Ann Southam Glass Houses Revisited

Ann Southam Glass Houses Revisited
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Ann Southam was indisputably one of Canada's most important and versatile composers, and this recording of selections from Glass Houses is a wonderfully accessible glimpse into one of many of her compositional universes. This piece, composed in 1981, revised in 2009 and revised again in 2010 by Petrowksa Quilico, with assistance from the composer, serves as an interesting counterpoint to the other recent discs by Eve Egoyan, which document her final piano works (Returnings, Simple Lines of Enquiry). Where the pieces from just prior to her passing in 2010 patiently explore a questing, introspective sound world similar to Morton Feldman or even fellow Torontonian Linda Catlin Smith, Glass Houses explodes with luminous exuberance, exploring a different form of minimalism altogether. Its title playfully references American minimalism's best-known exponent — Philip Glass — yet Southam's take on the style is more intricate and ornate than Glass's. Patterns interlock and flicker about, creating a surface appearance of stasis, but in actual fact constitute a sophisticated and dynamic latticework. This disc is an enduring testament to Southam's work and while not nearly as engrossing as her much-celebrated later pieces, it nonetheless provides a very rewarding aural journey. (Centrediscs)