Glass Houses Revisited

Music Of / Musique de Ann Southam

Centrediscs / Centredisques
CMCCD 16511

Canadian composer Ann Southam and pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico collaborated on this project, and together chose nine pieces from Southam's mammoth piano series Glass Houses. With the composer's permission, Petrowska Quilico edited and revised these works for this recording just before the composer's demise late in 2010.

Glass Houses Revisited are fiendishly difficult Études for pianists. 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."

Christina Petrowska Quilico

1. Glass Houses #1

2. Glass Houses #7

3. Glass Houses #6

4. Glass Houses #3

5. Glass Houses #13

6. Glass Houses #2

7. Glass Houses #9

8. Glass Houses #4

9. Glass Houses #5

CBC Radio 2 has named this CD
One of the 30 Best Canadian Classical Recordings Ever, on a list with Bach’s Goldberg Variations performed by Glenn Gould and other major classics.

“This recording is the result of an extended collaboration – and friendship – between the distinguished Canadian composer Ann Southam and her most devoted interpreter, pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico. Petrowska Quilico selected an assortment of pieces from Southam’s 1981 Glass Houses series, then added her own spin with the composer’s blessing. She describes them as “fiendishly difficult etudes” played at breakneck speed. Petrowska Quilico manages the technical demands with supreme virtuosity and creates a complex sound tapestry that pays personal tribute to one of Canada’s most engaging musical figures.”
- Denise Ball, CBC Classical Music Blogs. The 30 Best Canadian Classical recordings

CBC Radio 2 Classical Blogs has also put this CD on its list of 10 Pieces of Classical Music everyone should know. The list included Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Strauss, Bizet, Copland and Southam.

CBC Radio 2 Blogs has also listed this CD on its list of 10 Piano Pieces Everyone Should know. It was #6 on a list with Debussy, Chopin, Beethoven, Ravel, Liszt, Glass, Bach and Handel. A video of Christina Petrowska Quilico performing excerpts from Glass Houses Revisited is presented with each blog.

The Ottawa Citizen also listed Christina Petrowska Quilico’s recital at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival (Chamberfest), one of the top 10 concerts not to miss.

Christina Petrowska Quilico was named one of the “20 Can’t Miss Pianists of 2014” by The CBC.

- Denise Ball, CBC Music Classical
The Toronto Star
"**** This is nothing short of miraculous. Toronto pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico elevates to poetry the complex musical loops created by Ann Southam, who died on Nov. 25. (Glass Housesdoesn't refer to the kind to be avoided by people who throw rocks, but to sonic edifices built in the name of minimalist pioneer Philip Glass.) Out of the technical feat of imagining and performing an ostinato pattern in the left hand against ever-shifting melodic loops in the right emerges a sort of teeming music. The notes sound as if they are colonies of bacteria being viewed under a powerful microscope. That Petrowska Quilico can perform these nine pieces is an achievement in itself; that it makes for mesmerizing listening is the magic of art. The pianist launches this disc with a concert on Thursday at the Glenn Gould Studio.

- John Terauds, The Toronto Star
CMC Associate Composer Colin Eatock
CMC Associate Composer Colin Eatock on Glass Houses Revisited CD Launch

"Last night (March 17th), I counted myself fortunate to be among the 100-or-so people who attended Christina Petrowska Quilico's piano recital at Glenn Gould Studio...

This music isn't just beautiful, it's also virtuosic- and without the ongoing commitment of a pianist who was willing to cultivate the specialized technique need to play it, it's not clear how a work like Glass Houses could or would have been created. Southam and Petrowska Quilico's three-decade collaboration was the kind of symbiosis between composer and performer that occurs only rarely, but can produce remarkable things."

- Colin Eatock, Music blog
March 22, 2011
Globe and Mail
"**** Revisiting the late Ann Southam's Glass Houses is like running into old friends. I hadn't heard these minimalist piano pieces for years, but those I knew were instantly familiar. It might seem that all this pattern music would start to sound the same, but Southam – who saw it as a metaphor for the repetitive nature of "women's work" – made each of her (generally consonant) harmonic landscapes absolutely distinctive. Most are affably, gently intriguing; some are ebullient; one is grimly reminiscent of a passage in Steve Reich's Holocaust work, Different Trains. Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, who revised and editedGlass Houses with Southam's endorsement, performs them with virtuoso precision, taking advantage of all the piano's resources – warmth, resonance, pedalling, dynamics. Quilico's interpretation is less brittle, less abstract than we might expect; it's also more sensuous, as if those metaphorical women were getting more pleasure from their work.

- Elissa Poole, Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Apr. 08, 2011
Fanfare Magazine : Peter Burwasser
"The choices were made by the composer and the pianist, her longtime friend and fellow Canadian Christina Petrowska Quilico, who also helped to edit the music....Petrowska Quilico[']s ... a marvel: as is often the case with so-called Minimalist music, the writing is much more difficult to play than it seems to the casual listener. The coordination of the quicksilver rhythmic shifts requires intense concentration and much of the music is fast and relatively quiet at once, a great technical challenge that recalls the etudes of Chopin and Liszt. Quilico calls her "whirling dervishes" when playing the Glass Houses. She brings it off brilliantly, adding no little warmth as well."

- Peter Burwasser, Fanfare Magazine
Fanfare Magazine : Raymond Tuttle
"Southam, as she neared death in 2010, praised Petrowska Quilico for the way she performed these works: "They're your pieces for sure." I can't disagree, based on what I am hearing here."

- Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare Magazine
Fanfare Magazine : Jeremy Marchant
"There is considerable subtlety in Petrowska Quilico's performance:  light and shade, changes in dynamic, even of tempo, and plenty of characterization – I am tempted to use that old cliche about the art that conceals art. Unlike most Minimalist music in which expressiveness is kept to a minimum, Petrowska Quilico goes for it, even though all but No. 13 are radiantly sunny. Not only are the pieces technically extremely difficult, but they could so easily die in unsympathetic hands.  However, clearly, for all sorts of reasons – not least Petrowska Quilico's pianistic skills – one cannot imagine this performance being bettered."

- Jeremy Marchant, Fanfare Magazine
MusicWeb International
"Enjoyable and easy to listen to, this is minimalist-inspired music that goes beyond that simple ‘moniker'. The music is excellently played. This is an attractive album that will interest fans of minimalism. A fine recording of minimalist-inspired piano pieces that combine motion and speed in a unique musical language."

- Kirk McElhearn, MusicWeb International
"I spent a pleasant hour listening to Glass Houses Revisited. Christina Petrowska Quilico plays the nine piano etudes she selected and edited by the late Ann Southam.....charming album..."

- Stanley Fefferman, OpusOne
La Scena Musicale
"***** La pianiste joue avec toute la serenite la joie de vivre et la précision attendues Un bonheur...une excellente initiation pour ceux qui croient ne PAS aimer la musique contemporaine canadienne."

TRANSLATION :  “The pianist plays with all the expected serenity, the joie de vivre and precision.  A delight…an excellent initiation for those who believe they don’t like contemporary Canadian music.”

– Réjean Beaucage, La Scena Musicale July/August 2011