all reviews
Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
10/10 in ClassicToday on Chinese Recorder Concertos
ClassicalToday.com
02 November 2013
CHINESE RECORDER CONCERTOS
TANG JIANPING
Flying Song
BRIGHT SHENG
Flute Moon
MA SHUI-LONG
Bamboo Flute Concerto
CHEN YI
The Ancient Chinese Beauty
Michala Petri (recorder)

Copenhagen Philharmonic

Lan Shui

OUR Recordings- 6.220603(CD)
No Reference Recording



Does anyone need 71 minutes of Chinese recorder concertos? On evidence here, the answer is "yes". This is beautiful music, often astoundingly so. Sure, there's a touch of film music glitter to Tang Jianping's Flying Song, and Ma Shui-long's Bamboo Flute Concerto starts with the somewhat oxymoronic designation "Andante Grandioso", but so what? Both Bright Sheng's and Chen Yi's works effortlessly integrate a more contemporary musical syntax with traditional Chinese idioms, and the music works perfectly--intriguing, beguiling, and full of character. It also goes without saying that Michala Petri has no peer today as a master of her instrument, and she wrings more color and expressive intensity from the recorder than you ever believed possible. Toss in fine accompaniments and outstanding engineering, and the result is an absolute joy from start to finish.


--David Hurwitz




ClassicalToday.com

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
5 Star review in Danish Magazine Klassisk on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Klassisk Magazine
02 November 2013
PIBLENDE PERLENDE FRA RIGET I MIDTEN
5 star in Danish Magazine Klassisk

Sjældent er så meget energi, virtuositet og vildskab blevet samlet på ét sted som på denne CD, hvor blokfløjtenisten Michala Petri med de lynhurtige hænder fortolker tonerne fra fire vidt forskellige kinesiske komponister.
Østens fremmedartede musikalske strukturer kommer stærkt til udtryk i all fire værker. Det vestligt prægede klangbillede i form af Sjællands Symfoniorkester danner spændende kontrast til de orientalske klange.
Tang Jianpings Fei Ge (Flyvende Sang) er iørefaldende fin og farverig med sin bløde, svævende klange. Man fornemmer et jazzet præg i den bløde andensats. Tit synger blokfløjten solo i kadenceagtige, helt frit og luftige passager. Orkestrets chefdirigent Lan Shui er skarp og præcis og skaber et rytmisk, fremadrettet drive gennem værkets piblende passager. Han holder orkestret tilbage og giver plads til fløjtens sprøde klange.
Mystisk og mørkt åbner Bright Shengs tosatsede værk Flute Moon for strygere, harpe, klaver, slagtøj og et arsenal af forskellige blokfløjter. Værkets indledende toccata står distinkt med sine karakteristiske rytmiske motiver. Åbningssatsen Chi Lin's Dance beskriver det mytologiske væsen enhjørningen, som er et sagnomspundet væsen i kinesisk kultur.
Michala Petri former værket med smittende solistisk autoritet og driver energisk orkestret frem med fløjtens eksotiske klang-og rytmemotiver. Undervejs skifter hun behændigt mellem blokfløjter i mange størrelser og skaber varierede klanguniverser.
Ma Shui-longs Bambusfløjtekoncert klinger filmisk med storladen orkestrering, og den lyse, dansende blokfløjte imiterer med lyrisk lethed orkestrets motiver. Igen får Lan Shui det levende og sprudlende frem i orkestret. Chen Yi's The Ancient Chinese Beauty afspejler forskellige elementer fra den antikke kinesiske kultur. Satserne har hun symbolsk kaldt Lerfigurerne, De gamle totemmer, og Det dansende blæk. Fløjten er igen fri i de stille, atonale passager, mens orkestret leverer et sparsomt, transparent og rytmisk akkompagnement. Det enkle lydbillede kulminerer i en ilter dans til sidst. Musikalsk er denne koncert dog pladens mindst interessante. Det er mere figurer og fragmenter end egentlig musik.
Skiven åbner en spændende og eksotisk sprække ind til den mangfoldighed og farvestrålende kinesiske musikkultur, vi kun kender en flig af i Vesten. Michala Petri er overbevisende som frontfigur hele vejen- en spillevende, lysende ledestjerne. Christine Christiansen, Januar 2011

Klassisk Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Norwegian Music Magazine Klassik on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Klassik Magazine, Norway
01 November 2013
Norwegian Music Magazine Klassisk
by Martin Andersson, Nov/Dec 2010

The Our Recordings CD of four recorder concertos by Chinese composers is more of a halfway house. The concerto Flying Song (2002) by Tang Jianping (född 1955) is bright and energetic, martial and dance-like as required, but with moments of introspection. I see from Joshua Cheek's highly informative (necessarily so!) booklet notes that Tang writes film music as well as in almost every other genre; this concerto suggests his film scores must be extremely effective. Bright Sheng's Flute Moon (1999) is in two movements: a
driving toccata representing a huge 'dragon horse' in Chinese mythology and the second an angular and vigorous elaboration of a melody from c. 1200. The
good-natured and attractive Bamboo Flute Concerto (1984) by Ma Shui-Long (född 1939) has become something of a classic: written for dizi, or soprano
bamboo flute, it accommodates Chinese melodic material within the framework of a western concerto – and there's a 'western' flavour in another sense,
since there's more than a hint of Hollywood in Ma's scoring; the grandiose peroration of the slow movement is wonderful. The Ancient Chinese Beauty
(2008) by Chen Yi (född 1953) is a step or two on from Bartók, with astringent, mildly dissonant folk-based harmonies and insistent, almost minimalist rhythms. Here, too, the idea is almost more interesting than the
music: all four pieces are relatively lightweight in terms of their musical content – it will need a real heavyweight of a composer to come along and
crunch west and east together in an individual language before this kind of cross-fertilisation sounds natural. Michala Petri's performances are nonetheless breath-taking (literally, I suppose), and she gets fine supports from her Danish compatriots under Lan Shui.



