all reviews
Michala Petri, recorder
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Garden Party
If you're looking for something that's relaxing but not soporific, and music that won't make you feel talked down to, Garden Party is heartily recommended.
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare US
02 August 2017
Michala Petri never sleeps. This must be the third CD of hers that I have reviewed in the last 12 months. I have yet to hear anything from her, however, that sounds routine or casual, so I have no reason to complain. Bring 'em on, Ms. Petri!

This CD is identified as a collection of character pieces, defined (in the Oxford Dictionary, and quoted in the booklet note) as “A short composition intended to evoke a given mood, atmosphere, scene, etc. by purely musical means rather through text or dramatic action.” For Petri, such works, because they bear a descriptive title, let audience members know what the composer had in mind, and therefore listeners are made to feel “safe.” In this way, a shared listening experience is created. Petri also writes about her 25 years of performing with Lars Hannibal, who was not just her musical partner but also her marriage partner up until 2010. They have made many CDs together and this one, although Petri plays a starring role, nevertheless reveals the ongoing sympathy and support that they have for each other as musicians.

Asger Lund Christiansen's Garden Party, a suite of six sketches based on birds (the blackbird, the chaffinch, etc.) was composed for Petri and Hannibal. It's a charmer, and I particularly liked how the cuckoo, more clueless than aggressive, has the very last word in his duet with the wagtail, as if he hasn't realized that the piece has ended! The works by Nielsen and Grieg were composed for piano. The former's Humoresque Bagatelles sound very unlike Nielsen, and I suppose that's because a) they are early works; and b) they were composed for children. They work beautifully when played on a recorder and a guitar. The selection of five Grieg works is described as “Lyric Pieces,” but to be picky about it, I think several of them actually are from that composer's Op. 17 collection of 25 Norwegian Folk Songs and Dances. Because the recorder is, in a sense, a folk instrument, music in a folk style is particularly well suited to it.

Listening to these selections by Christiansen, Nielsen, and Grieg I was reminded of those beloved old “Duets With Spanish Guitar” LPs in which guitarist Laurindo Almeida partnered with flutist Martin Ruderman. Petri and Hannibal give off very similar “good vibes.”

Lalo's Fantasie, probably most familiar in its version for violin and orchestra, also exists in a version for violin and piano. It has never seemed particularly Norwegian to me, and it seems even less so in this version for recorder and guitar, but that doesn't matter, given how nicely Petri and Hannibal play it. It has plenty of atmosphere; just don't expect Scandinavia!

I would have thought that Hannibal's two pieces were composed for him and Petri. Surprise—he wrote them for a chamber ensemble. Dreams was inspired by Satie's Gymnopédies, and, more indirectly, so was Summer Dance. These are lovely, quiet works, and they exert a hypnotic charm.

The closing work is Zhang Weiliang's adaptation of a traditional Chinese tune whose title is translated as “Flowering [Blossoming?] Flowers at the River Ge.” It is unclear if Zhang Weiliang composed it for recorder and guitar or for some other instruments, but indeed, the recorder imitates Chinese bamboo flutes and the guitar imitates the pipa, the traditional Chinese lute. It brings Garden Party to a quiet and somewhat mysterious close—just perfect!

Petri, as usual, plays several recorders on this CD, and Hannibal's guitar gets a page to itself. Both “guitar nerds” (Hannibal's phrase, not mine!) and recorder nerds will experience frissons of quiet delight when they attend this Garden Party. You don't need to be in either of those groups to be delighted with it as well. This is not a recital that needs to be analyzed. It was meant to be enjoyed, and there's nothing about the music or the performances that would get in the way of that. If you're looking for something that's relaxing but not soporific, and music that won't make you feel talked down to, Garden Party is heartily recommended.
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare US

Michala Petri, recorder
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Garden Party
These extraordinary artists would seem to be incapable of anything less than the superlative.
Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare US
31 July 2017
 The garden party of the title turns out to be an anniversary party: 25 years together for the recorder/guitar duo of Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal. They played their first concert together, we are told, in Andalusia, Spain in 1992.

Now, after more than 1500 concerts in venues all over the world, they are, as I write this, on an extended tour through Denmark and into Germany to celebrate the years of playing together. Some would have chosen a champagne toast over an exhausting series of two dozen plus concerts and masterclasses in the next few weeks, but perhaps the champagne will happen, too. And this in addition to the many demands of running their jointly owned record label, OUR Recordings. Some people have all the energy.

The duo’s 20th anniversary was observed, a bit early, with the 2011 release Virtuoso Baroque (OUR Recordings), exploring a particularly rich vein of their work together. This time they have taken a turn to the lighter side, offering a collection of character pieces, mostly by Scandinavian composers, that have played an important role in concerts through the years.

Most originated as piano works, such as Nielsen’s six charming Humoresque-Bagatelles, op. 11, written, it is believed, for his children. These translate easily to recorder and guitar. Grieg’s many character pieces were a natural for this program, with their descriptive titles, jaunty rhythms, and folkish appeal. Édouard Lalo’s Fantasie norvégienne for violin and orchestra was written for Pablo de Sarasate after the violinist provided him with a collection of Scandinavian folksongs. Apparently a tune by Grieg snuck in there, as well. It was first was transcribed by Petri for recorder and orchestra, with some changes in register and small adjustments to the line to accommodate her instrument. It was then transformed into this more intimate form by Lars Hannibal, who crafted all of the guitar arrangements on this disc.

As in an earlier recording of this duo version, with Hannibal and violinist Kim Sjøgren (also OUR Recordings), the virtuoso showpiece proves surprisingly effective when played with guitar accompaniment.

Garden Party, the title work, is inspired by birds that friend Asger Lund Christiansen has encountered on forest walks. He avoids the obvious by characterizing the birds portrayed as much as imitating the songs. The six brief avian portraits—clever and amiable—were written for the duo in 1992. Two evocative works by Hannibal are also included. Originally written for the unusual quartet of violin, trumpet, double bass, and electric lute, they are here performed on recorder (alto, tenor, and bass) and acoustic guitar, a combination that seems perfect for these delicate, warm-hearted works.

The program ends with a reminder of the Petri/Hannibal Duo’s work with Chinese musicians: a realization of an ancient melancholy Chinese melody by Chinese flute master Zhang Weiliang. It is arranged here for Western instruments, but with an appreciation for Eastern aesthetics and technique. The result is both exotic and deeply moving.

Little needs to be said of the performances themselves. These extraordinary artists would seem to be incapable of anything less than the superlative. They clearly have lavished the same attention on these delightful trifles as on any imposing modern score they have tackled together, and their affection and delight is contagious.

Program notes on the duo, the project, and the music are provided by Michala Petri: interesting, but an odd inference that the Lalo Fantaisie has only recently been rediscovered by their doing is perplexing. Though hardly popular, and overshadowed by the Rhapsodie norvégienne which Lalo partially based on it, it has been recorded a number of times, first by Jacques Thibaud in 1930. And if anyone could be said to have “rediscovered” it, it would be Ruggiero Ricci, who recorded it with orchestra in the late 1970s (Vox). There are also some oddities in the listing of the Grieg works—they are all identified as Lyric Pieces, though only one actually bears that title—and a couple of opus numbers are mixed up between works. The headnote above has them correctly cited.

