all reviews
Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
American magazine AllMusic.com on The Nightingale
AllMusic.com
21 February 2012
by James Manheim
Veteran Danish recorder virtuosa Michala Petri gets top billing here, but the Danish National Vocal Ensemble, under the direction of British conductor Stephen Layton, deserves at least equal billing. The main attraction is The Nightingale by Latvian composer Ugis Praulins, a work related to Pärt's minimalist style but with a more expansive and varied treatment of the choir. It's called upon to produce a variety of odd effects, dissolve in conversation, and execute smooth notes at extremes of range. Petri's recorder plays a variety of roles, introducing a medieval tinge but also a cool, almost electronic-flavored sound, and also embodying the Nightingale of the text: the one from Hans Christian Andersen's texts that have been so often set. It's a pleasing, slightly haunting work. The other three composers, Daniel Börtz, Sunleif Rasmussen, and Peter Bruun, are from Sweden, the Faroe Islands (an amazingly fertile place musically, all things considered), and Denmark; they are more systematically structured than the Praulins work. The combination of recorder and choir is unique, and the concept, a collaboration between Petri and U.S. producer Joshua Cheek (who wrote the informative booklet notes), merits praise for sheer originality. But the best audience for this release might lie among those who enjoy the British choral sound and are looking for something connected but completely different

AllMusic.com

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great review on The Nightingale in UK Magazine Classic Music
Classic Music Magazine
21 February 2012
The Nightingale: New Nordic Music for Recorder and Choir Michala Petri, Danish National Vocal Ensemble/Layton (OUR Recordings)
You don't find many discs of music for recorder and a capella voices. Veteran Danish virtuoso Michala Petri joins forces with a crack Danish choir in a fascinating selection of new works. The delight lies in hearing just how well the unadorned clarity of Petri's tone blends with the vocals. Perhaps it's less of a surprise when you're reminded of the recorder's purity – no valves, reeds or mouthpieces stand in the way of sound production. The main attraction here is Latvian composer Ugis Praulins' English setting of Andersen's The Nightingale. Praulins' eclectic compositional style is readily accessible, encompassing fierce dissonance, speech-like chant and warm diatonic simplicity, over which Petri's lyrical nightingale song can effortlessly soar, contrasting with the shrill staccato squeaking of the bird's mechanical replacement. Wonderful stuff, with a radiant conclusion.
Daniel Börtz's Nemesis divina sets words by an 18th-century botanist. Most effective is the close, with the text reduced to hushed detached syllables punctuated by chirruping recorder. Faroese composer Sunleif Rasmussen's "I" is harder to assimilate, though it's impossible not to marvel at the fearless accuracy of the Danish National Vocal Ensemble's singing. Peter Bruun cites his first musical influences as Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran. There's little trace of either in his Two Scenes with Skylark, a contrasted pair of poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Petri excels when playing a softer-toned tenor recorder accompanying The Caged Skylark. Stephen Layton directs with style, and the disc is spectacularly engineered.
Graham Rickson
Classic Music Magazine

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
All Music Guide on Virtuoso Baroque
All Music Guide
20 February 2012
by James Manheim
This release by Danish recorder virtuosa Michala Petri has a couple of points of interest for those looking for a fun introduction to the world of Baroque recorder music. The pieces, originally from the closely related repertories of recorder, flute, and violin, are a sort of rogue's gallery of works that were transmitted before Baroque music was commonly played. The Sonata in G major, RV 59, for example, has its Ryom-Verzeichnis catalog number and was long taken as a genuine Vivaldi work; in fact it was an artful forgery by French composer and instrument builder Nicolas Chédeville. The booklet tells the interesting stories of some of these works. But the biggest attraction is the playing of Michala Petri herself. There are lots of young players with inventive ideas in the recorder repertory, but few that could handle the crushing transcription of Tartini's "Devil's Trill" sonata on offer here, and few capable of the mixture of tonal control and musicality that she manages throughout. The accompaniment is provided by the solo archlute of Lars Hannibal, a nice change from the usual keyboards and a richly resonant sound that defines a large musical space when paired with a recorder in its upper reaches. This in turn is captured effectively in the engineering of producer Preben Iwan in the OUR Recordings studio in Copenhagen. An unusually satisfying collection of recorder music even for those who think they don't like the recorder.
All Music Guide

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
UK Magazine Musical Pointer on The Nightingale
Musical Pointer Magazine
02 February 2012
New Nordic Music for Recorder and Choir

Börtz: Nemesis divina
Bruun: Scenes with Skylark
Praulinš: The Nightingale
Rasmussen, S: "I"

Danish National Vocal Ensemble/Stephen Layton with Michala Petri (recorders)
OURrecordings 6.220605
The latest release by Michala Petri, masterminded by Lars Hannibal, is in many ways her best. An extraordinary selection of Nordic commissions, each one is completely riveting in its unique way.
Praulins' nightingale decorates a Hans Christian Andersen tale about two nightingales, the real one (Michala) eclipsing the monotonous repetitions of an artificial one. Börtz's Nemesis divina treats a quite extraordinary text by the botanist/thereotician Linnaeus; broken up in such a way that the text is essential to follow it. Likewise for Rasmussen's modernist "I", in which "A man and a woman and a blackbird (Michala) are one". Finally, the younger Peter Bruun's G M Hopkins settings involve the "breathy, human tessitura of the tenor recorder" as the poet's Caged Nightingale.
Tremendous texts and marvellous music for each one. Lavishly produced in a fully illustrated glossy booklet.
Peter Grahame Woolf
Musical Pointer Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Enthusiastic review on The Nightingale in Musical Pointer
Musical Pointer Magazine
24 January 2012
The latest release by Michala Petri, masterminded by Lars Hannibal, is in many ways her best. An extraordinary selection of Nordic commissions, each one is completely riveting in its unique way.
Praulins' nightingale decorates a Hans Christian Anderson tale about two nightingales, the real one (Michala) eclipsing the monotonous repetitions of an artificial one. Börtz's Nemesis divina treats a quite extraordinary text by the botanist/thereotician Linnaeus; broken up in such a way that the text is essential to follow it. Likewise for Rasmussen's modernist "I", in which "A man and a woman and a blackbird (Michala) are one". Finally, the younger Peter Bruun's G M Hopkins settings involve the "breathy, human tessitura of the tenor recorder" as the poet's Caged Nightingale.
Tremendous texts and marvellous music for each one. Lavishly produced in a fully illustrated glossy booklet.
Peter Grahame Woolf
Musical Pointer Magazine

