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Mott: Eclipse / Christina Petrowska Quilico

Release Date: 11/01/2009 
Label:  Centrediscs   Catalog #: 12707   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  David Mott
Performer:  Christina Petrowska Quilico
Conductor:  Mark Chambers
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MOTT Eclipse 1. Oud Duo. Tango: Under the Winter Moon. Dark Masque Masks Christina Petrowska Quilico (pn); 1 Mark Chambers, cond; 1 C Ens CENTREDISCS CMCCD 12707 (61:39)

Improvisational jazz figures heavily in David Mott’s background as a performer; his instrument is Read more the baritone saxophone. (In fact, he plays that instrument within the ad hoc chamber ensemble performing his Eclipse , included on this CD.) Keen readers will note that two of these four titles allude to the moon, and a third includes the word “dark.” Another of Mott’s works, Regarding Starlight (do you see a pattern developing?) was taken into space by Canadian astronaut Steve MacLean, during his mission on the Columbia Space Shuttle.

Eclipse is described as a piano concerto. However, the piano is so closely tied to the ensemble that it doesn’t really feel like one. Also, the music’s non-Western influences make it sound like … well, jazzy Lou Harrison. Instruments such as the oud and the tabla (and a synthesizer, and a breathily vocalizing soprano), raga-like melodies, and the nontraditional development of the musical materials also add to the pleasant sense of dislocation. Eclipse , as the expression goes, is a trip without luggage. Nearly 30 minutes long, and in three movements, it is varied and innovative enough to make it a trip worth taking.

The remaining three works are for solo piano. Oud Duo has a palindromic title, and if the music is not literally palindromic, then at least it makes use of what the composer calls “pun-like transformations of musical material.” Stylistically, Oud Duo is reminiscent of Persian music. Petrowska Quilico really sinks her teeth into this work’s spell-like and sometimes obsessive rhythms. At almost 15 minutes, though, it goes on rather long for its material. The sullen Tango: Under the Winter Moon was composed for pianist Yvar Mikhashoff. (But it is not included on that musician’s New Albion CD, Incitation to Desire , devoted to the tango genre.) There’s nothing superficially tango-like about it. It is haunted by a repeated chord, as if something frozen, sometimes played naturally, and sometimes altered, it would seem, by “preparing” the piano in some way. Dark Masque Masks , dedicated to Petrowska Quilico, was inspired by her drawings of theatrical masks. “The music hides and reveals things,” writes Mott, “with veiled references to well-known musics. I’ve always been intrigued by the way the mind sorts out complex information and chooses that which is important.” Thus, the ever-shifting but often operatic Dark Masque Masks is somewhat like being “at a party with a multitude of conversations, [and] the perceptions hone in on a word or phrase of relevance or interest from across a crowded room.” The pianist plays it with gothic intensity and concentration.

These are live recordings from 2006 and 2007; the audience is not obtrusive, and the piano sound is honest if not spectacular.

FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
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Works on This Recording

Eclipse by David Mott
Performer:  Christina Petrowska Quilico (Piano)
Conductor:  Mark Chambers
Oud Duo by David Mott
Performer:  Christina Petrowska Quilico (Piano)
Tango by David Mott
Performer:  Christina Petrowska Quilico (Piano)
Under the Winter Moon by David Mott
Performer:  Christina Petrowska Quilico (Piano)
Dark Masque Masks by David Mott
Performer:  Christina Petrowska Quilico (Piano)

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