None of that diminishes an iota the pure enjoyment to be realized from this wonderful program, recorded in the superb sound we have come to expect from this label. You have been invited to share in a special celebration of a duo of uncommon brilliance and heart, and your attendance is eagerly encouraged.
Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare US

Michala Petri, recorder
Marilyn Mazur, percussion
Brazilian Landscapes
I enjoyed this attempt to highlight a particular crossover movement
Lark Reviews,- UK
24 July 2017
A light and enjoyable collection of music from a variety of Brazilian composers this CD seeks to demonstrate the links and interplay between the classical world (represented by Villa-Lobos) and the popular (represented by Jobim) to form a “third stream” of popular music with classical influences taken up by contemporary Brazilian composers. None of this music was known to me and I enjoyed this attempt to highlight a particular crossover movement, although at times I might have wished for a slightly more varied instrumentation to cover a whole CD.
Lark Reviews,- UK

Michala Petri, recorder
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Garden Party
Garden Party is a wonderful celebration of a quarter century of the Petri/Hannibal duo
Dave Saemann, Fanfare US
24 July 2017
Part of recorder player Michala Petri's appeal as a concert artist, apart from her musicianship and stunning virtuosity, is that she is a beautiful woman. With the years, she has grown more beautiful in body and soul. I'm sure the two are connected.

Recently I had the pleasure of reviewing Petri's vibrant and evocative album Brazilian Landscapes, featuring percussionist Marilyn Mazur and Brazilian guitarist Daniel Murray. Now, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Petri's duo with guitarist Lars Hannibal, they have released Garden Party, a collection of character pieces. The guitar parts have been arranged by Hannibal, except for the title work, Garden Party, which was written for Petri and Hannibal by the Danish cellist and composer Asger Lund Christiansen.

Petri says that she enjoys playing character pieces in her recitals, because their titles give the audience an idea of what to expect and puts them at ease, so they can be emotionally responsive to the music. Petri also likes the fact that character pieces typically possess a humorous element, which encourages the artist to play with more exaggeration than in a standard concert work. For proof of Petri's delicious sense of humor, I direct you to her YouTube video of Vittorio Monti's Czardas accompanied hilariously by Victor Borge, at the latter's 80th birthday concert.

Garden Party is an admirable album, not merely for its repertoire, but also for the collective wit and wisdom of two performers who have trod the boards together for a good part of their lives. They are gentle souls whose artistry deserves to be cherished.

Carl Nielsen's Humoresque Bagatelles originally are lovely and charming piano miniatures. Petri's evocation of "The Spinning Top" makes one dizzy. "A Short Slow Waltz" is treated to a beautifully lyrical interpretation. "Puppet March" is a delightfully balletic work of youthful fantasy. "The Musical Clock" could be the score for a music box. Hannibal's warmly atmospheric Dreams has the deceptive simplicity of Satie. Edouard Lalo's Fantasie Norvégienne weaves a rich tapestry of Norwegian folk melodies. Petri demonstrates her expressive range in this work, originally written for Pablo de Sarasate. In the final movement, Petri's playing has the feel of a game of hopscotch. Garden Party is a cheeky title by Christiansen for a collection of pieces about birds. "The Blackbird" paces the ground with a certain solemnity. One can see "The Peacock's" herky jerky movements, including the instant of shock when it spreads its feathers. "The Lark" soars with brilliant sound in the recorder part. There's a touch of Herbie Mann in Hannibal's Sunset Dance. In the selections from Edvard Grieg's Lyric Pieces, the "Elve's Dance" is filled with Petri's stunning, quicksilver virtuosity. By contrast, her ease in "Cattle Call" summons up the pastoral life. She almost seems to be playing a penny whistle in "Stumping Dance."

Flowering Flowers at the River Ge is an ancient Chinese melody recently discovered and realized by Zhang Weiliang. It ends the program with musical speech from a different and distant culture. The sound engineering on the album's CD layer is excellent. I was unable to hear the surround sound program.

Garden Party is a wonderful celebration of a quarter century of the Petri/Hannibal duo. Here's wishing them another twenty-five years of eloquent music making together. Highly recommended.
Dave Saemann, Fanfare US

Michala Petri, recorder
Marilyn Mazur, percussion
Brazilian Landscapes
So convincing are these performances.
perkustooth, NewMusicBluff (US)
17 July 2017
Petri Goes Brazilian
Since her debut in 1969 at the tender age of 11 Danish born recorder virtuoso Michala Petri has been one of the finest masters of the recorder.  This ancient instrument, a forerunner of the flute, has existed since the Middle Ages and has amassed a huge repertoire and Petri seems to have demonstrated mastery over all of it and has been an advocate and promoter of new music for her instrument as well.  She has inspired composers to write new works for her and she continues to entertain audiences and has assembled an ever growing discography of startling range and diversity.  Nearly single handed she has managed to honor past repertoire and firmly ensconce this instrument in the 21st century.
In this release, produced by Lars Hannibal (himself a fine guitarist and frequent Petri collaborator) Petri takes on the music of Brazil and, despite the fact that recorders have seldom found their way into the music of this geographic region, she delivers a convincing and hugely entertaining program on this disc.  Along with Marilyn Mazur on percussion and Daniel Murray on guitar the listener is given an entertaining cross section of Brazilian music ranging from the more classically oriented work of Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) and Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934) to the smooth jazz/pop sounds of Antonio Carlos Jobim (1925-1994) and Egberto Gismonti (1947- ).  In between are included works by the album’s guitarist Daniel Murray (1981- ) and a few names unfamiliar to this reviewer including Paulo Porto Alegre (1953- ), Paulo Bellinati (1950- ), Hermeto Pascoal (1936- ), and Antonio Ribero (1971- ).
There is a remarkable unity in this Danish production which stems from a meeting between producer Lars Hannibal and Daniel Murray in Vienna in 2014.  Hannibal’s ear found a kindred spirit whose musicality is a good match for that of Petri.  And like a good chef he added the delicate and necessary spice of the tastefully understated (but extraordinary) percussionist Marilyn Mazur to create a unique trio that sounds as though they’ve played together for years.  Here’s hoping that they’ve secretly recorded enough material for a second album.
All the tracks appear to be transcriptions though the transcriber is not named (I’m guessing they’re collaborative).  What’s nice is that there is nothing artificial or uncomfortable about these arrangements.  The overall impression left is that of a skilled ensemble and listeners encountering the original forms of these works might well assume those to be the transcriptions.  So convincing are these performances.

