Yorkville’s Christina Petrowska Quilico tackles life and death in Worlds Apart

Two-CD album an homage to fallen colleagues

Christina-leg-up-on-piano-by-Bo-Huang-55

PHOTO COURTESY BO HUANG

STORMY NIGHT: Christina Petrowska Quilico launched Worlds Apart in April as an homage to some of her fallen colleagues.

Engage Christina Petrowska Quilico in a conversation about the creative arts, and she’ll take you on a tour of her paintings in her Yorkville home.

Two of those paintings, Light and Dark, were used in crafting the cover of her two CD album, World Apart.

“I do a lot of painting. It’s important to have this inter-relation of arts,” she says, with a teacup Yorkie in her lap. A pug runs around at her feet, adding a splash of grey on a white-on-white décor.

Mixing arts is the foundation of her work these days. Worlds Apart pays tribute to both literature and the classic composers. Those arts provided the inspiration.

The first CD is Classics with a Twist, and features the romantic, light side of her piano work. Compositions by John Rea, Peter Paul Koprowski and Steven Gellman. The second CD is Worlds Apart, the same as the collection, and features works by David Jaeger, Michel-Georges Brégent, Patrick Cardy, Diana McIntosh and Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux. It’s the dark half to the first.

Petrowska Quilico shares a happy anecdote about her late mother sharing a moment with Koprowski when he paid Quilico a visit. Being of Ukrainian, Polish and Hungarian ancestry, her mother could speak with Koprowski, who was Polish.

“Before he came, but I used to play pieces for her and she had the best objective criticism. She either got or she didn’t,” Quilico recalls. “She said that sounds a lot like Chopin.”

Of course, Koprowski’s piece is “Rhapsody on a Theme of Brahms”, so Petrowska Quilico shrugged it off.

“My mother chatted with him in Polish, and they’re both looking at me smiling, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, no’,” she says. “And then the composer said to me, ‘You know your mom is right, it is Chopin’.”

There are plenty of stories from her past that bubble to the surface, and are pleading to be told. She restrains herself, but remembers the highlights.

She performs one song, “Geste” by her first husband, Brégent, who died at the age of 45.

Cardy and Saint-Marcoux are two other composers, and close friends, who died young.

She falls into a rueful moment, remembering another fallen colleague Jacques Israelievitch, as the two had recorded plenty of sonatas during Fancies and Interludes. More music will be released from the seven and a half hour sit down, which was first launched in June, 2015.

“I was glad to have continued with Mozart,” she said.

She’ll be performing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which will be another tough moment, as the last time she performed Israelievitch was the concertmaster.

Still, she’s warm in knowing she’s accomplished her homage to some of her friends and past collaborators.

“What I enjoy is doing things by hand. My art is not working with computers, but with hands,” she says. “There needs to be something said about just the purity of music, and just reading a book.”

 

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 Marathon on May 4th at Gallery 345

Mozart Marathon on May 4th at Gallery 345

Click-through image for Facebook event page.

Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico and violinist Jacques Israelievitch perform The Complete Mozart Violin Sonatas. It is believed to be a first for Toronto to hear all 28 sonatas performed live in one day.

The marathon will be divided into four concerts – at 11 a.m., and 1, 3 and 5 p.m., with only a short break in between. Tickets are available at the door or in advance from https://be-mused.ca/event/mozartsonatas

 

CP24 Mozart Marathon Event Listing – May 4th All Day at Gallery 345!!!

Violinist Jacques Israelievitch and pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico perform The Complete Mozart Violin Sonatas. It is believed to be a first for Toronto to hear all 28 sonatas performed live in one day.

The marathon will be divided into four concerts – at 11 a.m., and 1, 3 and 5 p.m., with only a short break in between. Tickets are available at the door or in advance from https://be-mused.ca/event/mozartsonatas

Mozart (1756-1791) began writing these sonatas at age seven, publishing his first ones in 1764 and his last in 1788. Beethoven was particularly inspired in his own violin-piano sonatas by two of Mozart’s – the early and profound K. 304 in E minor, written in 1778, not long after the death of Mozart’s mother; and the second-last, K. 526 in A (1787).

Jacques Israelievitch says, “The earlier sonatas are generally simpler, as Mozart honed his craft. They evolve into works of greater complexity and depth. The performance itself requires a lot of stamina. I am fortunate in having a piano partner who is up to the task.”

Internationally renowned as individual artists, Petrowska Quilico and Israelievitch formed their duo at York University in 2008, after Israelievitch joined the faculty. They have given concerts of French Impressionist music and new Canadian works, among other things. Last November, as music director of the Koffler Chamber Orchestra, Maestro Israelievitch conducted a concert of Canadian women composers, in which Petrowska Quilico was soloist in piano concertos by Violet Archer and Heather Schmidt.