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13 Philip Chiu VogagesVoyages (Debussy; Alice Ping Yee Ho)
Philip Chiu
ATMA ACD2 2844 (


Images, livre 1, L. 110 : III. Mouvement

Petite suite, L. 65 : I. En bateau

Hong Kong Nostalgia: II. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

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In 2023, Philip Chiu, pianist, Montreal resident and inaugural recipient of the generous Prix Goyer, was once again fêted, this time with a JUNO award for Fables (ATMA Classique). Boldy jumping generations, continents and styles in both showcasing and finding the synergies between the work of Maurice Ravel and the Anishinaabekwe composer Barbara Assiginaak in a single recorded artefact, Fables proved a musically satisfying enough formula that Chiu has revisited this interdisciplinary idea with 2024’s equally excellent Voyages. Here, handling the music of Claude Debussy and Alice Ping Yee Ho with equal aplomb, Chiu puts forth a “deeply personal album” that explores in sound the notion of belonging.

As a Chinese native, transplanted Torontonian and a long-time Quebecer, the reflective idea of nostalgia – perhaps for a place, time or community that may be here or may not yet have materialized – is woven throughout the recording. Take, for example, Ho’s three-part suite Hong Kong Nostalgia that through tempo, key and changing compositional forms affords Chiu opportunity to, as he states in the liner notes, “attempt to capture something elusive to me: a sense of belonging.” Just as there is a kind of searching aesthetic present compositionally in this suite – from the Connaught Centre to The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery to that city’s Night Markets – there is an introspective and wanderlust quality to Chiu’s playing as he plumbs the compositional depths through an exploration of “reflections and musings.” What is beautifully captured, however, is Chiu’s distinct touch, playful mastery of the instrument and ongoing creativity.

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