The last joint collaboration by the duo of pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico and the late violinist Jacques Israelievitch was the recording of Mozart’s complete catalogue of violin and piano sonatas.
The first of six CDs is being released June 10 on the American label Fleur de Son (FDS 58034) and distributed by Naxos. Copies will be available on iTunes (electronic) and Amazon.com (physical and digital), and through numerous other digital service providers and retailers.
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.
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.
As Israelievitch put it, “When Edmund Hillary was asked why he climbed Mount Everest he replied: ‘Because it’s there!’ Playing the sonatas in one day allows the listener to hear the evolution of the form as the composer goes from featuring mostly the piano to making the violin gradually the equal of the piano.” While Mozart’s early works, dating from 1764, had only a secondary role for the violin, the instrument was well established as an equal partner before the later sonatas.
The pair repeated the cycle over several concerts at York University during the winter of 2014-15, recording before each concert. It was during this time that Israelievitch was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Despite his severe pain, they completed the final session in May 2015, just months before Israelievitch’s death on September 5, 2015. The CD series was produced by David Jaeger, with sound recording by Simon Head.
They gave one last performance of four late Mozart sonatas in July 2015 at the Chautauqua Festival in New York State. It would be his last public appearance.
Petrowska Quilico and Israelievitch launched their first joint CD, Fancies and Interludes, a concert of contemporary Canadian works, in June 2015 on the Centrediscs label. The CAML Review, published by the Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres, recently praised the disc for its “astounding level of virtuosity. Both performers also deliver eloquent interpretations filled with individuality and rich expression.” The WholeNote called it “both a labour of love and musical declaration, intuited and played by two ingenious and accomplished musicians,” and the programming “exquisite, noting how “Israelievitch and Petrowska Quilico allow the impulse, the urge to soar and expand in their playing while granting the listener a breathing space.”
Petrowska Quilico recalls working with Israelievitch: “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!”
about JACQUES ISRAELIEVITCH, Violin (www.israelievitch.com)
Jacques Israelievitch debuted on French National Radio at 11, graduated from the Paris Conservatory at 16, and was a winner at the International Paganini Competition. Prior to his record-setting 20 years with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, he was assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist, he appeared with many of the world’s major orchestras, collaborated with Solti, Giulini, Davis, and Frühbeck de Burgos, and premiered and recorded several concertos. He performed chamber music with Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, and Yo-Yo Ma. His discography of more than 100 albums includes the first-ever complete recording of Kreutzer’s 42 Studies for Solo Violin. He was an officer of France’s Order of Arts and Letters and a member of the Order of Canada, and held a Lifetime Achievement Award for his distinguished contribution to the performing arts in Canada.
Distributed by Naxos of America
To download the official Release Sheet, click here.