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
Great review on Virtuoso Baroque in US Magazine Fanfare
Fanfare Magazine
07 January 2012
BAROQUE VIRTUOSO  Michala Petri (rcr); Lars Hannibal (lt) (period instruments)  OUR RECORDINGS 6220604 (SACD: 67:48)
VITALI Chaconne. TELEMANN Sonata in d, TWV 41:d4. BACH Sonata in F, BWV 1033. VIVALDI/ CHÉDEVILLE Sonata in G, RV 59. CORELLI La Folia, op. 5/12. TARTINI "Devil's Trill" Sonata. HANDEL Sonata in B, HWV 377

My first encounter with Michala Petri was in 1980 on a Philips CD of Vivaldi's op. 10 flute concertos played on recorder. Uneducated at the time in the burgeoning period instrument and historical practice movement, I didn't question Petri's choice of instrument, not knowing that in all likelihood Vivaldi wrote his concertos for the new transverse flute, not the recorder. But I'm not sure it would have mattered even if I had known, for I was so transfixed by Petri's amazing virtuosity and the performance of my speakers' tweeters that I reveled in the sound.
The present release is a sampler of Petri and Lars Hannibal's Baroque favorites, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the duo's first appearance in 1992 at the Monastery La Cartuja de la Sierra in Andalusia, Spain. For the occasion, OUR Recordings was formed and the program at hand was newly recorded for this state-of-the-art SACD.
If you're familiar with Michala Petri—perhaps you've seen her play, as I have in a TV special a few years ago—you will already know that she is a real phenomenon. Perhaps more than any other single player, she has made the recorder into an instrument to be taken very, very seriously.
Purists may frown at this release, for as I've said before, simply performing on period instruments does not automatically lend historical legitimacy to the realization of the works in question. It could be argued that not one of the pieces on this disc was written for recorder and that one or two of the works that flute and recorder players have regularly taken up may not even have been written by the composers they're attributed to. Well-known pieces like Vitali's Chaconne, Tartini's "Devil's Trill" Sonata, and Corelli's "La Folia" were conceived for violin and contain double-stops (impossible on recorder) and arpeggio-like string-crossing figuration that don't adapt naturally to a wind instrument.
Bach, of course, did write a number of flute sonatas, but they were almost certainly written for the transverse flute, not recorder. Curiously too, Petri chooses the one sonata among the lot, BWV 1033, that is of doubtful authenticity.
Handel did write the Sonata in B Major, HWV 377; of that, there's no doubt. But it's only assumed to be for recorder because of its range. Handel did not actually specify a solo instrument, and the Adagio of this sonata turns up as the third movement in the composer's Organ Concerto in F Major, op. 4/4.
Still more curious is the case of the Sonata in G Major, RV 59, allegedly by Vivaldi. This hoax of the 18th-century was perpetrated by French composer Nicolas Chédeville (1705–1782), in collusion with publisher Jean-Noël Marchand who put out a collection of Chédeville's own works as Vivaldi's Il pastor fido, op. 13. To this day, recordings of "Vivaldi's" non-existent Il pastor fido sonatas for flute and continuo still abound. The only real question about these rather convincing 1737 "fakes" is whether Chédeville was writing them for recorder or transverse flute. As noted by Lisa Beznosiuk in her Hyperion recording of Bach's flute sonatas, after about 1725 compositions specifically for or including recorder became increasingly rare. So, when we're talking about Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and in this case, Chédeville, the transverse flute was the more likely target.
Lo and behold, it seems that Telemann's D-Minor Sonata, TWV 41:d4 is the only work on the disc not clouded by questions of authenticity or transplantation from another instrumental medium of questionable compatibility. The sonata comes from Telemann's compilation of trios, sonatas, and suites collected under the title of Essercizii Musici dating from approximately 1740. The late date suggests once again though that the transverse flute rather than the recorder was the designated instrument.
None of this, however, is really going to matter other than to the absolutists. Petri's playing is so riveting one could listen to her play anything and make music of the gods out of it. The combination of recorder and archlute lends a timeless quality to these performances that transports this listener into the intimate setting of an 18th-century drawing room, and the SACD recording enhances that ambiance. Petri makes these pieces her own, whether they belong to the recorder or not. So just listen and enjoy. Strongly recommended.    Jerry Dubins             
Fanfare Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great Review in US Music Magazine Fanfare on The Nightingale
Fanfare Magazine
22 December 2011
THE NIGHTINGALE  Stephen Layton, cond; Michaela Petri (rcr); Danish Natl Vocal Ens  OUR RECORDINGS 6.220605 (59:22)

UGIS PRAULINS The Nightingale. DANIEL BÖRTZ Nemesis divina. RASMUSSEN "I" BRUUN 2 scenes with Skylark.

