Blaze is a record of (mostly) solo piano music by Alice Ping Yee Ho played by Christina Petrowska Quilico. There are eight pieces on the disk adding up to just over an hour of music. It’s quite varied. There are pieces like the title track which are colourful and intricate with others like “Shade” being slower and, perhaps, more lyrical. It’s all highly virtuosic requiring not just excellent orthodox technique but quite a bit in the way of extended technique. It needs more than technique too as this is music with a lot going on that needs to be interpreted sensitively. The performances are really impressive.
I could do a track by track description but it would be repetitive so I’m just going to write about my favourite track; “Erupting Skies”. This is a programmatic piece about Amelia Earhart landing in Ireland after her solo trans-Atlantic flight. It uses electronics, prepared piano, extended technique and recordings of Earhart speaking to create a really dramatic effect that somehow bridges the extreme danger Earhart was in, alone over the Atlantic in a plane whose engine was failing, and her own eerily calm description of the events. I loved it.
The CD was recorded in the Glenn Gould Studio in April 2022 with David Jaeger and Doug Doctor responsible for the engineering. I want to draw attention to them because this must have been tough to record. There’s a lot in this music to remind one that the piano is a percussive instrument and truly capturing the sound of a piano being hammered is not easy! And this recording is very fine. I listened to it in a 44.1kHz/24 bit cut and it’s available as FLAC at that resolution or standard 16 bit as well as MP3. The booklet contains lots of useful information but more fun and at least as informative is the promo video on Youtube.
Catalogue number: Centrediscs CMCCD 31323