Klassik Magazine, Norway

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Classical.net on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Classical.net
26 October 2013
Classical.net
The style of music in this selection with which most non-aficionados of Chinese music will be most familiar is to be found on Chinese Recorder Concertos (OUR Recordings 6.220603), where Michala Petri plays recorder in four modern concerti with The Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lan Shui. Fei Ge ("Flying Song") by Tang Jianping, who was born in 1955 contains much beautiful and atmospheric music with many Western orchestral techniques, though has the aura at times of film music. The best known of these composer is Bright Sheng (b.1955), who has lived in the United States since 1982 and is a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan. His Flute Moon is in two movements and driven by dance rhythms and Stravinsky an insistence on forward movement.
More conventionally Chinese-sounding are the two works, the "Bamboo Flute Concerto" by the oldest of the composers represented here, Ma Shui-long (born in 1939) and "The Ancient Chinese Beauty" by Chen Yi (the only woman composer, born in 1953 and a classmate of Bright Sheng at the Beijing Central Conservatory in the late 1970s after the end of the Cultural Revolution). In all cases the playing of Petri is impeccable, though she is not recorded so closely as to afford us a clear hearing of all the nuances written for the recorder. That's a pity. The orchestration, skillful though it is, swamps the recorder, especially in the louder passages. At times – in the work by Tang Jianping, in particular – there is little except some vaguely modal writing and an emphasis on the more plangent tones of which the solo instrument is capable to suggest a thoroughly Chinese métier. But this should not be seen as a drawback: the composers' aims were specifically to blend Eastern and Western traditions, using melodies and musical theories from China with techniques of orchestration and instrumentation from the West. To that end this CD can be taken very much at face value and not necessarily as an entrée into to Chinese music. This CD does consciously represent a push to make the traditions of the older musical culture available and enjoyable to Western audiences. The recorder's gentle and expressive qualities and sound approach so closely the natural breath rhythms of human beings (listen to the slower passages in Flute Moon [tr.5], for example). So it's well-placed to convey the essence of this world. And all the more so when in Petri's hands. Mark Sealey.

Classical.net

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Gramophone review on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Gramophone Magazine
20 September 2013
Gramophone January 2011, Ken Smith.

Eastern works for flutes transcribe admirably for Western recorder.
The title is a bit of a stretch, since only Chen Yi's The Ancient Chinese Beauty (2008) was actually composed for recorder (in this case for Michala Petri herself) Bright Sheng's Flute Moon (1999) was originally written for Western flute, while Ma Shui-Long's Bamboo Flute Concerto (1984) and Tang Jianping's Fei Ge (2002) were composed respectively for the hampi and dizi, two different styles of Chinese transverse flutes. That said, the recorder is probably the only instrument with both the Western tuning and woody timbre to bridge the gab, and Petri proves to be a brilliant cultural negotiator in her own right.
Tang, the head of the composition department at China's Central Conservatory, offers a rousing opener, ostensibly inspired by Miao singing styles but often sounding more like a cross between Copland's prairie music and Elmer Bernstein's film scores. Sheng's Flute Moon marks a clear departure from his earlier works, the unrelenting aggression of H'un ("Lacerations") now giving way to unapologetic lyricism. Chen, unsurprisingly, reaches a wholly different level, with a range of emotional states and contrasting playing techniques that fits Petri's instrument and personal playing style with bespoken elegance.
The composers from People's Republic stand in stark contrast to Taiwan-born Ma, who was an established composer when his younger colleagues were picking rice in the Cultural Revolution. His Bamboo Flute Concerto (1984) may not have Chen's emotional breadth or Sheng's orchestrational brilliance but its pioneering fusion of Chinese sonority and Western form radiates with a thrill of discovery that practically percolates off the page.
Gramophone Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Great new review on Chinese Recorder Concertos in Canadian Music Magazine " The Whole Note"!
The Whole Note
14 September 2013
Chinese Recorder Concertos

Michala Petri; Copenhagen Philharmonic; Lan Shui

OUR Recordings 6.220603

This remarkable CD presents the premiere recordings of four concertos by living Chinese composers, two of whom currently work in the USA. The disc opens with Tian Jianping's Fei Ge (Flying Song), originally written in 2002 as a concerto for dizi (Chinese bamboo flute) and pan-Asian instrumental ensemble. This transcription by the composer for western orchestra and recorder, on which Petri eloquently evokes the dizi in tone and effect, works beautifully with playing of the highest order from both orchestra and soloist.

Bright Sheng's evocative and strikingly beautiful Flute Moon is more a full orchestral work than a concerto, and Petri plays solo parts originally assigned to the flute and piccolo. The piece revels in a rich array of orchestral colours, dazzling musical gestures, and dramatic shifts of mood. The three-movement Bang Di Concerto by Ma Shui-long is the composer's best known composition, and is an extraordinarily effective fusion between Chinese and western musical languages. It receives an utterly virtuosic performance from all involved. Written for Petri by Chen Yi, The Ancient Chinese Beauty draws inspiration from Chinese figures, script, and flutes. The second movement, particularly in its evocation of the ancient xun or large Chinese ocarina, is particularly impressive.

For several decades now Michala Petri has been one of the busiest and most familiar recorder players to audiences around the globe, and with programs such as this she continues to do great things beyond the recorder's more typical boundaries. She seems eminently at home here, making her own distinct music in a fascinating project designed "to creatively collaborate in an international musical dialogue."

Kudos to her, to the wonderful Copenhagen Philharmonic and conductor Lan Shui – and to the composers of these wonderful pieces.

Concert Note: Chen Yi is the featured composer at this year's New Music Festival at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto with events January 23 through 29. Chen's Yangko is also included in Soundstreams Canada's January 25 concert "Tan Dun's Ghost Opera" at Koerner Hall.

The Whole Note

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
US Magazine Fanfare on English Recorder Concertos
Fanfare Magazine
24 June 2013
Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, September 2012

What a lovely disc this is! This is a collection of three English recorder concertos by Malcolm Arnold, Gordon Jacob, and Richard Harvey…Petri is asked to play several different recorders throughout, from tenor to sopranino. The recorders are accompanied by a delicate orchestra, consisting of strings, flutes, clarinets, harp, celesta, and percussion. As the movement titles suggest, this is elfin, magical music.I have to confess it: I've loved every Michala Petri CD that has come my way, and it is too late to turn back now. She offers proof—if proof were needed—that the recorder transcends its schoolhouse associations by producing sounds that are both uncommonly plangent and sweet. Her many fans might be reluctant to duplicate the Arnold and Jacob works, but Harvey's concerto is a most enjoyable discovery, and so there's really nothing to do but to go out and purchase this CD as well! © 2012 Fanfare
Fanfare Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great Audiophile Audition review on The Nightingale
Audiophile Audition
21 February 2013
An essential disc of world premieres that stuns the senses and absolutely delights the ear.

I hate jumping on bandwagons and like to think that for the most part I can come to decisions myself without the influence of the international press, but in this case I have to follow them with no little eagerness. This new album by the ever-inventive Michala Petri and the spectacular Danish National Vocal Ensemble that collects four commissioned world premieres is nothing short of astonishing, having garnered—so far—a Deutsche Phono-Akademie 2012 ECHO Klassik Award, plus a Gramophone nomination, less notable to be sure, but still important.