Would that all "concept albums," particularly those of new music, come out as well as this. Recorder player Michaela Petri, a veteran of at least two decades' worth of performances around the globe, was absolutely thrilled with 2007 the world premiere of Daniel Börtz's Nemesis in Stockholm, so much so that she began to think of doing an album of modern music including the recorder with a vocal choir. A year later, composer Ugis Praulins was asked to write a similar piece, and he chose Hans Christian Andersen's famous tale of the Nightingale. When they told conductor Stephen Layton of their plans, he surprisingly suggested not his own group, Polyphony, but the newly established Danish National Vocal Ensemble. Serendipitously, the ensemble's director, Ivar Munk, told them that he had been thinking of working with Petri for some time, and so gave his full support to the project.
This disc is the result, and I don't think it is going too far to say that more than half of the record's success is due to Layton's greatness as a choral director. Those who have read my few reviews of his group know that I am a huge fan of Polyphony and, by inference, of Layton. He really knows how to get the best out of a choir, not only the usual things like good blend and phrasing but also the unusual things like rhythmic acuity, flawless diction, and a deep knowledge of how to get the most and best out of all of his singers.
Praulins, a Latvian composer, is one of those whose developing years were spent listening to as much rock as classical music, particularly King Crimson and Gentle Giant. He also formed his own rock band, Vecas Majas. According to the notes, the surge of Latvian cultural nationalism that arose from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led him to delve into the music and traditions of pre-Christian Latvia, which deeply influence his work. While rejecting formalism, Praulins nevertheless seeks to seamlessly join folk songs, Renaissance polyphony, and "a confident theatricality to create music that entertains and uplifts." The Nightingale is both an unusual piece and an appealing one, using the chorus in a highly virtuosic manner, ranging from the bass low D to soprano D above high C. Of course, Petri's recorder is the nightingale, and her "voice" is heard signaling the most important events and changes in the story.
Börtz is known for his writing of film scores for Ingmar Bergman, and like the filmmaker he uses an intuitive and modern approach to matters of structure and form. As a result of working with Bergman, Börtz has also absorbed what the notes call "the metaphysical darkness" of Bergman, which he then processes through his music. His earlier works were strongly influenced by the Polish avant-garde, composers like Penderecki, but beginning in the 1980s he changed to a more melodic and linear style. This led to his operas Bacchanterna and Marie Antoinette, and oratorio And His Name Was Orestes. Nemesis divina is based on two texts by 18th-century botanist-physician Carl Linnaeus, Respiratio diaetetica (The dietitics of respiration) and Nemesis divina, a lengthy treatise on theodicy, written to help his son. The composer describes the setting of Linneaus's words as largely episodic, with the recorder working as an auditory form of "theatrical lighting." To this end, Petri moves step-by-step from the dark sound of the tenor recorder to the piercing sound of the sopranino. I found Börtz's choral writing absolutely fascinating, breaking their sound into little shards of color by using neutral syllables. The rather enigmatic nature of Linnaeus's text, questioning the existence of God because it cannot be seen or touched yet can be intuited like the ego itself, lends itself perfectly to Börtz's musical panorama. The choir continues to divide itself until it is in eight parts, singing the words in a rhythmically complicated, hocket-like style. The music becomes chromatic, spiked with tritones, gradually emerging as a sequence of three chords. (The notes say this, but so do my ears.)
Sunleif Rasmussen's "I" is the musical setting of Danish modernist poet Inger Christensen's self-reflective response to Wallace Stevens's Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. Rasmussen uses Christensen's verse as a reflection on the human condition, intimacy, freedom and creativity. The music starts with Petri playing mournfully on a bass recorder before the chorus enters, singing, "A man and a woman are one" (and here, as unfortunately elsewhere, the Danish choristers' inability to properly enunciate English comes to grief). I won't quote more of the poem in detail here, but suffice it to say that Rasmussen's music matches it in mood and structure. All through the piece, Rasmussen puts the sopranos opposite the rest of the choir, sometimes in call and response patterns but more often in imitative passages while the recorder never really stops, but continues to play an unfolding and developing melody. As in Börtz's work, Petri keeps moving up through different ranges of the recorder, eventually sounding a shrill note in the section "Grasping the bird's speech / Calling am I woman." I found the composer's masterful use of glisses through the chromatic scale particularly arresting in that they often obscure the actual pulse of the music.
The album concludes with Danish composer Peter Bruun's Two Scenes with Skylark, based on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. The first, "The Sea and the Skylark," opens with overlapping melodies that create a rich yet turgid texture reminiscent of the ocean. Petri gives us the rhapsodic song of the skylark through rippling arpeggios that provide gentle dissonance with the chorus. As Hopkins's poetry turns to humanity's inability to truly appreciate nature's beauty, Bruun make the music even more dissonant. In the second part, "The Caged Skylark," stuttering rhythms and fragmented textures depict the plight of the caged bird, which is compared to the plight of the soul.
Much of this music, but especially the Börtz piece and parts of The Nightingale, put me in mind of Pēteris Vasks's Plainscapes, broadcast on St. Paul Sunday in 2005 by the Seattle Chamber Players with a wordless choir, that has still never been commercially recorded (according to Arkivmusic, anyway). I was mesmerized by Plainscapes, and I was similarly mesmerized by much of the music on this CD as well. Highly recommended. Lynn René Bayley



Fanfare Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
Great US Magazine Fanfare review on English Recorder Concertos
Fanfare Magazine
20 December 2011
US Magazine Fanfare