One last thing.  The sound.  This super audio CD release was engineered by Mikkel Nymand and Preben Iwan and the sound is fabulous.  I don’t have a machine that can read the super audio tracks on this hybrid disc but what I can hear is a lucid recording which embraces the subtleties of this unique ensemble.  Enjoy! 
perkustooth, NewMusicBluff (US)

Michala Petri, recorder
Jean Thorel, conductor
A Pacifying Weapon [LP]
Sean Hickey
Hun spiller som sædvanlig fremragende i det kvasi-avantgardistiske stykke, hvor også de øvrige medvirkende gør sig glimrende gældende.
Peter Dürrfeld, Kristeligt Dagblad, Denmark
28 June 2017
Kristeligt Dagblad (DK)
Michala Petri på Vinyl (4 stjerner)
Lp- pladen har gennem de senere år fået en betydelig renæssance, eller som en yngre musiker for nylig sagde til mig ”Vinyl er hip”. Nu kan man også opleve den berømte danske Michala Petri på en nyudgivet grammofonplade, produceret af det driftige selskab OUR Recordings.
Hovednummeret er intet mindre end en verdenspremiere, nemlig det tresatsede værk A Pacifying Weapon skrevet af den amerikanske komponist Sean Hickey (født 1970). På bagsiden af lp´en redegør han personligt for baggrunden for og indholdet af sit nye værk for blokfløjte, blæsere, messing, percussion og harpe. Hicjey er blevet inspireret af et album med Indigo Girls, specielt et nummer med tiltlen ”Welcome Me”. Det hører med til historien, at indspilningen har involveret en international gruppe af studerende på det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium, der bliver dirigeret af Jean Thorel – og at værket er didikeret Michala Petri.
Hun spiller som sædvanlig fremragende i det kvasi-avantgardistiske stykke, hvor også de øvrige medvirkende gør sig glimrende gældende. De tre satser har en varighed på en lille halv times tid, og man har derfor meget rimeligt fået plads til en såkaldt Concertino for blokfløjte og strygere af Thomas Clausen, et lille åndfuldt værk, der godt kunne have fortjent et par ord med på bagsiden, lp-formatet giver jo rigelig plads hertil. Lydkvaliteten er takket være Preben Iwan oh hans team aldeles glimrende.
Peter Dürrfeld, Kristeligt Dagblad, Denmark

Michala Petri, recorder
Marilyn Mazur, percussion
Brazilian Landscapes
10/10/10 in Klassik Heute on Brazilian Landscapes
Heinz Braun, Klassik Heute
27 June 2017
Klassik Heute (Germany) (10/10/10)
Die Farbigkeit und Vielfalt der Landschaft und Ethnien des größten Landes Südamerikas hat von jeher die Musik Brasiliens beeinflusst. So spiegeln und vermischen sich in der brasilianischen Kunstmusik des 20. Jahrhunderts europäische, afrikanische und indigene Wurzeln zu einem, eben originär brasilianischen, Stil.
Michala Petris neueste CD ist, um es vorwegzunehmen, ein großer Wurf! Zusammen mit ihren kongenialen Partnern, dem phänomenalen brasilianischen Gitarristen und Komponisten Daniel Murray und der nicht weniger eindrucksvollen dänisch-amerikanischen (Jazz-)Perkussionistin Marilyn Mazur präsentiert sie in ihrem, mit fast 72 Minuten Spieldauer gut gefüllten Album ein breites Spektrum brasilianischer Musik der Gegenwart in wunderbar stimmigen Arrangements für Blockflöte, Gitarre und Percussion. Mit dabei selbstverständlich zwei der „Klassiker“: Antonio Carlos Jobim (Brasiliens bedeutendster Komponist populärer Musik) sowie Heitor Villa-Lobos, der international bekannteste Schöpfer brasilianischer klassischer Musik. Aber auch jüngere Komponisten sind vertreten, darunter u.a. mit drei Stücken auch der Gitarrist Daniel Murray.
Blockflöte und Gitarre sind eine geradezu ideale Kombination (und es existieren eine ganze Reihe hervorragender Originalwerke für diese Besetzung). Ergänzt durch die große Zahl der eingesetzten Perkussionsinstrumente, die zuweilen fast eine mysteriöse Amazonas-Urwald-Atmosphäre kreieren, entsteht ein Klangspektrum, dessen unwiderstehlichem Charme man sich kaum entziehen kann: Heiße Rhythmen, stimmungsvoller Groove und Interpreten vom Feinsten!
Eine Gute-Laune-CD voller Überraschungen – zum Hinhören und Chillen. Ideal für laue Sommerabende. 
Heinz Braun, Klassik Heute

Michala Petri, recorder
Jean Thorel, conductor
A Pacifying Weapon [LP]
Sean Hickey
. Petri, the recorder's reigning goddess, is doing much to expand that instrument's modern repertoire.
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare (US)
31 May 2017
 
HICKEY A Pacifying Weapon.1 CLAUSEN Concertino for Recorder and Strings21,2Michala Petri (rcr); 1Jean Thorel, 2Clemens Schuldt, cond; 1Royal Danish Academy of Music Concert Band; 2Lapland CO ● OUR OUR-LP001 (LP: 41:50)
            Although his music has been discussed in Fanfare previously, Sean Hickey probably deserves a few words of introduction. He was born in Detroit in 1970, played the electric guitar when he was in high school, and studied music composition at Wayne State University. The first commercial recording of his work was released by Naxos in 2005, and it was reviewed a year later (Fanfare 29:4) by Phillip Scott, who found it “enjoyable” but not essential. Since then, there have been two releases on Delos. Lynn René Bayley (Fanfare 38:1) opened her review of one of them with a real humdinger: “For a composer who came out of the puerile musical background of rock music (when he was 12, he owned 'a stack of Van Halen records'), Sean Hickey's music has a great deal of sophistication.” Ouch.
            A Pacifying Weapon (the title comes from a lyric by the, tee hee, puerile band Indigo Girls) was commissioned by and dedicated to Michala Petri. In his sleeve note (it feels funny to write that in 2017, but this is an LP, not a CD), Hickey talks about all the crappy things that were happening in 2015. He hit upon the idea of a sort of atomic bomb in reverse—one that would cause not sudden death but “instant and irreversible peace.” (Actually, a sufficiently large atomic bomb would produce just that, but none of us would be around to enjoy it.) One wonders if Hickey ever saw the terrific Cold War-era film “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” with its memorable Bernard Herrmann score. Anyway, Hickey's score is a concerto for recorder, winds, brass, percussion, and harp, and is not strictly programmatic, although the first two movements, and most of the third, convey varying degrees of tension, conflict, and desolation. Eventually, the third conveys the possibility of peace, with the recorder serving as its harbinger. An authentic Highland reel is introduced, but what initially sounds innocuous and cheerful eventually is revealed as threatening, when the recorder and a snare drum confront each other. At the end, there is a stand-off. I am glad that Hickey did not resolve the confrontation with the facile waving of an olive branch. That would have been unrealistic. This is nicely crafted music that seems made to order for Petri's recorders (she plays several in this work) and the percussion instruments that were available in the Royal Danish Academy of Music. (Hickey thanks its director, Gert Mortensen, also a fine percussionist, for an afternoon exploring the Academy's holdings.) This probably is one of those works that needs to be seen as much as heard. I found it entertaining and communicative, but maybe not something that will make a lasting impression. We shall see. I have no doubts about the excellence of the performance. Petri, the recorder's reigning goddess, is doing much to expand that instrument's modern repertoire. Thanks for that, but let's hope she keeps exploring the Baroque repertoire, because plenty of work remains to be done there as well.
            The LP is filled out with the “bonus” of Clausen's Concertino. Because it uses a string orchestra, it is a sensible foil for A Pacifying Weapon. I think that this is the same recording that I reviewed last year (Fanfare 39:3) when it was issued on a CD with other works dedicated to the memory of composer Axel Borup-Jørgensen. At that time, I wrote, “Thomas Clausen’s Neoclassical Concertino is the very model of mental health and Nordic body culture: 20 more minutes of calisthenics and everyone into the sauna! Its Largo is cool and lovely, and its closing Rondo a bracing showpiece for Petri and her little recorder.” Compared to A Pacifying Weapon, it is emotionally uncomplicated, but it is not an easy piece for the recorder. Of course Petri makes light of its difficulties.
            I reviewed this not as an LP but as an mp3 sent to me by OUR Recordings. I was a little skeptical about how it would sound, but it sounded great, and I expect the LP will sound even better. For those not equipped to play an LP, perhaps a CD version will appear sooner or later. 
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare (US)

