cd reviews
currently showing records for:
DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
Verstörend schön - 5 stars Überragend
Miguel Cabruja Klassik.com
13 January 2020
Das dänische Label OUR Recordings hat Axel Borup-Jørgensen eine Box gewidmet.
Axel Borup-Jørgensens (1924–2012) Orchesterwerk 'Marin' beginnt leise grollend wie aus weiter Ferne. Dann aber verdichtet 'Marin' sich, spitzt sich zu, schwillt an und zieht den Zuhörer in einen Strudel heranrollender, sich überschlagender Klangwellen, um dann wieder abzuebben und zu verklingen. Die 1970 von Herbert Blomstedt uraufgeführte, riesenhafte Komposition mit 55 notierten Streicherstimmen zeichnet kein lieblich-maritimes Naturbild. Sie ergeht sich auch nicht in Klischees – weder in denen der musikalischen Moderne noch in denen einer wie auch immer gearteten Nachromantik. 'Marin' ist wohl das bedeutendste Orchesterwerk Borup-Jørgensens. Als solches steht es im Zentrum der Doppel-Box, die das dänische Label OUR Recordings dem in Hjørring geborenen und in Schweden aufgewachsenen Komponisten gewidmet hat.
Repräsentativer Querschnitt
Hervorragend durch das DR SymfoniOrkestret (Leitung: Thomas Søndergård) interpretiert, eröffnet 'Marin' die in brillantem Raumklang eingespielte SACD der Doppel-Box. Die folgenden Kompositionen für Ensembles und Soloinstrumente ergeben einen repräsentativen Querschnitt durch Borup-Jørgensens Werk. Zu hören sind 'music for percussion + viola', 'Für Cembalo und Orgel', 'Nachtstück', 'winter pieces', 'Pergolato' und 'Coast of Sirens'. Sie alle zeigen einen Komponisten, der in den 1950er Jahren die Darmstädter Ferienkurse besuchte, sich aber nicht seriellen Tendenzen oder elektroakustischen Experimenten zuwandte, sondern stattdessen seine Inspirationen in der schwedischen Natur und Poesie fand. Das wird vor allem auch in der Komposition 'Coast of Sirens' deutlich, die sich mit dem Odysseus-Mythos auseinandersetzt. Das exzellent von der Århus Sinfonietta (Leitung: Søren Kinch Hansen) interpretierte Stück für Flöte, Klarinette, Violine, Cello, Gitarre, Klavier, Perkussion und Multivoice Tape scheint wie aus archaischer Vergangenheit herüberzuwehen und ist in seiner unromantischen Naturhaftigkeit faszinierend düster und verstörend schön zugleich.
Geheimnisvolle Unterwasserwelt
Den Tonträger ergänzt die Box durch eine DVD, die unter dem schlichten Titel 'Axel' (Produktion: Allan O Lückow und Lars Hannibal) ein Portrait des Komponisten enthält. Zeitgenossen, Weggefährten, Kollegen sowie die Tochter Borup-Jørgensens tragen zu der Dokumentation bei. Auf der DVD ist außerdem ein computeranimierter Film (Regie: Morten Bartholdy) zu sehen, der 'Marin' in bewegte Bilder übersetzt: Zu den Klängen der auch auf der SACD enthaltenen Einspielung führt die Animation in eine geheimnisvolle Unterwasserwelt, in der sich mythologisch wirkende Wesen durch surreale Stadträume und Bauten bewegen. Auch wenn das visuelle Konzept auf Zeichnungen Borup-Jørgensens basiert, ist der Film ausdrücklich kein Versuch, seine Musik zu bebildern oder zu erläutern. Für manche mag er eine Hilfe sein, sich auf 'Marin' einzulassen. Andere werden sich lieber mit der Musik allein auseinandersetzen wollen. Beides lohnt sich in jedem Fall. 13.01.2020 Miguel Cabruja  