One would wonder at the wisdom of assembling a choral group with only a recorder as the solo instrument, but the cleverness with which each of these composers integrates the instrument into the textures of their music, each with a specific design in mind, is most impressive. As on any disc there will be favorites, and in my mind all four works are not equal in importance or the impression they make. Latvian composer Ugis Praulins has created the best work on the disc, taking eight sections from Hans Christian Andersen's The Nightingale to make a 30-minute piece of great theatricality and ecstatic utterance, notwithstanding what also amounts to a full-fledged recorder concerto as well. Praulins has a wide and eclectic background that refuses to be pigeonholed, so I won't try here; suffice it to say that this piece grabs you immediately while also giving the choir an intense workout in choral virtuosity and range, the recorder commenting perfectly along the way.

Daniel Börtz, whom many readers may recognize, treats us to a much darker world of choral sound, not surprising since his earlier years were heavily influenced by the sonorities of the Polish avant-garde. Here he takes two texts from the botanist and physician Carl Linnaeus, "The Dietetics of Respiration" and "Nemesis divina", a meditation on theodicy written for his son. The piece revels in the brokenness of the word settings, using the text as a springboard for intensely manifested passages that almost over-emote their innate meaning. One does not come away with an impression of the words as a meaning in total, but of individual moments focusing on one word or a group of words.

Faroe Islands native Sunleif Rasmussen presents us with the most "difficult" work on this disc (though none of them are terribly esoteric) by taking the text of Danish modernist poet Inger Christensen's response to Wallace Stevens's Thirteen Ways at looking at a Blackbird, focusing on intimacy and the freedom of the individual. Though the piece is structured, it is done in such a manner that the number organization used to represent several of the phrases mean little to the listener, who instead is drawn into the variety of independent voices and disparate, dissonant melodies. A work like this, though loaded with fascinating sounds and colors, uses the text as inspiration instead of trying to illuminate the meaning.

The final work by eclectic Danish composer Peter Braun uses two poems by Gerard Manly Hopkins, whose many "bird" poems serve as metaphors for the human condition and their souls, enabling a poetic excursion into his very personal contemplation of the world and the divine. Both pieces are wonderfully reflective of Hopkin's world, using a modified consonance inundated with arpeggios and appoggiaturas and pentatonic melody to create waves of fragmented songlike melody.

The surround sound on this disc is resonant and spectacular, with the voices soaring over your head. Despite some of the more challenging moments on this disc, it would be a crime to not acquire it. Excellent notes, complete with full texts round out the project.

Published on August 25, 2012—Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great review in MusicWeb International on The Nightingale
Music Web International
01 January 2013
These are all world premiere recordings and feature the combination of Michala Petri's flute, the Danish National Vocal Ensemble directed by Stephen Layton, and some enjoyable new music from Swedish composer Daniel Börtz, Latvian Ugis Praulins, the Dane Peter Bruun and Faroese composer Sunleif Rasmussen.

Praulins' 2010 The Nightingale takes a text after Hans Christian Andersen (in English) broken down into nine sections, or eight tableaux and a reprise to be strictly accurate. It's better known as The Emperor and the Nightingale. This is directly communicative, aurally piquant music, so different from the sterile, audience-denying academism still sometimes to be found. Startling glissandi and rich contrast animate the music, so too antique-sounding airs, and succinct evocation and romance.Proulin's utilises Petri's technical adroitness at fast tonguing, and there are plenty of opportunities for bird imitation, whether real or mechanical – in the latter case adding mechanical, rhythmic, jagged qualities too. He takes the recorder up high, infiltrates troubadour warmth and has constructed a rich, warm, avid setting, clearly responding to Andersen's texts with imagination and flair.

Nemesis divina was written by Börtz in 2006. The text is by Carl von Linné, better known as Linnaeus (1707-1778), the botanist and physician. Petri employs, as instructed, multiple recorders from tenor to sopranino, and this vests the music with plenty of colour. Fortunately Börtz is a subtle colourist and his richly voiced choral writing works well. The recorder lines perhaps evoke Messaien but there is a strong and questioning independence in the writing, and a sense of things remaining incomplete in the final lines of the text.

An equally well structured work is Rasmussen's "I". The recorder's often incessant commentary adds to the density of the solo and choral writing, leading to a visionary and raptly beautiful recorder meditation as the work draws to a close. Finally Bruun's Two scenes with Skylark takes two poems by Hopkins — as with all the other texts, they are set in English, a tribute to the linguistic superiority of the vocal ensemble. In The Sea and the Skylark the lark ascends against the crash of the sea, a vehemence conveyed with precise calibration; so, too, the rather dour interpretation of the stark last lines of the poem. Bruun vests The Caged Skylark with a stuttering rhythm, and this proves effective.

Each of these composers has his own strong voice and his own way of reconciling the recorder, or recorders, with choral and/or solo voices in these settings. There is variety here, an exploration of a precise sound-world, a sensitive exploration of text and sonority, and a — never simplistic — wish to communicate with fellow performers and with listeners.
Jonathan Woolf, March 2012



Music Web International

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Enthusiastic review in German Magazine Klassik Heute on The Nightingale
Klassik Heute Magazine
10 October 2012
Wertung: 10 / 10 / 10

Kennen Sie das? Sie hören nicht einmal zwanzig Sekunden einer neuen CD und sind schon vollends gebannt vom überwältigenden Klang und einer Musik, die mit Macht den Hörer in ihr eigenes Universum entführt –  Liebe auf's erste Hören sozusagen!
Ich finde kaum Worte, die geeignet wären, den Zauber zu beschreiben, der von dieser brillanten und poetischen, so noch nie gehörten Musik für Chor und Blockflöte ausgeht, die von vier skandinavischen Komponisten für Michala Petri komponiert wurde. Glückliche Komponisten! Idealere Interpreten als Petri und das ebenso phänomenale Danish National Vocal Ensemble unter Stephen Layton kann man sich nicht vorstellen. Sie meistern ihre teils aberwitzig virtuosen Partien mit einer Professionalität und einem hörbar emotionalen Engagement, das seinesgleichen sucht.
Michala Petri und Lars Hannibal von OUR Recordings haben offenbar ein untrügliches Gespür für Qualität und Originalität. Davon zeugen nicht allein die vielen, von der internationalen Kritik hoch gelobten Aufnahmen und innovativen Programme des noch relativ jungen Labels, auch die vier nordischen Komponisten dieser CD hat man mit Bedacht gewählt. Jedes Werk steht für eine eigenständige Künstlerpersönlichkeit, einen individuellen Stil.
Das mit fast einer halben Stunde Spieldauer längste Werk eröffnet das Programm: The Nightingale (nach Hans Christian Andersen) des lettischen Komponisten Ugis Praulins. Das 2010 für Petri geschriebene Stück beginnt in mystischer Atmosphäre, um sich nach und nach zu strahlendem Glanz emporzuschwingen. Meisterhaft verbindet Praulins in seinen konzertanten Tableaus Einflüsse aus Folk, Pop, Mittelalter und Renaissance mit klassischer Moderne und Anklängen an die große Chor- und Volksliedtradition seiner Heimat zu einem musikalischen Amalgam, das mit seiner hochoriginellen Klangsprache und zauberhaften Blockflötensoli sofort für sich einnimmt.
Daniel Börtz, einer der angesehensten schwedischen Komponisten der Gegenwart, hatte 2002 bereits ein Blockflötenkonzert für Michala Petri komponiert („Pipes and Bells", zu hören auf der Grammy-nominierten CD Movements – OUR Recordings), als er sich nur wenige Jahre später anlässlich der Dreihundertjahrfeier des Geburtstages des großen schwedischen Naturforschers Carl von Linné erneut mit der Blockflöte beschäftigte: Herb, kühn und dramatisch, auf ganz eigene Art expressiv, gibt sich seine Nemesis divina (nach Texten von Linnés) – kraftvolle, reife Musik. Sunleif Rasmussen, der erste „akademisch" ausgebildete Komponist von den im Staatenverbund mit Dänemark weitgehend autonomen Färöer-Inseln im Nord-Atlantik, überzeugt in One mit einer intimen, eher kammermusikalischen Faktur. In der Riege skandinavischer Komponisten darf natürlich Dänemark nicht fehlen, hier vertreten durch den 1968 geborenen Peter Bruun, der für Petri Two Scenes with Skylark auf Texte des victorianischen Dichters und Priesters Gerard Manley Hopkins verfasste, deren Chortextur traditionelle und sonoristische Elemente mischt.
Zum Standard bei OUR Recordings gehört neben der selbstverständlich audiophilen Aufnahmequalität die liebevolle Ausstattung des Beihefts mit kompletten Gesangstexten, Fotos und biographischen Abrissen der Komponisten und Künstler sowie ausgezeichneten, hilfreichen Werkeinführungen. 
Eine der stimmigsten, zutiefst berührenden und gleichzeitig neuartigsten Blockflöten-Aufnahmen der letzten Jahre!