Michala Petri, recorder
Marilyn Mazur, percussion
Brazilian Landscapes
The Brazilians must have a secret for getting oil to mix with water!
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare (US)
31 May 2017
Fanfare 3. review
BRAZILIAN LANDSCAPES ● Michala Petri (rcr); Daniel Murray (gtr); Marilyn Mazur (perc) ● OUR 6.220618 (71:11)
PORTO ALEGRE Sonhos I & II. BELLINATI Jongo. Pingue-Pongue. JOBIM Olha Maria. MURRAY Cauteloso. Canção e Dança. NAZARETH Fon-Fon. GISMONTI Karatê. A Fala da Paixão. PASCOAL São Jorge. RIBEIRO VIII Miniaturas. VILLA-LOBOS Choros No. 2. Choros No. 5 (Alma Brasileira)
            Most people will file this release as a recorder CD; after all, it has Michala Petri's name on it, and she must be the most indefatigable recorder player in action today. Nevertheless, it's really an equal collaboration between Ms. Petri, Danish-American percussionist and composer Marilyn Mazur, and Brazilian guitarist and composer Daniel Murray. All of the arrangements are by Murray, but because the music has a nicely relaxed air to it, one might guess that all three musicians were improvising a bit as the recording sessions went on, although I am not saying that that definitely was the case.
                Brazilian Landscapes treads the sometimes fuzzy border between classical music and semi-classical or even popular music. For that reason, it is a bit of a departure for Petri, but that's OK. In the case of the present program, that border seems particularly fuzzy. Most people would call Heitor Villa-Lobos a classical composer, but they might not bestow that title on Ernesto Nazareth (because most of his works are in dance genres), and they probably would leave Antônio Carlos Jobin out of the classical genre entirely, given his reputation as a jazz musician. (Everyone knows “The Girl from Ipanema,” although she does not make an appearance on this CD.) As you listen to this CD, you probably won't be thinking “that's classical” and “that's not.” Instead, the program is characterized by its stylistic continuity, which is not to say that it is monotonous. That continuity comes partly from the character of  Brazilian music, and partly from the unfussy approach taken by Petri, Murray, and Mazur.
                The program is effectively bracketed by the two impressionistic Sonhos (Dreams) by Paulo Porto Alegre. Unusual percussion effects in these two tracks make me wish that I could see what Mazur was doing. In between, there is much to enjoy: sonic environments that are languid and sensual; unexpected rhythmic juxtapositions; beckoning melodies; and piquant, yet always comforting, harmonies. One piece that works particularly well for these three musicians is Nazareth's nervously syncopated Brazilian tango Fon-Fon. (Elsewhere, its title has been translated as “Toot-Toot.” The sheet music is headed with a cartoon of two men in a flivver, and a little boy scurrying to get out its way.) Anyone attempting to dance to it as if it were a traditional tango will end up tripping on his or her shoelaces. Daniel Murray's Dança (Dance) is another bizarre delight, in terms of rhythm; all three instruments seem to be doing their own thing in their own time, and yet they mysterious come together to form a satisfying whole. The Brazilians must have a secret for getting oil to mix with water!
                As I write this, it's almost June, and the weather in Virginia is getting warmer. This seems like a good time to think about South America, and also about vacationing in Denmark. Brazilian Landscapes lets you do both at the same time!
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare (US)

Michala Petri, recorder
Jean Thorel, conductor
A Pacifying Weapon [LP]
Sean Hickey
played with exceptional flair and precision by Ms. Petri, all that the composer could possibly hope for.
Robert Carl, Fanfare US
29 May 2017
Robert Carl, Fanfare US

Michala Petri, recorder
Marilyn Mazur, percussion
Brazilian Landscapes
Colorful music, exquisitely played and recorded: I can’t imagine a more engaging way to spend an hour that doesn’t involve flying down to Rio
Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare (US)
28 May 2017
Collections: Ensemble
BRAZILIAN LANDSCAPES  —  Michala Petri (rcr); Daniel Murray (gtr); Marilyn Mazur (perc)1 —  OUR RECORDINGS 6.220618 (SACD: 71:11)
ALEGRE 1Sonhos. BELLINATI 1Jongo. Pingue-Pongue. JOBIM Olha Maria (Amparo). DANIEL MURRAY 1Cauteloso. 1Canção e Dança. NAZARETH 1Fon-Fon. GISMONTI 1Karatê. 1A Fala da Paixão. PASCOAL 1São Jorge. RIBEIRO 7 Miniatures. VILLA-LOBOS Choros: No. 2. No. 5, “Alma Brasileira”
 
Those who know Danish recorder virtuoso extraordinaire Michala Petri primarily for her Baroque music recording or for her advocacy of often challenging new music, might be a little surprised by a release of Brazilian works that ride the line—admittedly faint in Brazil—between classical and popular. If so, perhaps those persons missed Siesta, an absolutely delightful disc that she and guitarist Lars Hannibal released in 2006. That disc included several works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, whose music is—to use the term of annotator and composer Paulo Bellinati—one of two pillars of Brazilian music: the classical one. The earlier CD offered Latin-flavored works by a number of well-known composers from Piazzolla to Ravel, all in stylish arrangements.
This new release is different in a couple ways from this predecessor. First, it focuses on the music of this one country and, beyond “pillars” Villa-Lobos and Antonio Carlos Jobim—the popular music side of this symbiotic arrangement—on to a later generation of composers whose music feels the influence of both. The other is the addition of percussion to the guitar/recorder duo. In several of the works, such as Paulo Porto Alegre’s simple vocalise Sonhos (Dreams), played twice here as bookends for the program, improvised percussion creates atmosphere and a touch of the uncanny.
The percussion, provided by drummer/composer/bandleader Marilyn Mazur—American-born but living in Denmark for many years—colors a number of the works besides the Alegre. In Paulo Bellinati’s Jongo, arranged from the original for guitar duo, her percussion line adds the West African flavor of the dance’s origins and finishes with an extended demonstration of fine African drumming. Brazilian guitarist/composer (and third member of the trio) Daniel Murray’s Canção e Dança—originally for solo guitar—gets similar treatment: subtle at first in the song and with more abandon in the dance. Mazur adds drive to the good-humored (and often-played) Karatê by Egberto Gismonti, and delicate atmosphere to his signature piano solo A Fala da Paixão (Passion Talk) with light metallic percussion and wind chimes. She offers similar coloristic touches to Hermeto Pascoal’s São Jorge.
Every work, with and without percussion, has been significantly rethought for the program.Antônio Ribeiro’s piquant but thoroughly agreeable miniatures and Villa-Lobos’s Alma Brasileira, both originally for piano, and others for guitar duo or even—Villa-Lobos’s Choros No. 2—flute and clarinet duo, have all been arranged by Daniel Murray.
 Purists may prefer originals, but there is no denying the charm and beauty of these works, or the skill with which they are arranged and played. There are brief but helpful notes on the origins and short bios of the performers. Topping it off is the superb sound to which we have become accustomed from this label. Note in particular the lovely percussion transients caught at extraordinary DXD resolution, providing smooth, open, nearly tangible aural images of the performers, especially in the SACD layer. Colorful music, exquisitely played and recorded: I can’t imagine a more engaging way to spend an hour that doesn’t involve flying down to Rio
Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare (US)

