A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the launch for the first of six CDs of Mozart’s complete catalogue of violin and piano sonatas, the last joint collaboration by the duo of pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico and the late violinist Jacques Israelievitch.
Volume 1 comprises 71 minutes of late sonatas along with a set of variations. It features the sonatas in E flat, K. 380; B flat, K.454; and A, KV 526; and Six Variations on a French Song (“Hélas, j’ai perdu mon amant”), K. 360.
At the launch, Petrowska Quilico and producer David Jaeger recounted how the sonata series grew out a daylong marathon of Mozart sonatas that Israelievitch and Petrowska Quilico performed in May 2014 at Toronto’s Gallery 345. The two had been performing together since 2008 when Israelievitch joined the faculty of York University, where Petrowska Quilico was a professor of piano and musicology. He had just retired after 20 years as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s longest serving concertmaster.
Petrowska Quilico mentioned how they had no rehearsal tempo, “you either kept up or you didn’t. We just played and had fun… It was a conversation between the violin and the piano.” She also explained how there was one take on several pieces. Jaeger also shared there was “never a moment where it felt like work.”
Despite Israelievitch’s severe pain (due to cancer), they completed the final session in May 2015, just months before his death on September 5, 2015. Petrowska Quilico recalled: “Jacques was an inspirational and motivational musician and friend. I will always remember the fun and laughter we had rehearsing and recording. What a great way to make music!”
What a great duo they made indeed! The dynamic and eloquent music created between the two artists and their instruments is something I wish I had experienced live. For those of you who have yet to hear either of these artists, this CD series will be one to collect.
The CD was released on the American label Fleur de Son (FDS 58034) and distributed by Naxos. Copies are available on iTunes (electronic) and Amazon.com (physical and digital), and through numerous other digital service providers and retailers.
**Photos: Trevor Sherwin – © Hye’s Musings