This is one of the best CDs of recorder music that I have ever heard.
HARVEY Concerto incantato. ARNOLD Recorder Concerto. JACOB Suite for Recorder and Strings • Michala Petri (rcr); Jean Thorel, cond; City CO of Hong Kong • OUR 6.220606 (SACD: 59:06)
Titled English Recorder Concertos, this release presents three works of that genre, the first being a premiere recording by its original performers, who gave the first public performance of it in October 2009. The Concerto Incantanto of Richard Harvey (b. 1950), who is primarily known as a composer of music for films and television, is touted as "a new concerto for the Harry Potter generation." Scored for the solo protagonist and a chamber orchestra of strings, woodwinds, piano, celeste, and percussion, its five movements (in an alternating fast-slow-fast-slow-fast sequence) sketch musical portraits of magic and spirits. Fortunately, it is mostly much better than what such an advertisement might lead one to expect; while definitely lighter fare, it is tuneful, atmospheric, and thoroughly enjoyable. As part of both the mood coloration of each of the movements and a display of virtuoso pyrotechnics, the soloist switches off at various points between sopranino, soprano, treble, and tenor recorders. The opening "Sortilegio" (Sorcery) requires use of the first three of those, with the soloist whooshing about in rapid runs and similarly tricky passagework. In the succeeding "Natura Morta" (Still Life), the composer turns to the deeper-toned tenor instrument and draws upon chiffs and other sounds and techniques from folk instruments such as the end-blown flute of North American Indians and the Chinese xiao. This is the one movement I do not care for, as portions of it sound too much like clichéd film music accompanying shots of African savannahs or dawns in East Asia and the western American plains settings. "Danza Spiriti" (Dance of the Spirits) is a scherzo that returns to both the use of sopranino and soprano recorders and to the flitting strains of the opening movement. The quiet "Canzone Sacra" (Sacred Song) that follows employs the lower register of the treble recorder and a stately hymnlike tune known as the "English Theme." Finally, the concluding "Incantesimi" (Spells) brings the proceedings full circle with the soprano recorder chattering away in double-tonguing articulations and exhilarating flight in double-time.
Malcolm Arnold likewise composed his three-movement concerto for Petri, albeit back in 1988. It is a terrific piece, and there is no mistaking its sturdy British contours. A slightly waggish first movement in sonata form alternates between major and minor modes. The subdued second movement, a passacaglia, has an air of mystery, but again somehow suggests that it not be taken too seriously. Skipping triplets and sextuplets dominate the march-like finale.
The 1957 Suite for Treble Recorder and Strings of Gordon Jacob, a sequence of seven movements modeled upon a Renaissance dance suite, was reviewed by me in Fanfare 34:5 in a version for string quartet. Having now heard it both ways, I actually prefer the fuller-bodied chamber-orchestra version offered here.
Michala Petri hardly needs any praise from me to add to her critical laurels. Given the subject of the first work, suffice it to say that her playing here is appropriately bewitching, and the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong and conductor Jean Thorel provide excellent support. The SACD recorded sound is exceptionally spacious and full-bodied; the booklet is lavishly illustrated with color photos of scenic English countryside, Stonehenge, and shots of the performers in Hong Kong. This enchanting disc has my spellbound recommendation.
FANFARE: James A. Altena, September 2012

Fanfare Magazine

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
In a way it is a return to their roots as one of the best early music duos
John Sunier, audaud.com
13 Decmber 2011
This unusual duo has been around for a decade, having given nearly 1500 concerts of repertory from the late Renaissance to the present, including works especially composed for them. They have released five CDs so far, and in 2006 formed their own label, Our. This new release celebrates their 20th anniversary performing together, with a new program of their most requested Baroque selections as a gift to their fans around the world. In a way it is a return to their roots as one of the best early music duos, and an interesting alternative to the usual early music duo of harpsichord and recorder.
The Baroque was known for benefiting from a unique pan-European exchange of musical ideas. Some of these composers were very cosmopolitan, and all were influenced by developments in music outside of their particular areas. Some of the Baroque highlights of this program include the famous Vitali Chaconne in g, Bach’s Sonata in F Major BWV 1033—about which much controversy has engaged musicologists as to whether he in fact wrote it or not, Corelli’s 11-minute treatment of the famous early music theme La Folia, and Tartini’s notorious “Devil’s Trill” Sonata in g. Petri makes everything—especially the challenging Vitali Chaconne—sound so effortless. There is never the least concern that you might hear one of the ungainly squawks that can emanate from less-virtuoso recorder players.
Petri is one of the world’s top recorder artists, and Danish musician Hannibal is noted for his many guitar and lute recordings. The note booklet is very detailed, with information and background on each of the selections. The DSD/DXD format recording was made the Our studios in Denmark, and the sonics of both instruments on the soundstage are outstanding.
John Sunier, audaud.com

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
Great review in cjklassisk of English Recoder Concertos
cjklassisk
01 December 2011
Fornem anmeldelse at John Christiansen af English Recorder Concertos:

Opdagelse af en blokfløjtekoncert:

**** "Michala Petri har indspillet tre koncerter for blokfløjte af britiske komponister. Igen spiller hun funklende, elegant, lyrisk og fornøjeligt, når det er på sin plads. Og det mærkværdige sker. Det er ægte engelsk musik, og alligevel er det på en måde også sommerdansk. Først i Richard Harveys "Concerto Incantato", et prisvindende værk, som Michala Petri uropførte i Hong Kong. Der er fem spændende satser af tilpas længde, som man får lyst til at genhøre. Der er ikke en takt for meget og ikke en takt for lidt. Det er vital og liflig musik, som Michala Petri forståeligt nok er faldet for.

I to omgange går man derefter tilbage i to generationer til Malcolm Arnolds blokfløjte-koncert fra 1988 og til Gordon Jacobs suite fra 1957 for blokfløjte/recorder og strygere. Det er ægte britisk, det er  rapsodisk nuanceret musik, men sandelig om man ikke aner Carl Nielsens skygge i Arnolds koncert.