Michala Petri, recorder
Jean Thorel, conductor
A Pacifying Weapon [LP]
Sean Hickey
A most interesting recording.
Colin Clarke Fanfare US
28 May 2017
LP Review
 
HICKEY A Pacifying Weapon CLAUSEN Concertino for Recorder and Strings  — Michala Petri (rcrs); 1Jean Thorel, 2Clemens Schuldt, conds; 1Royal Danish Academy of Music Concert Band; 2Lapland CO — OUR LP-001 (41:50)
 
This is an LP release on 180g vinyl, auditioned for the purposes of review via a sequence of MP3 files. The sound was mastered by Preben Iwan in DXD format (352.8 kHz/32 bit sound) and is available in a number of formats for download. American composer Sean Hickey (born 1970) has written a concerto for recorders, winds, brass and extended percussion section, called A Pacifying Weapon. The idea is that the recorder, with its long history, can provide “an instant and irreversible peace,” an idea that came from a lyric of a song by the Indigo Girls.
The concept of recorder with (or indeed against) modern symphony orchestra is an intriguing one indeed. Especially as Hickey’s piece begins with an orchestral war cry approached via various snake-like melodic configurations. The recorder responds initially solo before being joined by its woodwind brethren. The scoring is in fact, masterly and often magical. There is a presence to the recording, too (the brass and percussion in particular). Petri’s virtuosity is predictably impeccable; it is the way that she maintains dialog with the complex orchestral part that truly impresses though. The atmospherics at the opening of the central panel are palpable, and there are moments of attractive rhythmic swing in amongst the more frozen sections. Petri is highly expressive. The percussion, assembled with the help of the expert Gert Mortensen, come into their own in the crescendos that open the finale; so does the recording: listen to the presence not just of the brass but of the percussion “comments” at this point. Hickey uses various external themes, including a highland pipe tune (there is no missing it in the finale when it arrives). But this finale is no mere whistler’s holiday: the finale, and the work as a whole, includes plateaux of real depth. This is music to “silence the madness of violence” in the face of the recent (and sadly seemingly continuing) atrocities around the World, whether London, Manchester, Paris, San Barnadino or Brussels. The performance of the orchestral contribution by the students of the Royal Danish Academy of Music is impeccable and exudes a focus professional orchestras might do well to emulate. A YouTube trailer is available at https://www.seanhickey.com/recordings/pacifying-weapon.
The neo-Baroque, twelve-minute Concertino by Thomas Clausen was originally released on Nordic Sound: A Tribute to Axel Borup-Jøgensen (OUR Recorings 6.220213) where it shared disc space with music by Bent Sørensen, Gudmundsen-Holmgren, Rasmussen, Christensen and finally Borup-Jørgensen himself. An interview around this disc and several others by Petri was published in Fanfare 39:2, together with reviews. Known best perhaps for his jazz activities, Clausen provides a remarkably approachable piece with which to close the listening experience. Cantabile lines in the slow movement clearly reference those of Bach in his concertos; harmonic arrivals refer that composer too, before twists remind us that all is not what it seems. The latter stages of the work are an absolute delight, with the strings of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra digging in vigorously. Petri’s flitting about right at the top of her register is positively avian.
A most interesting recording.  
Colin Clarke Fanfare US

Michala Petri, recorder
Jean Thorel, conductor
A Pacifying Weapon [LP]
Sean Hickey
" Warmly recommended" Review on A Pacifying Weapon in Fafare (US)
Ronald E.Grames, Fanfare US
25 May 2017
Fanfare 1. Review
È HICKEY A Pacifying Weapon1. T. CLAUSEN Concertino for recorder and strings2  —  1Jean Thorel, cond; 2Clemens Schuld, cond; 1Royal Danish Academy of Music Concert Band; 2Lapland CO; Michala Petri (rcr)  —  OUR RECORDINGS 001 (41:50) Reviewed from a FLAC download: 174.6 kHz/24-bit
 
Title and concept comes from the lyrics to an indie folk song, Welcome Me, by the Indigo Girls, a duo whose work is not often cited in these pages. Imagine a weapon—a pacifying weapon—the use of which brings “an instant and irreversible peace.” American composer Sean Hickey’s flight of fantasy grew from that image, as he contemplated the world in its present chaos, and tried to imagine a device, an “instrument”: something that would confront the violence and end it. It’s a beautiful dream. If it proves elusive, even in the three-movement concerto for recorder and wind ensemble that gives that aspiration voice, it is nonetheless a marvelous thing to contemplate.
In his notes, Hickey explains that he chose the recorder because of its lengthy history “as witness to the rise and fall of empires, crusades, wars, and countless births and deaths, as a musical voyeur.” It acts here as observer, but also as metaphor for the speaking of truth to power: the small voice raised against the mighty. Traditional concertos create tension by pitting the soloist against the resources of the orchestra. Hickey seemingly goes one better by arming a soloist with a threesome of diminutively voiced recorders—soprano, alto, and bass—against a moderate-sized but potent ensemble of 33: woodwinds, brass, a harp, and an imposing phalanx of percussion. True, much of the time the recorder plays alone or in combination with ensemble soloists or small sections, but at other times, the symbolic threat is very real, with the recorder overshadowed by massive waves of brass or percussion. The result is like a flower-bearing David against an implacable Goliath or better, the Tiananmen Square protestor against the tanks.
It is, however, a joy to listen without the political—or as soloist Michala Petri suggests in a YouTube trailer—the human statement proposed by the program. The sonorities are beautiful in themselves, with the various recorders high-spirited, poignant, darkly angry, or plucky. Hickey’s writing for the recorder—idiomatic and ingenious in its interactions with other instruments—draws less on the sheer virtuosity for which Petri is justly famous than on her considerable skills at musical characterization, her unparalleled ability to sustain a phrase with rock-solid pitch, and her remarkable capacity to color the sound of her instrument. The writing for brass is sonorous and the woodwinds lively and vivid. The percussion, assembled with the guidance of Gert Mortensen, world-renowned percussionist and professor at the Danish Royal Academy of Music, is imposing and full of character. All of the ensemble members are students at that conservatory, representing 11 countries—a statement in itself—and even making no allowance for their status, they are most impressive. Noted French conductor Jean Thorel, who led an earlier English Recorder Concertos disc with Petri, directs with panache.
Strangely, vinyl is the only physical carrier on which OUR Recordings has released the music. I am not part of the LP-nostalgia craze. I find that high-resolution digital has all of the advantages of high-end analog, without the noise and distortions, however benign some find them. For audiophiles who take their music in ones and zeros, OUR does offer downloads from multiple sites in original DXD (352.8 kHz/24-bit), 174.6/24, and 96/24. I have heard CD resolution WAV files, as well. I reviewed 174.6 kHz files, the highest of the three rates which my DAC handles. The sound is spectacular: tactile, with a stable, convincing soundstage, plenty of air around the instruments, and beautiful definition on percussion transients. It doesn’t get better than this.
But does the dream have a happy ending? Yes, it seems, as a sprightly dance between the soloist and members of the ensemble appears near the conclusion of the final movement, set to the Scottish folksong, Druimuachdar or The Highland Road to Inverness. However, it ends with a short duet between recorder and snare drum—fife and drum, the composer notes— halted with a belligerent roll-tap from the drum. Ambiguous at best, I’d say, though there should be nothing ambiguous about the listener’s delight. The program is concluded with Thomas Clausen’s pleasing neo-Baroque Concertino for recorder and strings, a “bonus track” reprised from the label’s earlier Nordic Sound release (Fanfare 39:2). Some may balk at the LP-imposed time limit, but premium art justifies premium investment, and I cannot imagine any lover of the recorder or the eclectic and accessible music of Sean Hickey feeling at all shortchanged. Warmly recommended. 25.05.2017 Fanfare Ronald E. Grames
Ronald E.Grames, Fanfare US