Miguel Cabruja Klassik.com

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
10/10/10 Unbedingte Kaufempfehlung!.
Thomas Baack - Klassik Heute
31 December 2019
Johann Sebastian Bachs sechs für die Traversflöte geschriebene Sonaten – jeweils drei mit obligatem und begleitendem Cembalo – sind hinsichtlich ihrer technischen und musikalischen Anforderungen die komplexesten Werke für diese Besetzung, die uns das Barock überliefert hat. Der geforderte ungewöhnlich große Tonumfang von d1-g3 – die meisten Zeitgenossen beschränken sich auf d1-e3 – hat zu der Spekulation Anlass gegeben, dass es sich hier um Auftragswerke für den Dresdner Hofflötisten Pierre-Gabriel Buffardin oder dessen Schüler und Kollegen Johann Joachim Quantz handeln könnte, jedoch sind bisher keine diesbezüglichen Quellen aus den Beständen der Sächsischen Hofkapelle ans Licht gekommen. Werke mit dem üblichen geringeren Umfang lassen sich problemlos auf einer Blockflöte in D, einer sogenannten Voice-Flute, in der Originaltonart spielen. Will man eine „normale“ Alt-Blockflöte verwenden, muss man die Stücke – wie bereits in den barocken Quellen vielfach beschrieben – um eine kleine oder große Terz aufwärts transponieren. Dies funktioniert mit den Bach-Sonaten wegen ihres erweiterten Umfangs nur mit Abstrichen, da es zwar Kopien nach Instrumenten der Bach-Zeit gibt, auf denen diese extrem hohen Töne, wenngleich mit Kniffen wie dem Abdecken des Schallbechers auf dem Oberschenkel, dynamisch variabel ansprechen (Denner-Modelle), diese aber über ein eher schwaches tiefes Register verfügen. Instrumente nach englischer Bauart (Stanesby/Bressan) verfügen zwar über eine sonore Tiefe, reagieren jedoch oberhalb von e3 (Voice)/g3(Alt) nur auf einen, der Klangqualität abträglichen erhöhten Blasdruck.
Eine moderne Lösung
Michala Petri, die „Primadonna assoluta ohne Allüre“ der Blockflöte löst dieses Problem radikal, indem sie auf „harmonische“ Blockflöten setzt, einen Instrumententypus, der durch längere Bauart - selbst Sopranflöten benötigen hier eine Doppelklappe – den Spielern einen erweiterten Umfang, eine weitere Dynamik und ein auch in großen Sälen tragfähiges Volumen verschafft. Diese Instrumente wurden in den 90er Jahren parallel für Moeck (Ralf Ehlert) und Mollenhauer (Joachim Paetzold und Nik Tarasov) entwickelt und liegen von der Klangcharakteristik in der Mitte zwischen einer Barockblockflöte und einer hölzernen Querflöte in konischer Bohrung, wie sie bis zum Zweiten Weltkrieg in vielen deutschen Orchestern geblasen wurde. Nachteil ist allerdings, dass diese Instrumente nur in moderner Stimmung (442 Hz) zur Verfügung stehen, was für das Cembalo – und in diesem Fall die Gambe – bedeutet, einen Halbton höher als gewohnt musizieren zu müssen.
Prüfsteine des Bach-Sonatenspiels sind die beiden düsteren Werke in h- und e-moll. Petri, die sich dank des bis e1 erweiterten Tonumfangs der Mollenhauer-Instrumente für die Originaltonart und nicht für die grifftechnisch einfachere Halbtontransposition nach c-moll entschied, und ihre Kollegen verzichten darauf, das Andante, dessen Anfangsduktus an die Bass-Arie „Erleucht‘ auch meine finstren Sinnen“ aus dem Weihnachtsoratorium anklingt, mit einem passionsartigen Trauerflor zu versehen. Sie stellen vielmehr die gezackten 32stel-Motive, die sich in den