweeping vision.

 

ICI Musique Worlds Apart Review

Par
Frédéric Cardin

Christina Petrowska Quilico : championne du piano 100% canadien

Christina Petrowska Quilico
Album: WORLDS APART

La pianiste canadienne Christina Petrowska Quilico aime bien surprendre le public avec des choix de programmes musicaux qui sortent des sentiers battus. C’est le cas avec son nouvel album Worlds Apart, sorti sous étiquette Centredisques et où elle nous fait découvrir un tas de compositeurs Canadiens, encore peu connus dans le grand public en général.

Christina Petrowska Quilico: Fantasia on a Theme of Schumann

Christina Petrowska Quilico (elle a été mariée au baryton Louis Quilico, duquel elle a conservé le nom) a fait de la musique contemporaine canadienne une spécialité. Elle est une musicienne très sensible, en plus de posséder une solide technique, ce qui en fait une interprète recherchée par nos créateurs. Qui plus est, elle est manifestement passionnée par la nouvelle musique, ce qui s’entend tout de suite quand on l’écoute jouer.

L’album est double. Sur le premier disque, un concept qui sert de ligne directrice : la musique de compositeurs romantiques revisitée par des contemporains canadiens. Las meninas de John Rea en est le pilier principal. Il s’agit d’une reprise des fameuses Scènes d’enfants de Robert Schumann, où chaque morceau se retrouve traité selon le style musical d’un autre compositeur (de Chopin à Glass en passant par Vivier, Stravinsky et bien d’autres). L’idée est géniale, et agit comme une sorte de mise en abîme musicale à 3 niveaux : John Rea revisite un tas de compositeurs qui « revisitent » Robert Schumann.

On a aussi une Fantaisie sur un thème de Brahms de Peter Paul Koprowski et une deuxième, la Fantaisie sur un thème de Robert Schumann (encore!), par Steven Gellman.

Si le 1er disque met de l’avant des esthétique se situant au carrefour du modernisme et du romantisme, le 2e fait place à des œuvres enracinées dans l’atonalisme contemporain.

Quilico est une artiste totalement engagée dans sa passion de mieux faire connaître les compositeurs d’ici. C’est une passion que je partage entièrement. Des artistes comme elle, et des albums comme celui-ci, sont essentiels. Merci.

Christina Petrowska Quilico sera en concert au festival Montréal Nouvelles Musiques (MNM) le 4 mars. Elle y interprétera la musique du Québécois Michel-Georges Brégent.

TheWholeNote Worlds Apart Review

02 Worlds Apart

Worlds Apart
Christina Petrowska Quilico
Centrediscs CMCCD 23717

This album can be purchased here.

Canadian pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico unleashes the eight works here with such immediacy that she creates a special kind of pianistic excitement. Her technique is brilliant, and her imagination boundless. But it’s not just the thrill of the keyboard that drives her – above all you feel the fierce conviction that underlies her vision of each composer’s score.

This is the latest release in Petrowska Quilico’s ongoing recording project covering works from the Canadian piano repertoire. It’s as though she’s out to singlehandedly show just how rich it is. These works were written during a period of just over 20 years, from 1969 to 1992. They all, more or less directly, invoke historical sources – musical, literary or visual.

Peter Paul Koprowski’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Brahms and Steven Gellman’s Fantasia on a Theme of Robert Schumann take full advantage of Petrowska Quilico’s virtuosity. Koprowski gives the elements of Brahms’ Lullaby a Chopinesque treatment, only gradually revealing the familiar theme, while Gellman introduces his theme, from the slow movement of Schumann’s Piano Quintet, then lavishes embellishments.

In Las Meninas, John Rea follows the structure of his source, Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood. But he filters it through his viewing of Velázquez’s iconic, complex painting, Las Meninas by recasting Schumann’s 13 movements in various composers’ styles – Romanticism, impressionism, minimalism, jazz, and so on. Petrowska Quilico has a field day.

Her energy infuses Patrick Cardy’s mythologically based The Masks of Astarte with narrative force. In contrast, her incisive control allows a sense of space to envelop Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux’s lyrical yet monumental Assemblages like a multidimensional sculpture (I thought of Anthony Caro’s works currently on display at the AGO).