Michala Petri, recorder
Marilyn Mazur, percussion
Brazilian Landscapes
This is music to savor and be refreshed by, regardless of your preference for musical genres. Highly recommended.
Dave Saemann, Fanfare (US)
25 May 2017
BRAZILIAN LANDSCAPES Ÿ Michala Petri (rcr); Marilyn Mazur (perc); Daniel Murray (gtr) Ÿ OUR 6.220618 (SACD: 71:11)
 
ALEGRE Dreams. BELLINATI Jongo. Pingue-Pongue. JOBIM Olha Maria. MURRAY Cauteous. Song and Dance. NAZARETH Fon-Fon. GISMONTI Karatê. Passion talk. PASCOAL Saint George. RIBEIRO VIII Miniatures. VILLA-LOBOS Choros Nos. 2 and 5
 
            I long have had a soft spot for Michala Petri, ever since I heard her play in Princeton many years ago. So when confronted with her recorder album of Brazilian music, my reaction was anticipation rather than skepticism. Petri excels in cross cultural endeavors. I recommend her YouTube videos paired with a master of the Chinese flute, Chenyue. Petri and Brazilian music are a natural. The arrangements on Brazilian Landscapes are by the Brazilian guitarist/composer Daniel Murray. The arrangements are intelligent, vivid, and sensitive. A good introduction to Murray as arranger and guitarist are his four YouTube videos of music of Egberto Gismonti arranged for solo guitar, in one case for an 11 string guitar. Murray and Petri establish a marvelous rapport on this album, sounding like two old friends just getting together to play for their own pleasure. I wonder how much of the percussion part was written out and how much was left to the performer. Marilyn Mazur is a veteran percussionist of great versatility. Her jazz quartet, the Marilyn Mazur Group, may be seen on YouTube in two of her compositions, Magic Box and Sage Passion. Her playing brings an extra dimension to Brazilian Landscapes, giving it a cache beyond that of a chamber ensemble. This is music of great heart and terrific sound that deserves to appeal to a wide audience, beyond the confines of classical acolytes.
            Composer Paulo Bellinati in his program notes stresses the blurring of the lines between classical and popular music in Brazilian culture. Its greatest popular composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim, was influenced by the gestures of classical music, while Heitor Villa-Lobos, the greatest Brazilian classical composer, sought artistic sustenance from popular and folk music. Jobim’s Olha Maria has the dark, sensitive mood of a Latin Shostakovich. Chico Buarque’s haunting lyrics are included in the booklet. Street corner players are evoked by Villa-Lobos’s Choros No. 2. Choros No. 5, subtitled “Brazilian soul,” at times feels like a plaintive lament, while elsewhere it possesses the vigor of folk poetry. I’ve previously alluded to Daniel Murray’s affinity for the music of Egberto Gismonti, and the two arrangements on Brazilian Landscapes are no exception. Karatê really requires a virtuoso solo modern dancer to bring its jagged rhythms completely to life. Passion talk has the depth of feeling of two lovers communicating. This music contains such intimacy of emotion that words really cannot describe it. Mazur’s contribution here adds immeasurably to its allusiveness of meaning. Her participation is very much to the forefront of Dreams by Paulo Porto Alegre. Mazur creates a gossamer aural environment, not unlike electronic music. Petri maintains the overall sonic mood beautifully.
            Paulo Bellinati’s music possesses a balletic grace. Daniel Murray’s own compositions are well made, with an appealing melancholy streak. By contrast, Ernesto Nazareth’s Fon-Fon sparkles with joy. The stereo engineering on the CD is superb. I was unable to listen to the surround sound program. Brazilian Landscapes is a delicious, frothy beverage designed to tickle your taste buds. This is music to savor and be refreshed by, regardless of your preference for musical genres. Highly recommended. 
Dave Saemann, Fanfare (US)

Michala Petri, recorder
Danish National Vocal Ensemble
Let The Angels Sing
European Christmas Carols and Songs in New Arrangements for Recorder and Choir
A Wealth of Pleasure
Roderic Dunnett, www.dailyclassicalmusic.com
Daily Classical Music. com
A Wealth of Pleasure
'The singing throughout is of a high quality ...
The Danish National Radio Choir, under Stefan Parkman, was one of the treasures of the Chandos label's choral output some time ago. The present ensemble first saw light of day in 2007 as the National Vocal Ensemble, and has already been picked up by Naxos. Their singing has been described as transparent, bright and pure, and highly applauded for its remarkable technical precision.
While there are numerous discs of Christmas carols to be explored, the difference here with Let The Angels Sing is the freshness of the new arrangements, made by the group's conductor, Michael Bojesen. In particular, he has imported a recorder, here the utterly delightful, expressive virtuoso performer Michala Petri.
The overall result is a medieval feeling throughout, most especially when the recorder is given an exposed solo passage, as at the opening, in Infant Holy, and midway through Angelus ad Virginem.
The real invention begins with Up Good Christen Folk, where a vocal bells effect is highly attractive and the recorder takes off, pirouetting in a beautifully and aptly conceived descant.
The Czech baroque hymn Rocking, like several of these items (In Dulci Jubilo, Unto Us is Born), acquires an appetising and unusual short prelude. The men come into their own to good effect, with a thrumming bass drone and eloquent tenor singing of the melody, in A Virgin Most Pure; and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear also benefits from a men-only arrangement. These lower voices are profoundly atmospheric, and their legato treatment here is highly beneficial — not so far from Welsh male voice choirs in manner. The Coventry Carol reintroduces the recorder, in a lovely and by no means obviously shaped first and last verse descant. God Rest You has a canonic treatment midway. One of the perkiest is an earlier Czech offering (seventeenth century), the Zither Carol ('Girls and boys, leave your toys, make no noise ...'), which positively dances through the story of the shepherds and the wise men.
Recorder in lower register is a feature of Infant Holy, to which Bojesen brings slightly unusual, appealing harmonies. The boldest introductory and midway patter for Petri comes as the introduction to There stood in heav'n a linden tree ..., whose roots lie in an early German medieval carol (fourteenth century).
Girls and men alternate in the traditional way for Good King Wenceslas. Perhaps the most attractive solo is actually vocal — a delightful version of Blessed Be That Maid Mary, in which G R Woodward's exquisite Marian text is an ideal match for the fifteenth century English melody; and the women's voices as a whole have a charming passage also.
O Come, o come, Emmanuel makes a suitable conclusion.
The singing throughout is of a high quality, even if relatively traditional and without a particularly individual sound. For those to whom the carol is not merely a Christmas speciality, but something to be enjoyed at any time of the year, Bojesen's sensible pacings and of course Petri's almost angelic playing will surely bring a wealth of pleasure.
Roderic Dunnett, www.dailyclassicalmusic.com