anschließenden – von Petri wundervoll schlackenlos im Legato phrasierten – 16tel Triolen nie ganz entspannen können, als Moment der Aggression klar heraus, so dass sich ein Bogen zu den trotzigen Synkopen des Gigue-Abschnitts im Presto-Finale ergibt. Ähnliches geschieht im Adagio ma non troppo der e-moll Sonate (hier nach g-moll inklusive des b3 als „Crí de coeur“ transponiert) wo die Zweierbindungen der 16tel nicht geschmackvoll angeseufzt, sondern als existenzielles Stöhnen wahrnehmbar werden. Ursprünglich hat mich der improvisatorische Einstieg in den chaconneartigen Bass des Andantes irritiert. Als Antwort im Gestus eines „sich erst einmal selbst wieder finden Müssens“ auf das im vorangegangen Allegro entfachte Feuerwerk, überzeugt es mich nach wiederholtem Anhören durchaus, wenngleich dieser Effekt der Ratlosigkeit „live“ noch stärker wirken dürfte.
Diskussionen dürfte die Verwendung der Gambe in den Sonaten mit obligatem Cembalo entfachen. Hier befinden wir uns in einem Grauzonenbereich. Die h-moll Sonate würde sich vom Charakter her durchaus als Bereicherung der 6 Sonaten a 2 Clav. et Ped. für Orgel anbieten. Ebenso wäre ein Arrangement als Trio für Flöte, Violine, Continuo denkbar. Somit stört die sehr differenziert eingesetzte Gambe Hille Perls den Gesamteindruck weniger als der eher farblose Klang des Cembalos in der Lage zwischen c1 und c3. Hier hätte eine massivere Registrierung oder aufmerksamere Aufnahmetechnik zu optimalen Resultaten führen können. Auch überzeugt mich das von Jukka Ollikka neu entworfene Cembalo mit Carbon-Resonanzboden nur bedingt, da es mich zu sehr an die Bach-Cembali des seligen Neupert erinnert, was allerdings auch an der für Cembali klanglich unfreundlichen hohen Stimmung liegen mag, die der spielerischen Brillanz Mahan Esfahanis den gebührenden Raum verweigert.
Vergleich mit der alten Aufnahme mit Keith Jarrett
Vergleicht man die neue Einspielung mit der 1992 eingespielten Version, muss das Urteil lauten: für die damaligen Verhältnisse durchaus eine Sensation, im Vergleich zur Neueinspielung technisch damals schon von einer unglaublichen Könnerschaft beflügelt, interpretatorisch jedoch viel zu brav – ein Umstand, der mir manche frühe Petri-Interpretation verleidet, was gerade dann peinlich auffällt, wenn die Gambensonaten auf nur bedingt historischen „Fifth Flutes“ musiziert werden, so klanglich nett und spannend das auch sein mag.. Oder zynisch formuliert: Heinz und Sabinchen spielen virtuos mit einem Sonatinchen. Um den Reifungsprozess Michala Petris nachvollziehen zu können, reicht einzig ein Vergleich mit BWV 1034/1.
Präsentation
Das Booklet mit Beiträgen aller drei Protagonisten ist höchst informativ und liegt dankenswerterweise auch in deutscher Übersetzung vor. Klangtechnisch erscheint mir das Cembalo etwas benachteiligt.
Fazit: Michala Petri, Mahan Esfahani und Hille Perl verweisen mit ihrem tiefen Eindringen in die Bach-Sonaten und ihre stupende Umsetzung des Erkannten sämtliche Aufnahmen mit Block- und moderner Querflöte auf die hinteren Plätze. Einzig Barthold Kuijken auf dem Traverso erreicht dieses Niveau annähernd. Faszinierend, wie sich Petris in flötistischer Sicht immer allen Zweifeln überlegene Interpretation zum Essentiellen gewandelt hat. Unbedingte Kaufempfehlung!.
Thomas Baack - Klassik Heute

