Maureen Volk, a faculty member at Memorial’s School of Music, has just released her first CD with Louisiana-based Centaur Records. Titled Schubert and Debussy, the CD features both the Moments musicaux of Schubert and perennial favorites by Debussy, including Clair de lune, Children’s Corner and the second book of Images.
The pianist describes the music on the CD as “very mellow, easy to listen to, but rich enough to reward repeated listening.” Early reviews have been extremely positive. The reviewer for New Classik Reviews praises her “splendid” playing and her “insight into the ways in which color and pacing influence mood.”
Ms. Volk, who is originally from Saskatchewan, has maintained an active performing career in St. John’s for almost thirty years, giving frequent solo recitals and countless chamber music performances with colleagues, alumni and visiting artists. She served as director of the School of Music from 1990-2000, and began thinking about the CD after completing her administrative term.
“I realized that two composers had been my constant companions for the previous ten years. Every solo recital I had given since 1993 included at least one work by either Schubert or Debussy, and often works by both of them. Even
when I told myself that I should branch out and play music by other composers, I kept finding myself drawn back to these two composers.” She is attracted by the sensuousness and the exquisite colors of the music. “Both Schubert and Debussy make the piano sound like an orchestra, with a variety of instrumental sounds and layers of texture.”
The CD was made possible through generous support from Memorial University and from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.
Volk says that getting the CD recorded and produced turned out to be more complicated than she would ever have imagined. The recording sessions were originally scheduled at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio in Oct. 2005, but had to be moved when the CBC lockout dragged on through September of that year. “We ended up recording at the University of Western Ontario, which turned out to be great venue, with a beautiful piano and superb piano technicians.”
The editing was completed more than a year later. “Clive Allen, the recording engineer who did the editing, is the most meticulous person I have ever met. His ears are amazing and he treated the recording as if it were his own. So many times he found better editing solutions than the ones I had suggested, but although they were his ideas, somehow they always managed to make the recording sound more like the ideal that I was hearing in my head, not like someone else’s ideas imposed on my performance.”
The cover photography on the CD is by well-known local photographer Sheilagh O’Leary, with design work by Sarah Hansen of Portugal Cove. The CD is available from Fred’s Records, at numerous online retailers, or directly from the artist. Ms. Volk will be playing in the Newfoundland Music Festival which takes place Jan. 29 - 31 and will perform in a concert on March 15 to mark the 200th anniversary of Haydn’s death.