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
Eine CD, die in jeder Sammlung stehen sollte
Thomas Müller-Schmitt, Windkanal, Germany
12. October 2016
Nach englishen, chinesischen, und dänischen Blockflötenkonzerten hat Michala Petri nun auch eine CD mit zwei deutschen in einem französischer Werk vorgelegt. Den Beginn macht gleich Markus Zahnhausen mit seonem “Recordare”, ein Werk, dass den für mich meditativen Teil des Albums Albums abdeckt: Ein wunderbares Stück, das auch nicht in den schnellen und virtuosen Teilen seine Ruhe verliert und auch mir Erlebtes in Erinnerung ruft oder Klänge, die ich irgendwo einmal gehört habe. Danke Markus für dieses Konzert!
Fabrice Bollons “Your Voice Out Of The Lamb” kommt ungleich nerv¨ser und hektischer daher. Die Blockflöte befindet sich in diesem Werk im Grenzbereich zwischen Kult-Pop und Klassik – mit Effekten wie Verzögerung, Echo, Wah-Wah etc. ausgestattet – und nutzt alle Grössen von Sopranino bit Subbass. Auf seine Weise auch ein tolles Werk.
Nach diesen beiden Höhepunkten kommt einem Hörer wie mir Günther Kochans ”Musik für Altblockflöte, 25 Streicher und Schlagwerk” erst einmal etwas befremdlich vor; aber nach einigen Male intensive Höres habe ich die Music doch serh zu schätzen gelernt. Es ist in manchen Teilen radikal, manches meditative, aber immer gut gemacht und sehr interessant. Michala Petri is wie immer die perfekte und sichere Interpretin dieser Werke: Da kann etwas noch so schwer sin, sie steht technisch immer über den Dingen und kann sich dadurch erlauben, sich volkommen auf die Musik zu Konzentrieren. Das Odense Symphony Orchestra steht mit seinem Dirigenten Christoph Poppen selbstbewusst zur Seite.
Eine CD, die in jeder Sammlung stehen sollte
Thomas Müller-Schmitt, Windkanal, Germany

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
Crescendo Belgium review.
Jean-Baptiste Baronian, Crescendo, Belgium
26.August 2016
Également appelée flûte douce, la flûte à bec a été au Moyen Âge d’un usage courant dans la musique populaire et sa technique s’est améliorée au cours des siècles, avant de séduire au XVIIe et au XVIIIe la plupart des compositeurs. On sait ainsi que Jean-Sébastien Bach a souvent utilisé la flûte à bec par groupe de deux dans une bonne vingtaine de ses cantates et que, pour sa part, George Philip Telemann l’a littéralement magnifiée à travers de très nombreuses partitions (sonates, trios, quatuors, suites, concertos, etc.). Après un silence de plus de cent cinquante ans, il aura toutefois fallu attendre le XXe siècle pour qu’elle intéresse de nouveau des musiciens de toute premier plan, de Paul Hindemith à Benjamin Britten, ou de Hans Werner Henze à Luciano Berio, en passant par Michael Tippett ou Louis Andriessen.  Peut-on pour autant parler de renouveau de la flûte de bec ? Est-ce que dans la grande majorité des œuvres où elle intervient, elle ne jouerait pas plutôt un rôle anecdotique, malgré le fait qu’elle arrive à produire des effets sonores tour à tour raffinés et insolites ?
Le présent CD rassemble trois œuvres peu connues ressortissant au répertoire contemporain de la flûte à bec et interprétées par Michala Petri, toujours disponible quand il s’agit de participer à des créations mondiales. Au vrai, ces trois œuvres n’ont rien d’extraordinaire et semblent constituer des exercices de style – exercice dont s’acquitte plutôt bien Günter Kochan, un des rares compositeurs de la RDA à n’avoir pas sacrifié tout son talent au réalisme socialiste.

Jean-Baptiste Baronian, Crescendo, Belgium

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
Music of the very highest compositional quality.
Chris Orton, Recorder Magazine, UK
June 7, 2016
It has been interesting to see that much has been written recently about a perceived lack of concerto repertoire for, specifically, recorder(s) and symphony orchestra. A cursory glance at the recording output of, say, Dan Laurin, John Turner, Jeremias Schwarzer and in particular Michala Petri, suggests that there is a substantial body of works ready to challenge talented youngsters and seasoned professionals alike. Michala Petri has been working through recording a series of concerto CDs, and this CD of German and French recorder concerti is a remarkable example of both her consummate technical and musical mastery of the recorder, but also of the artistry of the composers, their original musical ideas and brilliant scoring of said ideas.
The CD opens with ‘Recordare’, a new concerto by Markus Zahnhausen. From the arresting and imposing opening, one’s attention is immediately captured by the sparse but tense musical material. Zahnhausen uses percussion and winds with a clarity of scoring and orchestration that may remind one of the 14th and 15th symphonies of Shostakovich, or the restrained textures of late Benjamin Britten, however the similarity is fleeting – Zahnhausen very much has his own voice, and this concerto in my mind breaks new ground stylistically for the combination of recorders and orchestra. There is a depth of musical thought and intention which requires considerable concentration on
the part of the listener and indeed, the performers. In a live concert performance, this work could have an even more profound impact upon the listener.
‘Your Voice Out of the Lamb’ creates a stark but excellent contrast. This work uses some delay on the solo part, which is highly effective and is an example of electronics enhancing the musical discourse, rather than simply being an ‘effect’. Two shorter outer movements frame two longer movements which are the ‘heart’ of the work, to my ears. Again, some wonderful colours are created with combined recorder, reverb/delay, vibraphone, harp, solo violin and chamber strings in the third movement, ‘slow’. A virtuosic finale closes the concerto, again using what sounds like an electric piano and a ring modulator on the recorder part, all towards a very rhythmic and exciting musical result.
The final work on the disc is that of Günther Kochan. A composer from the former East Germany, he was highly considered within the Eastern Bloc, however, for so many East German artists, Reunification presented challenges and problems for sustaining careers. Nevertheless, here we have a work for recorder, chamber strings and percussion, that, like the Zahnhausen and Bollon concerti, provides a deeply musical vehicle for the opposition of recorder and orchestra. At once both virtuosic and profound music, it closes the CD with a brilliance of colour and texture.
Congratulations must be paid to the conductor and orchestra who accompany and lead with wonderful sensitivity and awareness. The recorder playing of Michala Petri is technically flawless and even more importantly, bursting with colour, variety and energy in a way that has certainly inspired me. This disc is exciting for so many reasons, however the principal point for me is that we have three first rate musical concerti for recorder, performed by a virtuosa who digs deep into the rich musical ideas presented.
Questions of comparison with other instruments are now irrelevant, and this disc proves beyond any doubt that there are concerti that exist for recorder that truly display the potential of the instrument, but most importantly, with music of the very highest compositional quality.
Chris Orton, Recorder Magazine, UK

