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.

Glass Houses Vol. 2 CD Launch on April 22nd at the Canadian Music Centre

Tuesday, April 22, 5:30 p.m.
Doors at 5:00 p.m.
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 aayotte@musiccentre.ca or visiting http://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 set, 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 Centrediscs collection recording and sixth solo CD devoted to Southam’s piano music. 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.
Early this year, CBC Music named Christina Petrowska Quilico one of 20 Can’t-Miss Classical Pianists of 2014: http://music.cbc.ca/#/blogs/2014/1/From-Lang-Lang-to-Angela-Hewitt-20-ca…. More information about the pianist is available at http://www.petrowskaquilico.com.
For further information, contact:
Linda Litwack
e-mail: lalitwack@rogers.com

Stream Tango Brasileiros on SoundCloud

Featured pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico says: ” I feel a particular affinity for the tangos of Ernesto Nazareth, which combine the sensual world of the Argentine tango with the quicker Brazilian dance forms. Nazareth’s music features those hypnotic and mesmerizing tango dreams of a bygone era.”

The track featured here is Ernesto Nazareth’s “Escovado”.

https://soundcloud.com/marquis-classics/tangos-brasileirostangopicsMarquis-81519 Quilico Tango-Cover-Selected

Consulate General of Brazil in TorontoMarquis Classics Tango Brasileiros CD Launch

Christina Petrowska Quilico performing a few pieces during the launch party for her new 2-CD set release Tango Brasileiros at the Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu.

Click the photo to purchase this wonderful 2-CD set through the Marquis Classics website.

Tango Brasileiros WholeNote review

“Equally world-renowned and the 2007 winner of the Friends of Canadian Music Award, pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico performs the tangos of Brazilian composer/pianist Ernesto Júlio de Nazareth (1863–1934) in the two-CD release Tangos Brasileiros. Touches of salon music and the romanticism of Chopin are evident in these tangos, which are quicker in tempo than their Argentinean relatives. There is so much heartfelt joy in the pianist’s performances of 24 of the composers’ piano works. In her liner notes titled “My Personal Tango Journey,” she attributes her agility in style, musicality and placement of downbeat to her years in the dance studio learning how to dance the tango. I agree completely. The famous Fon-Fon is driven by a zippy right hand melody which is partnered by a two-feet-grounded-on-the-floor pulse. The more traditional Perigoso – Tango Brasileiro is a swaying, sultry and steady performance with intriguing brief yet breathtaking silences. Most fun are the left hand low-pitched lines in Myosotis. Deep and rich in tone, they act as a perfect mate to the jovial salon music-like right hand melodies. Throughout, Petrowska Quilico’s well-contemplated rhythmic placements and gentler finger attacks create the sense of melodic spontaneity so important to tango music.”

Written by Tiina KiikPublished on 30 October 2013Category: Pot Pourri

Tangos Brasileiros Launch!

This hot new 2-CD set presents 24 tangos of Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth, performed by pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico.

Click on the photo or visit http://www.marquisclassics.com/519_tangos.aspx to purchase.

Heitor Villa-Lobos once said, “Nazareth is the true incarnation of the Brazilian soul.” Ernesto Júlio de Nazareth (1863-1934) was a Brazilian pianist who began composing in the 1870s, nearly two decades before North American ragtime developed. He introduced Afro-Brazilian rhythms to European musical genres. The result was a piano music that bounces with offbeat accents employing alluring syncopations. His music is a poetic invitation into an urban, pioneering landscape of Rio de Janeiro.

Christina says: “I feel a particular affinity for the tangos of Ernesto Nazareth, which combine the sensual world of the Argentine tango with the quicker Brazilian dance forms. Nazareth’s music features those hypnotic and mesmerizing tango dreams of a bygone era.”

Christina Petrowska Quilico, the internationally known Canadian pianist, turns her elegant and perceptive musicianship to the music of this great composer. She plays with both joy, and attention to the deeper aspects of Nazareth’s fine sensibility. Her performance confirms how Nazareth’s natural talent to combine Brazilian dance rhythms in new ways transformed his piano works into classics of Brazilian music. The twenty-four pieces on this recording cover a wide range of motifs. From the cunning Escovado to the danceable and most famous Fon-Fon, the beauty of Petrowska Quilico’s piano brings a distinctive touch to all these Brazilian music gems.