Heinz Braun
(14.03.2012)

Klassik Heute Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
Great Infodad review on English Recorder Concertos
Infodad
17 September 2012
The recorder was once the frequent province of virtuosi, but as the transverse flute supplanted it, it fell into comparative obscurity – from which it never quite emerged except in period-practice performances of older works.  However, it never went entirely out of style, either, and is now undergoing something of a revival: Concerto Incantato by Richard Harvey (born 1953) was written as recently as 2009.  This piece, which receives its world première recording in a thoroughly convincing performance by Michala Petri, for whom it was written, is a five-movement work with spiritual and magical overtones in the movements' titles: Sortilegio, Natura Morta, Danza Spiriti, Canzone Sacra and Incantesimi.  Petri makes the music flow naturally and entertainingly from start to finish, bringing considerable charm to a work that combines modern sensibilities with the old-fashioned orientation of a Telemann suite.  Sir Malcolm Arnold'sConcerto for Recorder and Orchestra (1988), also written for Petri, is a more-serious piece and sounds more substantial, even though it is much shorter than Harvey's work (12 minutes vs. 29).  Arnold clearly saw the recorder as continuing to deserve the same solo prominence in the 20th century that it had in the 18th.  Gordon Jacob, however, saw matters differently: his Suite for Recorder and Strings (1957) takes full advantage of the instrument's lightness and its ability to create a fleet-footed impression, as if its music is about to take wing.  The seven-movement suite, which recalls Telemann even more directly than does Harvey's work, actually contains more slow-paced movements (four) than quick ones (three).  But far from trying to delve deeply into emotional realms, even in the Lament (Adagio),Jacob keeps everything comparatively light and at times even bubbly, as in the Burlesca alla Rumba and concluding Tarantella.  Petri is an absolutely wonderful advocate for the recorder, with the three pieces here showing off her considerable skill and their composers' very different talents as well.

Infodad, Canada  May 2012


Infodad

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
Great review in International Record Review on English Recorder Concertos
International Record Review
17 September 2012
Review on English Recorder Concertos in International Record Review:

Michala Petri is a phenomenon, seemingly unstoppable in her pursuit of new territory for her chosen instrument. If the modern recorder has never quite achieved the high-profile status it surely had in the Baroque era, this is not for want of continued endeavour on her part – and at her hands it may even yet happen. The child prodigy of the 1960s from Denmark, who seemed able to tackle anything from sonatas of Handel or Telemann to the complexities of a piece such as Berio's Gesti with equal aplomb, has long since turned into a mature artist. Most recently the creation of her own label, OUR Recordings has enabled Petri and guitarist Lars Hannibal, to give durable form and wide circulation of the variety of music they have exposed, anything from Mozart to recorder concertos from China and Viennese salon music,- and much else besides.
The Chinese connection continues with the present release, which is partly the fruit of Petri's successful collaboration in 2009 with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong. No allowances need be made on any front, musical or technical: the accompaniments as directed by the orchestra's current chief conductor Jean thorel are always alert, and the recorded sound, emanating from one of the orchestra's regular showcase venues, the concert hall of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, is excellent. The booklet notes are likewise very thorough if once or twice a trifle gusting, while several evocative photographs of Stonehenge and the Lake District are included to reinforce the essential Englishness of the sonic fare on offer.
The last comes in 3 guises, one (from 2009) by living British composer who likes to defy pigeon-holding, and the other two (from 1957 and 1988 respectively) by a pair of last century Englishmen, one of whom was a pupil of the other: on the CD, three items appear in the reverse chronological order.
Thus richard Harvey's Concertos Incantato occupies pride of place at the start of the disc – rightly so, as it was not only a commission from the present orchestra to the present soloist but it also, at nearly 30 minutes, by some margin the most ambitious work here. The idiom is straightforwardly tonal, tuneful even, and Harvey seems cheerfully determined to give the lie to the recorder's oft-proclaimed limited expressive means, though he never quite ventures into the avant-garde areas which are explored in the above-mentioned Berio piece. The five movements, neatly contrasted, some distinctly challenging for the fingers, bear pictorial titles as "Sorcery", "Still Life" etc. and culminate in a lengthy finale called "Incantations" that feels rather like a set of variations or meditations on a tune first heard in the preceding movement. Petri's required to use what the notes call "the full set of recorders"; this seems to extend only down to the tenor recorder, but I could swear that I once caught a glimpse of the rare specimen, the bass recorder. It looked rather dangerous.
The Concerto, op. 133  by Malcolm Arnold was one of the fruits of his bewitchment by Petri's playing in the late 1980s. Just when, after the sombre Ninth Symphony, he was inclined to give up composing altogether, Petri (along with Julian Lloyd Webber and his cello) somehow re-kick-started his muse. Unmistakably Arnoldian, it is a small-scale but remarkable inventive late work that harks to the airy tone and style of some of his much earlier pieces, the three delectable Sinfoniettas in particular. Petri has remained loyal to the piece, often performing it in concerts; she also made a 1992 recording with Okku Kamu conducting, bravely coupling it with the new recorder works by Koppel, Holmboe, Kulesha and Asger Lund Christiansen – unsurprisingly, perhaps, that disc has long since vanished. So this new performance, little different from its predecessor, is doubly welcome.
Gordon Jacob was Arnold's composition mentor when the latter was a student, principally of the trumpet, at the Royal College of music round the outbreak of the Second World War. Though not a vast amount of Jacob's music is heard in the concert hall these days, he is prolific in his time, seemingly allying a natural fluency to the impeccable craftsmanship predictable from so eminent a teacher. His Suite (of seven short movements, whose titles include "English Dance", "Pavane" and "Tarantella") has an accompaniment for strings alone. It has had only two previous recordings, I think, neither of which I have managed to hear. Petri with ASMF and Kenneth Sillito coupled it with works by William Babel, John Baston and Handel on a 1984 release (reissued on Phillips 476 164-2). More recently Annabel Knight recorded it along with an assortment of other Jacob recorder works, many originally written for Carl Dolmetsch, with the Maginni Quartet and others (Naxos 8.572364). The Suite perhaps plumbs no great depths – nothing here does – but the layout of the music itself, plus the sheer sound of the recorder(s) and Michala Petri's playing of them, all inevitably,bring to mind a pathos, even melancholy, redolent of an earlier Elizabethan age. Thus this welcome release can truly be said to contain many "Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not".
Piers Burton-Page IRR, July/August 2012
International Record Review