Cd'en er også blevet indspillet on location med City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong dirigeret af Jean Thorel. Preben Iwan tog også turen til Hong Kong og har ansvaret og æren for fylden og klarheden i den nærmest fuldendte tekniske velklang. Der er gode, fyldige noter på engelsk. CD'en er udgivet af Michala Petris og Lars Hannibals eget pladeselskab OUR Recordings. Jeg vender tilbage til flere af OUR Recordings udgivelser "(4 stjerner: Recordings 29901).jcklassisk 18.juni 2014
cjklassisk

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
The Recorder Magazine on English Recorder Concertos
The Recorder Magazine
16 November 2011
Described in the liner notes as " A new concerto for the Harry Potter generation", Richard Harvey's "Concerto Incantato" certainly cast a musical spell from its opening bars. It was composed for Michala Petri and commisioned by Leanne Nicholls  for the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong's tenth anniversary concert in 2009. It is a substantial Work in five contrasting movements about 30 minutes and is firmly in the harmonic and melodic mainstream. Harvey is a recorder virtuoso in his own right and an award-winning composer for film and television. It is therefore no surprise that this work not only contains testing yet perfectly idiomatic writing for recorder, but also a wealth of colourful and appealing music. The first movement, "Sortilegio" (Sorcery), in which the sopranino, soprano and treble recorder interplay with the orchestra are an integral part ot its sparkling textures, leads into the very contrasting "Nature Morta" (Still Life) where the tenor recorder sings a rather wistful song over the husted accompaniment. This atmosphere is abruptly dispersed by the third movement " Danza Spiriti" ( Dance of the spirits), a will-o'- the wisp scherzo of considerable energy. The fourth movement "Canzone Sacra" (Sacred Song) restores a contemplative mood and features a haunting humn-like melody for treble recorder. Soprrano recorder arpeggios introduce the fifth movement "Incantesimi" (Spells) before a lively Renaissance-style dance emerges, the course of which is interrupted by touching restatement of the previous movement's melody. However, a return to the dance brings this spell-binding concerto to a brilliant conclusion.
Sir Malcolm Arnold's "Concerto for Recorder and Orchestra" OP.133 was written for Michala Petri in 1988 in a final period of compositional activity. Some of his late works display a sparseness of texture which in the case of the Recorder Concerto is a distinct contributory factor in achieving a balance between soloist and the orchestra containing brass and woodwind in additiion to the strings.The first and third movement of the three movements are virtuosic yet scherzo-like, and it is the Lento middle movement that carries the emotional weight of the work. It takes the form of a passacaglia and captures a very semilar mood to that of the Chaconna in his Sonatina for recorder composed thirty-five years earlier, a perfect foil to the music of the outer movements, particularly the march-like character of the finale.
Composed for Carl Dolmetsch towards the end of 1957 and first performed by him in January 1958, Gordon Jacob's Suite for treble recorder and strings received immediate critical acclaim. In a period of changing musical tastes it is a Work that has retained its place in the recorder repertoire and rightfully so - it is a masterpiece, perfectly written for the instrument. The sheer ebullience of its quick movements and the yearning yet warm music of the "Lament" and "Pavane" continue to captivate players and audience alike. It was during the early 1980s that Michala Petri took the Suite into her repertoire (and memoroable recorded it) and contacted the composer to seek his advise on performance. Their meeting inspired Jacob to compose and dedicate his last Work for recorder, the "Sonatina" to her.
This is a first-rate disc; recording and visual presentation are impressive, the orchestral playing decisive yet sympathetic and the three Works form a wonderfully contrasted programme. Michala Petri's playing, it goes wothout saying, is impaccable and her music interpretation vivid.
Andrew Mayes,- May 2013
The Recorder Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Great review in Danish Newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Kristeligt Dagblad
02 August 2011
Kristeligt Dagblad 13.  oktober  2010, 1. sektion, side 6

4 Chinese Recorder Concertos. Dirigent: Lan Shui. Sjællands Symfoniorkester . Solist: Michala Petri. OUR Recordings. 5 stjerner ud af 6 
 
Strukturerne i kinesernes musikalske tonesprog kan lyde fremmede i vestlige ører. Men når de indgår i en syntese med vestlig musik, som det er tilfældet med de fire koncerter på Michala Petris nye cd, er der tale om grænseoverskridende musik. Og det er - vil jeg gerne understrege - ikke svært at lytte til. Tværtimod. Men man begejstres over meget mere end Michala Petris hele vejen igennem fyldige, intelligente og ekvilibristisk sikre fløjtespil, for Sjællands Symfoniorkester under ledelse af Lan Shui, den kinesiske chefdirigent, spiller med en engageret direkthed og lidenskab i det gennemsigtige, innovative klangbillede. De fire koncerter kan deles op i to dele.
Tang Jianpings " Fei Ge" og Ma Shui-longs " Bambusfløjtekoncert" rummer begge et væld af iørefaldende melodier, herlig energi og varm, udtryksmættet lyd. Sidstnævnte er et fornemt møde mellem øst og vest, modelleret som det er over Liszts eller Francks cykliske form, men tydeligvis piloteret dybt nede i den kinesiske folkemusik. De to andre koncerter - Brigt Shengs " Flute Moon" og Chen Yis " The Ancient Chinese Beauty" - kræver lidt mere af lytteren.
" Flute Moon" henter sit klangbillede i vestlig modernisme a la Stravinskij med buldrende trommer, hidsige strygere og en mere empatisk, følsom fløjte. Men stadig med retningen intakt i denne syntese af østlig mystik og vestlig eksperimenteren.
Chen Yi er i sit værk inspireret af forskellige aspekter ved den kinesiske kultur og har derfor ladet satstitlerne lyde navne som Lerfigurerne, De gamle totems og Det dansende blæk. Det er cd'ens mindst vægtige komposition, men stadig et interessant udtryk for det store kinesiske riges musikalske rigdom. De fire koncerter blev i øvrigt indspillet i forlængelse af en koncert, som Petri, dirigent og orkester gav i april i år, som kastede 5 stjerner af sig her i avisen. Det gør denne cd også. Køb den endelig!.
kultur@k.dk
 