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
The Latvian composer weaves Michala Petri`s tweeting recorders around his singers and an ever-present, uncannily natural evocation of the nightingale itself.
Gramophone , June issue 2016
June 6, 2016
 
This vision by Ugis Praulins (b1957) of Andersen`s story about a Chinese Emperor who prefers a blinged-up mechanical nightingale to a real bird capable of genuine songs (another prescient tale) is brimming with imagination and harmonic wonderment. The Latvian composer weaves Michala Petri`s tweeting recorders around his singers as an ever-present, uncannily natural evocation of the nightingale itself. 
Gramophone , June issue 2016

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
Nicht zuletzt wegen der Veröffentlichung dieses hervorragenden Werkes sei die CD allen an zeit-genössischer Musik Interessierten wärmstens empfohlen.
Markus Bartholomé, Tibia June 2016
May 30, 2016
Hinter dem etwas unscheinbaren Titel des Programmes verbergen sich große Kaliber: drei neue Werke für Blockflöte und Orchester - zwei Auftragswerke von Fabrice Bollon und Markus Zahnhausen, beide 1965 geboren, und die Ersteinspielung eines Werkes aus dem Jahr 2000 von Günter Kochan (1930 - 2009).

Michala Petri ist als Spielerin und Initiatorin neuer Musik mit dieser CD ein wirklich großer Wurf gelungen: ihre Virtuosität in den Dienst der neu entstandenen Musik stellend gelingt es ihr auch hier scheinbar mühelos, den typischen "Petri-Sound" in seiner unverkennbaren Klarheit zu erzeugen und gleichzeitig mit großer Wandlungsfähigkeit den jeweiligen klanglichen und musikalischen Anforderungen der unterschiedlichen Werke gerecht zu werden.
"Menschenfreundliche Musik" zu schreiben sei sein Ziel, so wird Kochan im Booklet der vorliegenden CD zitiert - und diesen Ansatz scheinen auch die beiden anderen Komponisten der drei neuen Blockflötenkonzerte zu verfolgen. Ihre künstlerischen Ansatzpunkte und musikalischen Register sind zwar grundverschieden, jedoch nehmen sie jeweils in ihrer ganz persönlichen Art sich und ihre Hörer als Partner ernst - ohne Überheblichkeit, ohne Anbiederung.

Markus Zahnhausens Recordare entwickelt aus der Kombination von Blockflöte(n) und großem Orchester eine farbig schillernde Palette klanglicher Schattierungen, den Klang der Blockflöte durch die fein gearbeitete Instrumentierung von ganz verschiedenen Seiten beleuchtend. Er verwehrt sich den Griff in die Zauberkiste der spieltechnischen Kunstfertigkeit, wie man es bei einem Solokonzert erwarten könnte, und bietet stattdessen ein ganz eigenständiges und in seiner emotionalen Kraft überaus eindrückliches Werk - Virtuosität nicht an der Oberfläche sondern im Inneren des musikalischen Erzählens. Angelegt als Tombeau für den im Krieg gefallenen, unbekannten Großvater weitet sich das Werk aus dem rhapsodisch klagenden Beginn der Soloblockflöte zu einem wilden Höhepunkt. Ein besonders anrührender Moment entsteht am Schluss: die Musik ist zu einer kargen Klanglandschaft gefroren, über der einsam die Töne der Sopraninoflöte schweben. Die Blockflöte steht in dieser musikalischen Erzählung nicht als virtuoser Held an der Bühnenrampe, vielmehr wird ihr natürlicher Klang zum Zentrum des orchestralen Geschehens: sinfonische Dramatik, wie man sie in einem "Blockflötenkonzert" zunächst nicht erwartet, die aber mit ihrer geradezu zwingenden Energie den Hörer gefangen nimmt.

Einen ganz anderen Weg schlägt der auch als Dirigent erfolgreich tätige Franzose Fabrice Bollon ein. Schon im Titel wird klar, dass sich der Komponist ein Sujet wählte, das man für ein Blockflötenkonzert wohl so nicht erwartet hat. "Your voice out of the Lamb" ist eine Hommage an die Progressive-Rocker von Genesis. Klingt diese Verbindung zunächst etwas abstrus, so kann das Ergebnis durchaus überzeugen. Der Grundidee folgend werden die Blockflöten elektronisch verstärkt und bearbeitet und das Orchester mit Keyboard und Drumset erweitert. Doch nicht nur klanglich gelingt Bollon, der sein Komponieren mit der Kunst eines Koches vergleicht, ein ansprechendes Gericht: geheimnisvoll pulsierende langsame Teile wechseln mit virtuosen Passagen, die in ihrer treibenden Mechanik sowohl an die Soli aus den Vivaldikonzerten als auch an Improvisationen eines Jazz- oder Rockmusikers erinnern.

Nicht nur wegen der beiden Auftragskompositionen lohnt es sich, diese CD in Ohrenschein zu nehmen: Mit der Ersteinspielung von Günter Kochans "Musik für Altblockflöte, 25 Streichinstrumente und Schlagwerk" bewahrt Michala Petri zusammen mit dem Dirigenten Christoph Poppen und dem engagiert zupackenden Odense Symphony Orchestra ein wahres Meisterwerk vor einem unverdienten Dornröschenschlaf in der berüchtigten Schublade. Wegen seiner aufwändigen Besetzung und gerade auch durch seine komplexe Faktur sowie die durchweg hohen Anforderungen an die musikalischen und spieltechnischen Fähigkeiten aller Beteiligten ist eine Aufführung des Stückes keine leichte Aufgabe. Doch Inspiration und Können der beteiligten Musiker vermögen durchweg zu zeigen, welches musikalische Kleinod hier für das Blockflötenrepertoire gehoben werden konnte. "Musik" steckt voller rhythmischer und satztechnischer Finesse: im dritten Satz etwa die in ihrer Einfachheit und Klarheit schmerzlich berührende Melodielinie der Flöte, im vierten Satz ein Fugato, das an die polyphone Instrumentationskunst Weberns erinnert, oder im sechsten Satz ein wilder, virtuoser Parforceritt im Fünfertakt ... Die Aufnahme beweist, zu welch müheloser Meisterschaft Kochan fähig war und ist ein überzeugendes Plädoyer für das Spätwerk dieses leider zu schnell in Vergessenheit geratenen großen Komponisten. Nicht zuletzt wegen der Veröffentlichung dieses hervorragenden Werkes sei die CD allen an zeitgenössischer Musik Interessierten wärmstens empfohlen.
Markus Bartholomé, Tibia June 2016
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E-mail: hannibal@michalapetri.com
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