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
5 star review on The Nightingale in Danish Magazine Klassisk
Klassisk Magazine
14 September 2012
SOM FØDT TIL HINANDEN
5 star review on The Nightingale in Danish Magazine Klassisk

Michala Petri spænder musikalsk milevidt. Efter sidste års Grammy-nominerede cd med kinesiske koncerter optræder hun her med det toptrimmede DR VokalEnsemblet i fire ny værker af nordiske komponister.
Siden fløjtens fødsel har de to urinstrumenter sang og fløjte dannet musikalsk partnerskab. Konstellationen er oplagt, for den luftige blokfløjte og de flydende mennskestemmer matcher hinanden i overjordisk harmoni.
At lade fløjten agere fuglestemme er også indlysende. Lettiske Ugis Praulins (f.1957) er ophavsmand til værket The Nightingale, hvis engelske sangtekst består af brudstykker fra H.C.Andersens eventyr. Fantasifuldt lader Praulins blokfløjten illustrere nattergalen. Det høres, at Ugis Praulins har rødder i Letlands rock-og folkemusik: I The Nightingale møder atonal lettisk folkemusik alt fra jazzrytmer, flydende koraler med fløjtemønstre til talesang og håndklap. Slutningen minder om Howard Shores soundtrack til Ringenes Herre. Et avanceret værk, der konstant skifter klanglig og tempomæssig karakter.
Peter Bruun (f.1968) bruger i sit værk Skylark to digte af den britiske digter Gerard Manley Hopkins. Musikken svæver poetisk - igen med fløjten som fugl.
Vi hører i værkerne Michala Petri skifte behændigt mellem dybe og høje fløjter. Også i svenske Daniel Böertzs (f.1943) himmelske Nemesis divina. Teksten er skrevet af svenske Carl von Linné, men oversat til engelsk. Slutningen med de høje, skringre sopraninoskrig står som en flot effekt.
Færøske Sunleif Rasmussen (f.1961) og Michala Petri har før samarbejdet om solokompositioner. I sit kor-og fløjteværk bruger Rasmussen et digt af afdøde Inger Christensen. Værket hedder I, på dansk Jeg. Heri kredser kor og fløjte tæt, efter at en dyb, sælsom basfløjtesolo har indledt værket.
Den eminente engelske kordirigent Stephen Layton styrer med autoritet sangere og blokfløjtesolist gennem de komplekse klange. Også DR VokalEnsemblets medlemmer udfylder overbevisende deres solistroller. Sangerne stråler og Petri flytter som vanligt fingrene i vanvittig fart, eller hun former smukt de langsomme fraser. Denne klangrejse gennem Norden er en times intense toner, som fortjener flere lytninger. Christine Christiansen, March 2012

Klassisk Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
Great UK Magazine International Record Review on English Recorder Concertos
International Record Review
20 August 2012
International Record review (IRR)

Michala Petri is a phenomenon, seemingly unstoppable in her pursuit of new territory for her chosen instrument. If the modern recorder has near quite achieved the high-profile status it surely had in the Baroque era, this is not for want of continued endeavor on her part - and at her hands it may even
yet happen. The child prodigy of the 1960s from Denmark, who seemed able to tackle anything from the sonatas of Handel or Telemann to the complexities of a piece such as Berio's Gesti with equal aplomb, has long since turned into a mature artist. Most recently the creation of her own record label, OUR Recordings, has enabled Petri and her guitarist husband, Lars Hannibal, to give durable form and
wide circulation to the wide variety of music they have espoused, anything from Mozart to recorder concertos from China and Viennese salon music, and much else besides.

The Chinese connection continues with the present release, which is partly the fruit of Petri's successful collaboration in 2009 with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong kong. No allowances need be made on any front, musical or technical; the accompaniments as directed by the orchestra's current chief conductor, Jean Thorel are always alert, and the recorded sound, emanating from one of the orchestra's regular showcase venues, the concert hall of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, is excellent. The booklet notes are likewise very thorough if once or twice a trifle gushing, while several evocative photographs of Stonehenge and the Lake District are included to reinforce the essential Englishness of the sonic fare on offer.

The last comes in three guises, one (from 2009) by a living British composer who likes to defy pigeon-holing, and the other two (from 1957m and 1988 respectively) by a pair of last-century Englishmen, one of whom was a pupil of the other; on the CD, the three items appear in reverse chronological order.

Thus Richard Harvey's Concerto Incantato occupies pride of place at the start of the disc - rightly so, as it was not only a commission from the present soloist but it also, at nearly 30 minutes, by some margin the most ambitious work here. The idiom is straightforwardly tonal, tuneful even, and Harvey seems characteristically determined to give the lie to the recorder's oft-proclaimed limited expressive means, though he never quite ventures into the avant-garde areas which are explored in the above-mentioned Berio piece. The five movements, neatly contrasted, some distinctly challenging for the fingers, bear pictorial titles such as 'Sorcery', 'Still Life', etc. and culminate in a lengthy finale called 'Incantations' that feels rather like a set of variations or meditations on a tune first heard in the preceding movement. Petri is required to use what the notes call 'the full set of recorders'; this seems to extend only down to the tenor recorder, but I could swear that I once caught glimpse of the rare specimen, the bass recorder. It looked rather dangerous.