Kristeligt Dagblad

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Great new review in US Music Magazine Fanfare on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Fanfare Magazine
31 January 2011
TANG JIANPING Fei Ge. BRIGHT SHENG Flute Moon. MA SHUI-LONG Bamboo Flute Concerto. CHEN YI The Ancient Chinese Beauty ● Michala Petri (rcr); Lan Shui, cond; Copenhagen P ● OUR 6.220603 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 71:29)
Once a busy recording artist for Philips and RCA Red Seal, Danish virtuoso Michala Petri (with guitarist and lutenist Lars Hannibal) launched her own label in 2006. This is OUR Recordings's 13th release, and the third in its "Dialogue—East Meets West" series. This collection of "Chinese Recorder Concertos" is, to enlist a perhaps overused word, delightful, and deserves to be brought to the attention of a broad audience.
If you don't believe me, try the opening work by Tang Jianping, who was born in 1955. The title's English translation is "Flying Song," a reference to a style of folk singing indigenous to a region of southwest China. As a courtship song intended to be projected over long distances, it must be both penetrating and appealing—think of the songs from the Auvergne region set by Joseph Canteloube. With its rich scoring and tunefulness, Fei Ge also seems to be motivated by the same forces that led George Enescu to compose his two Romanian Rhapsodies. The languages are very different, of course, but the impact is quite similar. This will go to the top of my list of musical pick-me-ups. Tang Jianping originally composed this work for bamboo flute and a ensemble of various Asian instruments. The arrangement for Western instruments performed here is the composer's own.
Bright Sheng and Chen Yi are more familiar to Western listeners. The first movement of the former's Flute Moon ("Chi Lin's Dance") is an athletic and often thunderous toccata in which the dancing of the mythical Chinese unicorn or "dragon horse" is evoked. The combination of the piping recorder with the heavy stamping of the orchestra creates an effect that is both bizarre and beguiling. The atmospheric second movement (also titled "Flute Moon") is based on a classical melody dating from the Song Dynasty. After a tensely quiet opening, the movement erupts with dramatic gestures and a strong melodic profile, and then returns to the opening mood. Chen Yi currently teaches at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Ancient Chinese Beauty was composed specifically for Michala Petri, who premiered it in Beijing in 2008. Its language is more difficult, and what grabs the ear most, at least initially, is the composer's employment and combining of instrumental timbres in much the same way that an abstract painter uses a variety of paints and brushes. The three movements are "The Clay Figurines," "The Ancient Totems," and "The Dancing Ink." Less than 15 minutes long, The Ancient Chinese Beauty is just the right length for its materials. The tenor recorder is used in the middle movement, and the alto recorder in the first and third. The third movement is an exciting moto perpetuo characterized by the composer's insistent use of repeated notes.
The Bamboo Flute Concerto by Ma Shui-Long (b. 1939) blends traditional Western gestures—particularly those associated with the genre of the Romantic concerto—with melodies in a traditional Chinese style. As the title suggests, Ma composed it for the bang di, but of course here it is performed on a recorder—a sopranino, unless I am mistaken. It is not a very adventurous concerto, but it is appealing, and it is an appropriate foil for the works by Bright Sheng and Chen Yi that frame it.
Michala Petri recently turned 50 and shows no signs of relinquishing her enthusiastic yet serene mastery over her instruments of choice. She plays all of these works, not just The Ancient Chinese Beauty, as if they were composed just for her. If anyone still doubts the recorder's place as an instrument worthy of the same attention as its cousin the flute, Petri's playing here should put that to rest. The Copenhagen Philharmonic accompanies her idiomatically, and with sensitivity to this music's many shapes and colors. Kudos to Lan Shui, its chief conductor since 2007, for making this happen. Finally, the booklet notes (in English and Chinese) thoughtfully guide one through the program, and the SACD technology makes a spectacular noise, from the recorder's most piercing upper registers to the granitic power of the orchestra's lowest notes.
This is Want List material. Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Musical Pointer from UK on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Musical Pointer Magazine
10 January 2011
UR Recordings 6.220603

All these items are of important musico-historical interest.

Each of the composers, born in 1939 and the '50s respectively, suffered under the ravages of Mao's CUltural Revolution, and their various rapprochments with the West are certainly worth hearing from that perspective.

But the only woman composer amongst them, Chen Yi, who studied composition at Columbia University and became a professor of composition at the University of Missouri–Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, is the one whose concerto (and other music of hers) would likely find a welcome place on the European concert scene.

The performances, recording and background information are all splendid and, with those caveats, the disc is to be warmly welcomed.

Peter Grahame Woolf
Musical Pointer Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
UK Classic Music Magazine review on Chinese Recorder Concertos!
Classic Music Magazine
31 December 2010
Recording of the Fourthnight. 4 out of 5 stars

Todays composers in China are achieving east-west fusion with none of the formalism of previous decades. From the wild melange of rock,jazz and classical in Tang Jianping's "Feige" to the finely crafted classicism of Chen Yi's "The Ancient Chinese Beauty", individuality and energy abound. Even 71-year-old Ma Shui-Long's "Bamboo Flute Concerto"  deftly mixes traditional Chines and western traditions with a sence of freschness. All four works make demands on virtuosity that few other than Petri could meet!
Classic Music Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Review on Chinese Recorder Concertos in Vienna based International Music Magazine " Der Neue Merker"
Der Neue Merker
07 December 2010
CHINESE RECORDER CONCERTOS – East meets West – mit Mikala Petri
OUR 6.220603
Hier entführt den interessierten Zuhörer die dänische Blockflöten-Virtuosin Mikala Petri in eine exotische Klangwelt. Begleitet wird sie von der Copenhagen Philharmonic unter der authentischen Leitung des chinesischen Dirigenten Lan Shui.
Die Konzerte stammen von vier zeitgenössischen chinesischen Komponisten: Tang Jianping (Fei Ge - Flying Song), Bright Sheng (Flute Moon), Ma Shui-Iong (Bamboo Flute Concerto) und der Komponistin Chen Yi (The Ancient Chinese Beauty – das jüngste und vielleicht interessanteste Werk, UA 4/08; mir gefiel es am besten).
Wenn es pompös wird, denkt man unwillkürlich an Dmitri Tiomkins „55 Tage in Peking", wird es stimmungsvoll elegisch, erstehen vor einem Bilder der mystischen Wälder, wie man sie in künstlerischen asiatischen Fantasy-Filmen häufig sieht. – Sehr viel Aufschlussreiches lässt sich dem beiliegenden Booklet entnehmen. Eine ungemein angenehme musikalische Chinareise!
DZ
Der Neue Merker