In Quivi Sospiri by David Jaeger (who produced this set, and whose writings appear in this magazine), Petrowska Quilico is joined by computer-generated sounds. The rhapsodic yearnings of the piano confront the ominous electronics, then blend in a moving evocation of the sounds that swirl around the hopeless souls condemned to darkness in Dante’s Inferno.

Diana McIntosh’s atmospheric Worlds Apart, which gives this collection its title, weaves a shimmering fabric of intricate patterns. But it’s Geste by Michel-Georges Brégent, Petrowska Quilico’s first husband, who died in 1993, that forms the spiritual heart of this set – especially in the way he invites the performer’s interventions in shaping what happens and when. Brégent’s own description likens his score, mounted on a scroll, to a Calder mobile. In PQ’s hands the sense of urgency never lets up, even in the contemplative passages.

This set certainly showcases Petrowska Quilico’s talents, including her talent as a painter. The painting by her on the booklet cover, called Other Worlds – Light and Dark, beautifully sets the tone for this terrific collection.

Phil’s Review of Mozart: Sonatas and Variations for Piano and Violin

TOP_quilicoMozart: Sonatas and Variations for Piano and Violin Jacques Israelievitch, violin; Christina Petrowska Quilico, piano (Fleur de Son) http://www.a-vcoa.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=290418&module_id=131981&sl=561443509

This is Volume 1 in a series of Mozart works for piano and violin. Sadly, it must also be a memorial to the late violinist Jacques Israelievitch, who died of lung cancer last September 5th, less than two months after he and pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico completed the ambitious recording project. That the French-born Canadian violinist persisted in this endeavor in his final illness would be remarkable enough; what is amazing is that there is absolutely no evidence of infirmity in his performances, so full of the rhythms and colors of life, taut and firm, and always endowed with the warmth that Mozart requires. Petrowska Quilico proves the ideal partner for him, in recordings made in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall at York University in Toronto.

In this first volume in the series, we have a selection of Mozart‟s richest and most persuasive sonatas: K.380 in E-flat major, K.454 in B-flat major, and K.526 in A major. Chronologically, they are a study in the development of the genre, from what is basically a piano sonata with violin accompaniment to one in which the violin has clearly achieved an equal partnership. The slow movements, in particular, contain some of Mozart‟s most beautiful melodies. They are also different kinds of melodies. The Andante of K.380 has a haunting quality that is enhanced by chromatic inflections. The slow movement of K.454 is another Andante, but with more of the feeling of an Adagio, the violin now is entrusted with the prominent melody. Bold chromatic moduations add to its intriguing beauty. In K.526, the most mature sonata Mozart ever wrote, the slow movement, likewise an Andante, has an extended development, which was rare for the period. It even modulates for a while into A minor with no apparent hurry to end on the major key, traditionally the signal for the finale to begin. Mozart was evidently taken with the beguiling melody and in no haste to return to the main event. Israelievitch and Petrowska Quilico obviously enjoy the wealth of melody and the increasingly rich chromatic harmonies in these three works, so reminiscent in many ways of his writing in the operas with which they were contemporary, from Abduction from the Seraglio to The Marriage of Figaro. The joy of music making is evident in every single measure. Highly recommended. (If this CD doesn‟t win one of Canada‟s Juno Awards next April, there‟s no justice.) Phil’s review.

Mozart: Sonatas & Variations for Piano & Violin, Vol. 1 / Israelievitch, Quilico

Review Vancouver

Release Date: 06/10/2016
Label:  Fleur De Son   Catalog #: 58034   Spars Code: DDD
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performers:  Jacques Israelievitch,  Christina Petrowska Quilico
Number of Discs: 1  

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This is the last joint collaboration by the duo of pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico and the late violinist Jacques Israelievitch, the recording of Mozart’s complete catalogue of violin and piano sonatas. The first of six CDs was released June 10 on the American label Fleur de Son (FDS 58034) and distributed by Naxos.  Copies are available on iTunes (electronic) and Amazon.com (physical and digital), and through numerous other digital service providers and retailers..

Volume 1 comprises 71 minutes of late sonatas along with a set of variations. It features the sonatas in E flat, K. 380; B flat, K.454; and A, KV 526; and Six Variations on a French Song (“Hélas, j’ai perdu mon amant”), K. 360. The music from these artists was beautiful and virtuosic, dynamic on the part of Quilico and finesse from the violin sounds of Israelievitch.