The Concerto, op. 133 by Malcolm Arnold was one of the fruits of his bewitchment by Petri's playing in the late 1980s. Just when, after the sombre Ninth Symphony, he was inclined to give up composing altogether, Petri (along with Julian Lloyd Webber and his cello) somehow re-kick-started his muse. Unmistakably Arnoldian, it is a small-scale but remarkably inventive late work that harks back to the
airy tone and style of some of his much earlier pieces, the three delectable Sinfoniettas in particular. Petri has remained loyal to the piece, often performing it in concerts; she also made a 1992 recording with Okko Kamu conducting, bravely coupling it with new recorder works by Koppel, Holmboe, Kulesha and Asget Lund Christiansen - unsurprisingly, perhaps, that disc has long since vanished.
So this new performance, little different from its predecessor, is doubly welcome.

Gordon Jacob was Arnold's composition mentor when the latter was a student, principally of the trumpet, at the Royal College of Music round about the outbreak of the Second World War. Though not a vast amount of Jacob's music is heard in the concert hall these days, he was prolific in his time, seemingly allying a natural fluency to the impeccable craftsmanship predictable from so eminent a teacher. His Suite (of seven short movements, whose titles include 'English Dance', 'Pavane' and 'Tarantella') has an accompaniment for strings alone. It has only two previous recordings, I think, neither of which I have managed to hear. Petri with the ASMF and Kenneth Sillito coupled it with  works by William Babell, John Baston and Handel on a 1984 release (reissued on Philips 476 164-2). More recently Annabel Knight recorded it along with an assortment of other Jacob recorder works, many originally written for Carl Dolmetsch, with the Maggini Quartet and others (Naxos 8.572364).
The Suite perhaps plumbs no great depths - nothing here does - but the layout of the music itself, plus the sheer sound of the recorder(s) and Michala Petri's playing of them, all inevitably bring to mind a
pathos, even melancholy, redolent of an earlier Elizabethan age. Thus this welcome release can truly be said to contain many 'Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not'.
Piers Burton-Page,- July/August 2012
International Record Review

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
Great review on English Recorder Concertos in US Magazine The Whole Note
The Whole Note
20 August 2012
Of the many works written for the recorder over the last century, few of the neo-classical or neo-impressionist examples ever make it onto concert programs or CDs, so it's good to see the release of this recording. Opening the program is Richard Harvey's Concerto Incantato, written for soloist Michala Petri in 2009. Using a variety of sizes of recorder over five movements, Harvey writes beautifully for the instrument and the piece also sweetly reflects his sensibilities as a composer for film and television. Here's hoping that the piece receives more performances by recorder players around the world!
Following the Harvey is Malcolm Arnold's diminutive Concerto Op.133, written for Petri in 1988, and his inclusion of winds in the orchestration makes for a welcome colour change. Gordon Jacob's exemplary seven-movement Concerto for alto (and sopranino) recorder and strings closes the program. Written in 1957 for Carl Dolmetsch, it blends the strengths of both string and recorder worlds and is given a definitive and expressive reading here.
Conducted by Jean Thorel, the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong is superlative throughout, and Michala Petri, one of the recorder's leading figures of the past 40 years, is completely at home in this repertoire.

The Whole Note

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
German Klassik.com review on English Recorder Concertos.
Klassik.com
24 July 2012
German Magazine Klassik.com
English Translation!

Michala Petri's most recent release focuses on a cross section of 20th century English recorder concertos, including several works she previously recorded. The result is convincing, but in many aspects different from her first recordings.

It is quite common for artists to return to a certain work several times and offer a "fresh perspective."
The present case, however, presents a rather surprising selection of "return visits" if for no other reason, even the best of these works will enter the popular canon of recorder repertoire. The name of the disc is "English Recorder Concertos" – a title that already appears several times in the catalogue, both on disc by Ms. Petri and others.

The recorder – well, how to approach this instrument? While throughout most of Europe, the recorder has survived primarily as an early music and/or student instrument in England, it has enjoyed an entirely different role, almost bordering on prestige. This is due primarily to the instrument's extraordinary renaissance promulgated by early music specialist and recorder virtuoso Arnold Dolmetsch (1858-1940). Beginning in '20s, primarily with a view to performing historic repertoire with a degree of authenticity, his son Carl (1911-1997) continued to family's mission and succeeded in interesting composers of our time in writing new works for the instrument. And as this disc bears witness, this tradition shows no sign of abating.

Carl Dolmetsch was responsible for commissioning Gordon Jacob's Suite for flute and strings (1957-8), a seven-movement work that deftly plays with tradition. Michala Petri had previously recorded the
work (for Philips in 1982) as well as Sir Malcolm Arnold's 1988 Concerto, written for Petri, (for RCA in 1995) however both discs are currently OOP. Now Petri brings both works out on her own label, along with a new composition, "Concerto incantato 'by Richard Harvey.  Harvey's Concerto was written in 2009 for the ten-year anniversary of the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong. As with his program mates, Harvey shares a basically traditionally approach, evoking the pastoral tradition so favored by English composers, in an effort to create what the booklet describes as a "concerto for the Harry Potter generation." If this were indeed his intention, one wonders how soon this work might be eclipsed in today's fast-paced cultural super market. Harvey's music is very descriptive, and utilizes a very traditional musical language, not surprising considering Harvey's successful career as a film score composer, as well as suggesting moments of Britten's 'Simple Symphony' or the works of Malcolm Arnold and even a hint of Philip Glass/John Adams-inspired minimalism. Perhaps most convincing is
the slow movement 'Natura Morte', with nice effects for the soloist  (but alas, also an inappropriate flutter-vibrato towards the end of the movement). The City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong performs here under its chief conductor Jean Thorel and presents their ensemble skills well, though one wonders how the orchestra (without a spectacular soloist) might hold its own in a score by say, Debussy?

Arnold's Recorder Concerto (Op. 133), although much shorter than Harvey's, demands greater attention from both the interpreter and the listener. It is generally recognized that Arnold wrote effectively for his soloists, especially wind and brass instruments. His teacher Gordon Jacob also shares this praise, but with the difference that despite his facility, Jacob's music COULD sound too calculated and that he played things a bit on the "safe side." For example the suite (written in the fifties) is not really very challenging but one respects it was never Jacob's goal to make any "deep" statement, preferring to have his attractive and idiomatic music accepted on its own terms. Whereas Arnold could be an extrovert, Jacob is more introspective.

Petri's two recordings of the Arnold concerto differ most strongly in the slow movement, where the current interpretation (as often in later recordings) is almost a full minute longer than the earlier recording. Overall, the new recording is more introspective, the virtuosity is downplayed. The real essence of this music – indeed, as with much of Arnold – is for his music's ability to be exuberant without a loss of poetic dept. When comparing both interpretations, I must confess that that the earlier recording (which is included in the 2006 Decca box set edition of all of Arnold's concertos) seems more appropriate stylistically. It is in Jacob's suite where Petri's current performance bests her earlier recording with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (1982), despite the more deliberate tempos (particularly in the 'Burlesca alla rumba'). However, both versions are certain to be popular with audiences and performers alike no matter which you choose.

