"Before sitting down and listening to this new release by UK-based, Canadian artist Xenia Pestova Bennett, one is immediately struck by the vibrant, compelling images on the cover design. This is one of those exceptional instances where the sonic expression found therein sounds just as its extramusical inspirational sources look: stunning chemical elements that glow and pulsate. From Pestova Bennett’s liner notes: “Radium is an element which glows pale blue, Plutonium glows deep red, Tritium is green and the gas Radon is yellow at its freezing point, and orange-red below. I added the fifth, obsessively-repetitive loop… this element is silvery-white, glowing blue.”
Glowing Radioactive Elements, the five tracks that correspond to the colours depicted, unfold in a well-curated and scintillating arc. The beauty of sound that emerges from Pestova Bennett recording this music on a piano with magnetic resonator – designed and trademarked by Andrew McPherson – enhances the sound world and draws the listener in, through dips and heights of pianistic gesture. The effect is akin to watching slow-moving landscapes in isolated, unfamiliar parts of our globe. The range of expression and musical material here is impressive: spontaneous at times and focused, personal and singularly driven at others.
This disc rolls on to its significant final track, featuring the Ligeti Quartet in a companion work to the first, Atomic Legacies. Pestova Bennett directs the action in a florid series of closely connected gestures, deconstructing Haydn’s music and her own."
“an uncompromising artist” – Textura
“one of the leading performers of contemporary, non-conformist music” – HisVoice
Described as “a powerhouse of contemporary keyboard repertoire” (Tempo), “stunning” (Wales Arts Review), “ravishing” (Pizzicato) and “remarkably sensuous” (New Zealand Herald) in the international press, pianist Xenia Pestova Bennett's performances have earned her a reputation as a leading interpreter of uncompromising repertoire alongside masterpieces from the past. Xenia’s commitment to promoting music by living composers inspired her to commission dozens of new works and collaborate with major innovators in contemporary music. Her widely acclaimed recordings of core piano duo works of the Twentieth Century by John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen with Pascal Meyer are available on four CDs for Naxos Records. Her evocative solo debut of premiere recordings for the Innova label titled “Shadow Piano” was described as a “terrific album of dark, probing music” by the Chicago Reader. Xenia's own compositions are available on Diatribe Records and TakuRoku. Her full-length album "Atomic Legacies" features Ligeti Quartet and the Magnetic Resonator Piano. Highlighted in Bandcamp's "Best of Contemporary Classical" in 2020, the album was described as "boldly conceived and brilliantly realised... a foretaste of things to come" in The Wire (Julian Cowley), "intoxicating, extraordinarily eerie and evocative” (Bernard Clarke, RTE LyricFM), "melancholy... heart-swells and proper feelings” (Jennifer Lucy Allan, The Quietus) and "a nuclear musical reaction that produces that great, irradiated beauty" (Tom Service, BBC Radio 3). Xenia's subsequent digital EP "Atonal Electronic Chamber Music for Cats" takes an unexpected turn-around, using vintage synthesizers in an exploration of 1990's techno-art-pop nostalgia.