Jacques Israelievitch who passed away last year of lung cancer graduated from the Paris Conservatory at 16, and was a winner at the International Paganini Competition.  He was the concertmaster for 20 years with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and was an officer of France’s Order of Arts and Letters and a member of the Order of Canada.

Professor Quilico teaches Music at York University in Toronto. She has performed with the Toronto Symphony, TaiPei Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, the National Arts Orchestra, etc. Her 40 CDs include solo, chamber and orchestral works. Four of her CDs have been nominated for Junos in the Best Classical Composition Category. Her CDs include 8 Canadian piano concerti with the Toronto Symphony, Jukka Pekka Saraste, conductor, Vancouver CBC Symphony, Sir John Eliot Gardiner to name a few.

© 2016 Ed Farolan

Glass Houses Revisited

Great review of Glass Houses Revisited. 

by Grego Applegate Edwards

Ann Southam, Glass Houses Revisited, Christina Petrowska Quilico

The late Ann Southam produced some of the most original and distinctive minimalist music to be heard. On May 22, 2014 here I covered Glass Houses Volume 2, a significant collection of some of her solo piano works performed beautifully by Christina Petrowska Quilico.Thanks to Centrediscs, we can explore the first volume of this collection (Centrediscs 16511) today. It is every bit as worthwhile as the second volume, maybe even more so.

Southam’s solo piano works are like tongue twisters, or learning to rub your stomach and jump up and down at the same time, only a great deal more rewarding in result. That has to do with the rhythmically distinctive contrasts between the left-hand ostinatos and the melodic figurations of the right hand. They mesh in tempo but have often enough the feel of contrasting meters.

Add to that the primal diatonic irresistibility of the right-handed melodic figures, which are rhythmically vibrant and far from banal, but instead memorable in the best ways. When meshed with the swirling ostinato figures the music has the trance magic of the very best minimalist works, yet utterly original, utterly Southam-esque.

This is by no means easy music to play properly, in spite of the diatonics. Christina Petrowska Quilico gives them a combination of legato lyricism and a rhythmic swing that make of the music all it should be.

Volume one covers nine of the “Glass Houses” movements, each one a miniature of happy complexities and lyrical drive. Here is a wonderful place to start if you don’t know Ann Southam’s music. If you already do it is more for you, most dedicatedly performed and exciting as well as reassuring. RIP, Ann Southam. May your music delight our ears in the centuries ahead!

Buy Glass Houses Revisited

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Glass Houses Complete Collection

 

GLASS HOUSES: Complete collection

“This is nothing short of miraculous…That Petrowska Quilico can perform these nine pieces is an achievement in itself; that it makes for mesmerizing listening is the magic of art.” – John Terauds, Toronto Star

“This is difficult and nuanced music, and Christina Petrowska Quilico is entirely up to the challenge. […] These performances are deeply musical and affecting.” – American Record Guide

Presented together for the first time: Glass Houses Revisited and Glass Houses Vol. 2 together in a box set for the complete collection of Ann Southam’s mammoth “Glass Houses” as performed by virtuoso pianist, Christina Petrowska Quilico.

Ann Southam was a close friend and musical collaborator of Christina Petrowska Quilico for almost 30 years. Petrowska Quilico began performing her music in 1981 and has recorded a number of her major works for piano. Glass Houses Revisited (Centrediscs) was the third collection and the first recording of this cycle and remains Centrediscs’ best-selling CD of all time. It was nominated for a JUNO for Best Classical Composition in 2012. Glass Houses Vol. 2 completes the entire set of “Glass Houses” for Centrediscs.

Passion and sensitivity, phenomenal technique and “dazzling virtuosity” (New York Times) characterize pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, whether she is playing a Liszt piano solo, a Mozart chamber work, the Grieg concerto or the premiere of a new work by a living composer. Her 30-some recorded titles encompass contemporary works by Canadian and International composers as well as standard repertoire.

Born in Winnipeg, Ann Southam (1937-2010) completed musical studies at the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music. Southam’s works have been commissioned through the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and continue to be performed in Canada, Europe and the United States. She was honoured with the Order of Canada, and earned a posthumous JUNO nomination for Best Classical Composition in 2012.

Available for purchase through the Canadian Music Centre:

https://www.musiccentre.ca/node/137236