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
UK DK
BBC Music Magazine on UK-DK
BBC Music Magazine
04 December 2010
BBC Music Magazine

Michala Petri, fondly remembered by many as a child prodigy on the recorder, has formed a duo with the Iranian-born harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. Their second disc, as its title suggests, consists of music from Esfahani's adopted country, the UK, and Petri's native Denmark – nearly all of it written in the later 20th century as part of the recorder revival. The exception is a recent piece by Daniel Kidane Tourbillon, which is named after a component of a watch and moves with mechanical precision before running down at the end. Britain is also represented by Malcolm Arnold's well-crafted Sonatina of 1953, Gordon Jacob's fluent Sonatina  (and an Encore for Michala exploiting her ability to sing one tune while playing another), and an arrangement of Britten's unassuming Alphine Suite. The Danish works are Henning Christiansen's fresh and lively It is Spring, with hints of birdsongs on sopranino recorder, Vagn Holmboe's Sonata, idiomatically written for both instruments, and Axel Borup-Jørgensen's Fantasia, mildly modernist in its texture and gestures.
Throughout the programme, well recorded in a Copenhagen Church, Petri plays with immaculate tuning and finger technique, crisp tonguing and well-shaped melodic line; Esfahani matches her with well-judged colours and phrasing. Anthony Burton, April 2015 BBC Music Magazine
Performance 5 Stars
Recording 4 Stars
BBC Music Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Great review on Chinese Recorder Concertos in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
04 December 2010
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 07.08.2010, Nr. 181, S. 35



Seitenüberschrift: Schallplatten und Phono

Ressort: Schallplatten und Phono



Die Blockflöte kann auch sauber klingen



Es ist alles eine Frage der Atemtechnik: Neue und wiederentdeckte Konzerte mit Michala Petri und Michael Schneider.



Haben nicht längst die beiden besten Blockflötisten der älteren Generation, Michala Petri und Michael Schneider, schlagend bewiesen, dass eine exakt angepeilte Tonhöhe kein Verzicht auf Ausdruck ist? Präzise Artikulation und eine saubere Intonation sind beim Spiel auf der Blockflöte nicht nur möglich, sie sind elementar. Letztlich handelt es sich nur um bewusste Atemkontrolle! Auch, zum Beispiel, der junge Schweizer Blockflötist Maurice Steger (letzte Veröffentlichung: ein Corelli-Album mit The English Consort bei harmonia mundi) spielt lupenrein sauber und zugleich hinreißend authentisch.



Michala Petri hat längst daheim in Dänemark ihr eigenes Label gegründet, wo ihr keine A&R-Manager der Major Labels mehr ins Repertoire hineinreden. Sie spielt nur noch das, wofür sie sich selbst interessiert. Auf diese Weise kommen herrliche Überraschungsalben zustande. Petris neuestes stellt vier brillante zeitgenössische Konzertstücke aus China vor, bei denen die Blockflöte ihre Verwandtschaft mit der Bambusflöte unter Beweis stellen muss. Da wird dann, höchst kunstvoll, doch, etwa in "The Ancient Chinese Beauty" von Chen Yi, heftig vibriert und die Flatterzunge eingesetzt, werden Unschärfen zu Stilmitteln und die Töne in klagenden Glissandofiguren schräg angeschliffen. Komponisten wie Chen Yi oder Bright Cheng gehörten zur ersten Studenten-Generation, die nach der Kulturrevolution am Pekinger Konservatorium anfingen; sie waren Mitglieder der legendären "Klasse von 1978", die ihren ganz eigenen, vitalen Weg fand zwischen westlicher Avantgarde und chinesischer Tradition. Es swingt in diesen Stücken, die erfrischend originell sind, malerisch musikantisch, zuweilen sogar frech und witzig. Der Schwierigkeitsgrad für das Soloinstrument ist sagenhaft, wunderbar die Vielfalt der Farben und Forme(l)n, die die Blockflöte hier bieten muss.




"East meets West". Chinesische Blockflötenkonzerte von Bright Sheng, Tang Jianping, Chen Yi und Ma Shui-long. Michala Petri, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Lan Shui. OUR recordings 6.220603 (Naxos)



Alle Rechte vorbehalten. (c) F.A.Z. GmbH, Frankfurt am Main

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
UK DK
Great 10/10/10 review on UK-DK in Klassik Heute
Klassik Heute Magazine
29 November 2010
Was für eine schöne Idee, dänische und britische Werke des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts für Blockflöte und Cembalo miteinander zu kombinieren!
Seit einiger Zeit konzertieren die dänische Blockflötenvirtuosin Michala Petri und der in London lebende, persische Cembalist Mahan Esfahani zusammen als Duo. Ihre Debüt-Veröffentlichung als Ensemble mit Corelli-Sonaten fand sogleich größte Beachtung und einmütigen Beifall in der Fachwelt. Für beide Musiker war und ist die Zeitgenössische Musik ein essentieller Bestandteil ihres Repertoires. Im Laufe ihrer bereits über fünf Jahrzehnte währenden Musikerkarriere ist Michala Petri vielen bedeutenden Komponisten begegnet und konnte viele von ihnen für ihr Instrument begeistern. Eine enge Zusammenarbeit und persönliche Freundschaft verband sie auch mit zwei großen dänischen Komponisten der Gegenwart: Vagn Holmboe und Axel Borup-Jørgensen, dessen komplette Blockflötenmusik sie kürzlich ebenso auf dem Label OUR Recordings veröffentlicht hat.