Michala Petri is not exactly known as a leading advocate of British music. In the case of British recorder music, it is difficult to get around mentioning John Turner, even despite the fact the Turner was largely self-taught. He seems to have largely followed his own muse, and has generally avoided duplicating Petri's repertoire, but still managed to release two full CDs of other 20th century British recorder concertos (ASV 2002 and Dutton 2005), in addition to numerous other productions featuring British chamber music with recorder. A comparison of Turner's playing with Petri's reveals the Brit's approach to be less refined than Petri's (especially when playing softly) but also, at times more original, though in truth, Petri has only recorded a fraction of those that Turner has.

The booklet reflects the same technically flawless production values we have come to expect from this label, but perhaps maybe too emphatic in its reflection of the preferences of the soloist (and label owner). The glossy booklet design is perhaps a bit conventional and unfortunately the numerous photos sometimes disrupt the flow of the (not entirely bad) texts.
Jürgen Schaarwächter, 07.07.2012

Klassik.com

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
All Music Guide on English Recorder Concertos
All Music Guide
12 July 2012
Danish recorder player Michala Petri has commissioned a number of works, including the Malcolm Arnold and Richard Harvey concertos heard here. She has executed this process intelligently, eliciting works that not only display her nonpareil technical skills but also reflect on the connotations a recorder carries in a modern setting. The Harvey concerto contains some of the conventions of neo-Renaissance writing, but sets them against both the extreme virtuosity of the solo part and the "incantations" of the title; if not exactly spiritual, it's a fresh and utterly accessible work. The short concerto by Arnold is one of the slight but luminous works of his old age. The Suite for recorder and strings of Gordon Jacob, composed in 1957, was commissioned by recorder revivalist Carl Dolmetsch. Its language was in no way restricted by the amateur ethos of the mid-century recorder revival, with hints of jazz present both rhythmically and harmonically and a solo part that yields nothing to the other two works. Petri is icily superb throughout, but the real pleasure here is in the music, not simply the mechanics.

by James Manheim, June 2012
All Music Guide

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
Great Klassik Heute review on English Recorder Concertos
Klassik Heute Magazine
12 July 2012
Die Kunst von Inselvölkern zeichnet sich oft durch eine – im besten Sinne – konservative Eigenwilligkeit aus. So unterscheidet sich schon seit Jahrhunderten die Musik der Britischen Inseln deutlich von der des Europäischen Festlands. Im Zwanzigsten Jahrhundert bewahrte sich die Insel gegenüber den Exzessen der Zweiten Wiener Schule und Donaueschingens eine gelassene Distanz, um mit eigenen, bemerkenswert originären Komponisten aufzuwarten. Talente (ja, ich möchte sagen: Genies) wie etwa Britten oder Tippett hätten sich auf dem Kontinent wohl kaum so individuell entwickelt. Und da Vielfalt bekanntermaßen erfreut, ist in Großbritannien in den vergangenen achtzig Jahren eine originelle Blockflötenmusik erwachsen, von der der Rest Europas erst erstaunlich spät Kenntnis genommen hat. Eine zentrale Rolle spielte hierbei Carl Dolmetsch (1911-1997), der für seine über Jahrzehnte hinweg jährlich stattfindenden Wigmore Hall Recitals Originalwerke bei den renommiertesten britischen Komponisten bestellt hat. Mit unglaublichem Enthusiasmus setzt bis auf den heutigen Tag der Blockflötist John Turner (*1943) diese Tradition fort und bleibt mit über 500 initiierten und uraufgeführten Werken am Puls der Zeit.
Im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen europäischen Blockflötisten fühlte sich Michala Petri der englischen Musik stets tief verbunden. Mit ihrer neuen CD erweist sie dieser eindrucksvollen Tradition ihre Reverenz und vereint mit Gordon Jacobs' Suite, Malcolm Arnolds Konzert sowie Richard Harveys 2009 entstandenen Concerto incantato zwei „Klassiker" mit einem aufregenden neuen Werk, das sich sicher bald einen Spitzenplatz im modernen Repertoire erobern dürfte.
Als idealer Partner für Petris virtuoses, kristallklares Spiel fand sich das hervorragend disponierte, präzise, sensibel und präsent agierende City of Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra unter Leitung von Jean Thorel.
Mit Richard Harvey (*1953) hat Petri einen der bekanntesten Komponisten Englands und darüber hinaus weltweit gefragtesten Filmmusikkomponisten gewinnen können, für sie und ihr Instrument zu schreiben. Sein 2009 vollendetes Concerto incantato entstand zum zehnjährigen Bestehen des City of Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra und wirkt der Solistin wie auf den Leib geschneidert. Selbst ein beachtlicher Blockflötist, kennt Harvey das Instrument sehr genau und versteht es daher, die besonderen Vorzüge der Blockflöte herauszustellen. Die Satztitel des fünfteiligen Werkes verweisen in die Welt des Zauberischen, Märchenhaften. Mit kantablen Melodien, zündender Rhythmik und fantasievoller Instrumentation spricht das Konzert unmittelbar an. Bemerkenswert etwa die Kombination von tiefer Klarinette und hoher Blockflöte im dritten Satz Danza Spiriti, besonders effektvoll der Finalsatz, der mit seiner minimalistischen Einleitung, tänzerischer Verve in wechselnden Taktarten und einer virtuosen Solokadenz das Konzert beschließt. Ein Meisterwerk!
Sir Malcolm Arnold (1921–2006) zählte zu den vielseitigsten und fruchtbarsten britischen Komponisten der Gegenwart. Selbst ganz aus der Praxis kommend (er war Trompeter beim London Philharmonic Orchestra) strahlt seine Musik Spielfreude aus und erfreut sich nicht von ungefähr ungebrochener Beliebtheit bei Interpreten und Publikum gleichermaßen. Sein 1988 für Michala Petri komponiertes Konzert ist klassisch dreisätzig angelegt. Herausragend dabei der gesangliche Mittelsatz und das spritzige Finale. Der „Leggiero-Ton" des Werkes überrascht, entstand es doch nur kurze Zeit nach der grandiosen 9. Symphonie, die Zeugnis von einer physisch wie psychisch äußerst schwierigen Lebensphase des Meisters ablegt.
Der Kreis schließt sich mit einem Werk von Arnolds Kompositionslehrer Gordon Jacob. Seine 1957 auf Anregung Carl Dolmetschs geschriebene Suite zählt auch noch nach über fünfzig Jahren zu den beliebtesten englischen Blockflötenwerken des 20. Jahrhunderts. Jacobs' Musik, geschult am Stil seiner Lehrer Stanford und Howells und seines Freundes Vaughan Williams, steht dabei in bester britischer Tradition. Glanzpunkte seiner Suite sind die Burlesca alla rumba und die unwiderstehliche Final-Tarantella.
Wie stets bei OUR Recordings überzeugen  Design (Michala vor der Kulisse von Stonehenge) und vor allem auch die vorzüglichen, ausführlichen Beihefttexte.
Eine höchst empfehlenswerte CD, die nicht nur ausgesprochene Blockflötenfans, sondern ein breites Publikum begeistern wird!

