I spent a pleasant hour listening to Glass Houses Revisited. Christina Petrowska Quilico plays the nine piano études she selected and edited by from the late Ann Southam’s 1981-2009 tribute to the music of Philip Glass.
“Glass House” #1 is recognizably ‘Glassy’—a minimum of notes surging ostinato in the left hand with the right tapping out a fast, jazzy melody—the strong rhythms different in both hands and always changing. (Petrowska Quilico’s liner notes on the degrees of difficulty she encounters are kind of exciting reading.)
#7 comes next, similar in tempo, with melodic material a bit more prominent, singing phrases that tease the boundaries of thought.
#6 slips into a minorish tone, the wistful melodies like rustic ornamental motifs needleworked into the texture of a linen fabric.
At 8 minutes, #3 is almost twice as long as the previous ones. It sounds urbane, Poulenc-ish. One gets the impression of pond-water sparkling through dense late-summer foliage, somehow signaling ‘goodbyes’.
#13, much the longest at 11 minutes, is darker, pitched lower, is dissonant, insistently gnarly, with an epic narrative sense that spreads like a foreign invasion.
#2 is a beckoning dance, a liquid flow with a tantalzing undercurrent.
#9 begins with a left handed ostinato in a lower key above which a childhood-game melody rises in the right, like one sometimes hears in Mozart.
The colours of #4 are more saturated, more driving, repetitive elements in the melody more deliberate, verging on hypnotic.
The last one, #5 strives for middle C and a sense of celebration in its simplicity.
This charming album, CMC16511, Petrowska Quilico’s 24 CD, was recorded at the Glenn Gould Studio and produced by David Jaeger. Her 25th CD, The Liszt Anniversary Collection, is available at www.petrowskaquilico.com.