Stilistisch präsentiert sich die vorliegende Einspielung äußerst vielseitig. Der große britische Komponist Sir Malcolm Arnold schrieb einige Werke eigens für Michala Petri. Die hier eingespielte Sonatine aus dem Jahr 1962 jedoch entstand noch bevor sich beide kennengelernt hatten. Ursprünglich für Blockflöte und Klavier gedacht, präsentieren Petri und Esfahani das Stück in einer vom Komponisten ausdrücklich angeregten und gutgeheißenen Version für Blockflöte und Cembalo, die ihren eigenen klanglichen Reiz entfaltet. Als ganz zauberhaftes kleines musikalisches Juwel entpuppt sich Henning Christiansens It is Spring. Der Komponist, ein Freund der Familie, schrieb diese humorvolle Frühlingsmusik mit kapriziösen Appoggiaturen im Jahr 1970. Gordon Jacob komponierte schon früh auf Anregung des englischen Blockflöten-Enthusiasten Carl Dolmetsch für die Blockflöte. Seine bekannte Suite zählt inzwischen zu den meistgespielten Klassikern des Blockflötenrepertoires. Ein Jahr vor seinem Tod schrieb er – 88-jährig – eigens für Michala Petri eine Sonatine und ein Encore, die hier zu hören sind, Musik von herrlich lyrischer Kantabilität, die Michala Petri mit ihrer warmen Tongebung zum Blühen bringt. Auch Vagn Holmboe, der große dänische Sinfoniker, schrieb einige Werke für Michala, u.a. ein Konzert, ein Trio für Blockflöte, Cembalo und Violoncello sowie die vorliegende Sonate aus dem Jahr 1980. Dieses Werk setzt die musikalischen Mittel und die Klangwelt des wenige Jahre zuvor entstandenen Trios fort und integriert auf betörend natürliche Weise auch besondere Effekte wie etwa das gleichzeitige Singen und Spielen, ein wunderbar idiomatisches und musikantisches Werk! Tourbillon, der Beitrag des jüngsten Komponisten der CD, des 1986 geborenen britischen Shooting Stars Daniel Kidane, ist eigens für Michala und Mahans CD entstanden, ein teils verstörend monomanisches, um sich selbst kreisendes, teils fragmentarisches Werk von hohem virtuosem Anspruch, aber auch mit durchaus lyrischen Momenten. Zwar hat Kidanes berühmter Landsmann Benjamin Britten ursprünglich kein Werk für die Duobesetzung komponiert (obwohl ihn der bereits eingangs erwähnte Carl Dolmetsch mehrfach darum gebeten hatte), Michala und Mahans Idee aber, Brittens 1955 während eines Skiurlaubs in den Schweizer Bergen entstandenes kleines Blockflötentrio Alpine Suite für Blockflöte und Cembalo einzurichten, ist überaus gelungen. Den dänischen Gegenpart zu Kidanes Tourbillon stellt Axel Borup-Jørgensens überaus anspruchsvolle Fantasia aus dem Jahr 1988 dar, eine Komposition von ureigener klanglich-musikalischer Ästhetik, deren Schönheit sich dem Hörer erst ganz allmählich erschließt. Gordon Jacobs Encore for Michala beschließt das Programm rührend und versöhnlich.
Petri und Esfahani ergänzen einander musikalisch auf das Schönste. Tonmeister Preben Iwan gab dem Duo ein auch klanglich perfektes Ambiente, die informativen Booklettexte von Joshua Cheek und das geschmackvolle Artwork lassen keine Wünsche offen.
Eine fabelhafte Produktion, die ebenso vergnüglich wie mit Gewinn zu hören ist. Auf eine Fortsetzung darf man gespannt sein!

Heinz Braun
(25.05.2015)

Wertung 10 / 10 / 10

Klassik Heute Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Movements
New US review on Movements in Fanfare Magazine
Fanfare Magazine
17 November 2010
If your idea of a recorder concerto hasn't progressed beyond the Baroque, "Movements"— will be a revelation, for here are three large-scale works that place the instrument firmly in the 21st century. Amargòs's Northern Concerto is astonishing for its color, brilliant orchestration, and sheer sweep. The intoxicating opening theme, the fluid mix of tumultuous and lightly textured orchestral writing, allowing the enthusiastic piping of the recorder to be heard without strain, and the sophisticated, yet earthy rhythms confer immediate, sensuous delight. Stunning clarity and an exceptionally animated performance by soloist and orchestra—a tribute to the conductor's skill as well as to his players' virtuoso technique—unite in a sonic spectacular. I couldn't help but respond to Amargòs's exuberance, especially given my fondness for splashy, exotically tinged music. Pipes and Bells, Daniel Börtz's one-movement concerto, opens with a mysterious passage that's followed by rhythmically charged outbursts and moments of pastoral poetry. The recorder's soft "cuckoo, cuckoo" seems to emerge from and then recede into a mist as the music fades away. Writing about it, Hannibal explains that "Bortz responded to Michala's wish to explore new and stronger dynamics, recently made possible thanks to some newly acquired instruments: he wrote dramatic dynamic changes and quick passages for the large and usually soft tenor recorder; conversely, the small, normally penetrating and aggressive sopranino is asked to produce soft, long-held tones. This approach affected not only the contrast between the two instruments, but also the extreme dynamics between the soloist and the orchestra, through a mixture of soft, delicate and angelic passages and loud, almost diabolical passages." Steven Stucky's Etudes is much more sophisticated than the titles of its movements—"Scales," "Glides," and "Arpeggios"—might suggest. Alternately puckish, languorous, and jaunty, it's consistently colorful and inventive: the inspired orchestration always provides a perfect foil for Petri's agile, atmospheric playing. In sum, this is a fabulous disc, filled with wonderful music and performances that enlarge our appreciation of the recorder's possibilities.
Fanfare Magazine
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