Heinz Braun
(16.06.2012)

Wertung:  9 / 9 / 9

English Translation of Klassik Heute Review.

The artistic production of island dwellers has often been characterized by a sort of conservative individualism - in the best sense of the word. For example, the English; for centuries the music of the British Isles distinguished itself from much of what was going on in the European mainland. In the twentieth century, they persevered against the excesses of the Second Viennese School and maintained a serene distance from Donaueschingen and the Darmstadt school, and yet still managed to come up with their own, remarkably original composers. Such talents (and yes, I would even say geniuses…), such as Britten and Tippett could have hardly developed on the continent with such individuality. In a similar manner, for more than eighty years, the UK has been a particularly favourable environment in which an entirely new musical literature for the recorder has flourished – an instrument that contemporary European musicians have only begun to take note of as of late.
Playing a pivotal role in this vital literature was Carl Dolmetsch (1911-1997), who regularly premiered new works from Britain's most renowned composers at his yearly recitals at Wigmore Hall. Recorder player John Turner (born 1943) ably continued Dolmetsch's tradition with incredible enthusiasm. Together, these two men commissioned more than 500 new works for the recorder.
Unlike many European recorder players, Michala Petri has always felt a deep connection to the English recorder tradition. With her new CD, she once again proves her mastery of that impressive tradition with a thoughtful program that includes Gordon Jacobs' Suite, Malcolm Arnold's Concerto and Richard Harvey's 2009 Concerto incantato; two "classics" paired with an exciting new work, which will certainly become one of the highpoints in the modern recorder concert repertoire.
Petri's crystal clear virtuosity finds an ideal partner in perfectly balanced, idiomatic and sensitive accompaniments of the Hong Kong City Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jean Thorel.


Petri is one of the few musicians who could call upon Richard Harvey (b. 1953), one of England's most famous and sought-after film score composers, to write a concerto for them. His 2009 Concerto incantato, composed for the tenth anniversary of the City of Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra is a work perfectly tailored to the talents of the soloist. Harvey understands the instrument very well and carefully writes his score to show both the instrument and soloist off to best effect. Each of the work's five movements suggests the world of fairy-tale and magic. Harvey brings his concerto to life with lyrical melodies, rousing rhythms and imaginative orchestrations that have direct appeal. A noteworthy bit of orchestral colour occurs in the third movement, Danza Spiriti, where he pairs the sound of the clarinet in its low register while the recorder plays in its high tessitura. Or the final movement, beginning with a minimalist introduction before blossoming into a lively dance with changing time signatures and a virtuoso solo cadenza. A masterpiece!
Sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) was one of England's most versatile and prolific composers. As a practical musician himself (he was a trumpeter with the London Philharmonic Orchestra), Arnold 's music exudes enthusiasm and it is no surprise that many of his works have enjoyed wide popularity with performers and audiences alike. His 1988 Concerto, composed for Michala Petri, is a classical concerto in three movements. Highpoints include the lyrical middle movement and the sparkling finale. The "Light" tone of the work may come as a surprise, having been written just a short time after the magnificent 9th Symphony – a testament of a physically and psychologically very difficult time in the composer's life.
The circle is completed with a work by Arnold's composition teacher, Gordon Jacob. Written in 1957 at the suggestion of Carl Dolmetsch, Jacob's suite is still, after over fifty years, one of the most popular English recorder works of the 20th Century. Having studied with Stanford, Howells and Vaughan Williams, it is no surprise the Jacob's music is written in the best British tradition. Highlights of his piece include the Burlesca alla rumba and the irresistible final Tarantella.
As always, OUR Recordings provides an attractive package (Michala against the backdrop of Stonehenge grace the cover…), and above all, excellent, detailed program notes.
A highly recommended CD that will not only delight recorder fans, but will also appeal to a wide audience!

Klassik Heute Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
Corelli : La Follia
BBC Music Magazine gives 2 times 5 star (Max) and CHAMBER CHOICE to Corelli La Follia
BBC Music Magazine
17 June 2012
BBC Music Magazine
CHAMBER CHOICE February 2015
Performance 5 star (maximum)
Recording 5 star (maximum)

A vivacious partnership

Mahan Esfahani and Michala Petri play with captivating directness
Paul Riley enjoys Michala Petri and Mahan Esfahani's take of Corelli.

A decade after Corelli's Op.5 Violin Sonatas were introduced to England, writer and musician Roger North observed, "It is wonderful what a scratching of Corelli there is everywhere – nothing will relish but Corelli". The set represented the defining moment of the early Baroque violin sonatas, and it wasn't just violinists doing the relishing. Recorder transcriptions abounded, and Michala Petri addresses the "sonata de camera" leg of Op.5 in the company of a harpsichordist fast turning into a serial and lively collaborator: Mahan Esfahani. Not since Richard Egarr teamed up with Andrew Manze (Harmonia Mundi) has op. 5 enjoyed such vivacious and inventive continuo realisation.
Petri and Esfahani's is an invigorating ensemble effort, each sparking off the other to foster a captivating directness whether sparkling or soulful. Nothing is safe and reverential,- and yet there's no iconoclastic agenda either. Preludious are ideally urbane; an almost Bachian dialogue invades No.8's Giga, while La Follia emerges beautifully paced, artfully embellished and vividly characterized. Compared to the violin, there's an inevitable chaste innocence to the liquid sound of Petri's recorder – which Esfahani is able to subvert with sly humour. If the violin (as wielded by Manze) remains Op.5's true home, the perspective provided by this newcomer undoubtedly relishes
BBC Music Magazine

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
Northern Times on "Virtuoso Baroque"
Northern Times Magazine
17 June 2012
The latest musical collarboration between recorder specialist Petri and lutenist Hannibal finds the duo exploring the flamboyant delights of the Baroque. Splendid works by Bach, Telemann, Vivaldi and Handel are all given an airing, and the two mastermusicians also tackle an arrangement of Giuseppe Tartini's most famous creation, the deliciously diabolical Devisl's Trill, which the Italian composer was inspired to penn in 1713 after a dream in which Lucifer himself had appeared at the foot of his bed wielding a violin.
Kevin Bryan, Northern Times, UK
Northern Times Magazine
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