Ann Southam: Glass Houses Revisited

Album cover art for upc 773811165113
Catalog: CMCCD16511
Format: CD


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 Ann Southam was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1937 but has lived most of her life in Toronto. After completing musical studies at the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music in the early 1960's, Ann Southam began a teaching and composing career which has included a long and productive association with modern dance. As well as creating music for some of Canada's major modern dance companies and choreographers including The Toronto Dance Theatre, Danny Grossman, Dancemakers, Patricia Beatty, Christopher House and Rachel Browne, she has been an instructor in electronic music at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and has also participated in many "composer-in-the-classroom" programs in elementary and high schools. While a great deal of her work has been electroacoustic music on tape, she has in recent years become increasingly interested in music for acoustic instruments. She has composed concert music for a variety of acoustic instruments and instrumental ensembles, working with such artists and ensembles as Eve Egoyan, Christina Petrowska Quilico and Arraymusic. Ann Southam's work has been commissioned through the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the CBC, and has been performed in Canada, Europe and the U.S. She is a member of the Canadian Music Centre, the Canadian League of Composers and a founding member of the Association of Canadian Women Composers. She was the recipient of the Friends of Canadian Music Award in 2001 Ann Southam passed away November 25, 2010.

Price: $25.98