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
It is a benchmark surely for these works, filled with beauty and wonder.
Grego Applegate Edwards- Classical Modern Music. Blogspot.com
31 December 2019
One would be hard pressed to find a more talented and idiomatic trio to perform the Bach 6 Flute Sonatas BWV 1030-1035 (Our Recordings 6.220673) than you have today with the triumvirate of Michala Petri on recorder, Hille Peri on viola da gamba and Mahan Esfanhani on harpsichord.

Ms. Petri gives the transposed flute part a beautifully plaintive tone on the recorder and has breathtaking velocity for the nearly concerted allegro movements. Hille Perl and Mahan Esfahani sound regal and lucid in the realization of their parts throughout. One can gain much both listening to the whole and then to each part, which of course is a testament to the thoroughgoing genius of Bach and the beautiful playing of the trio.

The production values as ever are first rate, typical happily of Our Recordings--and that goes for the audio and CD production as well as the tasteful, state-of-the-art printing and graphic design work.

Bach's inventive magic prevails and never flags. As Mahan Esfahani points out in the illuminating liners, Bach playfully leaves open in the music itself the implications of other instrumentation possibilities (including recorder substituting for flute) which of course this trio takes full advantage of with a special brilliance.

I recommend this recording to you without hesitation. It is a benchmark surely for these works, filled with beauty and wonder. 

Grego Applegate Edwards- Classical Modern Music. Blogspot.com

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
Petri plays with her usual clarity and precision
Recorder Magazine (UK)
19 December 2019
This recording brings together three very different artists in some very familiar repertoire. The Bach flute sonatas have provided an irresistible challenge to many a recorder player over the decades with varied results. Petri performs these transcribed works mainly on tenor – two Moeck Rottenburgh and one developed Ralf Ehlert. There is accomplished playing from all the performers, Petri plays with her usual clarity and precision though on occasion the harpsichord can feel overly dominant.

Recorder Magazine (UK)

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
"..the company as one of the most daring recording organisations in Europe today"
Stuart Millson, Endnotes UK
19 December 2019
Endnotes (UK)
Recorded in the Musikkens Hus, Aalborg, Denmark, with an acoustic of all-embracing warmth, yet with the tiniest detail clearly registering, and engineered to capture every level of the soloist’s involvement, is an engrossing trio of contemporary Danish and Faroese recorder concertos – specially chosen by the OUR label, an enterprise which seeks to turn the obscure into the mainstream.
The composers featured in this collection may well be new names for most British listeners: Thomas Koppel (1944-2006); Pelle Gudmunsen-Holmgreen (b. 1932) and Sunlief Rasmussen (b. 1961). According to the biographical notes presented in the CD booklet, the composers assembled generally represent a break with what may broadly be described as the naturalistic, romantic Scandinavian era of music, as embodied by Sibelius or Nielsen. Thomas Koppel, for example, was a composer motivated by concerns about the dispossessed – although his Moonchild’s Dream creates nevertheless an unexpectedly ethereal, watery atmosphere – a Nordic nocturne of lyricism and gentleness. Meanwhile, Holmgreen and Rasmussen offer a more “jagged” sound, perhaps closer to the symphonic works of Uuno Klami (1900-61) which exists somewhere in between the most austere Nielsen and the harder edges and angles of the avant garde.
Rasmussen’s concerto, from 2009, is made up of five movements – with titles such as ‘Misterioso’ and ‘Tranquillo’ – the recorder being required to range over a dazzling array of musical ideas and special effects. At one point, the orchestral composition seems to exude the sound of a distant, out-of-focus “drift” of human voices – such is the completely original and unusual timbre and atmosphere of this work.
The soloist performing on this CD is the world-renowned Michala Petri – a musician equally at home in the baroque as she is in the stretched tonality of contemporary Scandinavian music. Accompanied by the 70-strong Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Henrik Vagn Christensen, the OUR label has opened up completely new musical vistas – confirming the company as one of the most daring recording organisations in Europe today. 
Stuart Millson, Endnotes UK

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
: Petri, Perl und Esfahani musizieren intensiv, schlüssig und inspiriert. Diese Drei haben ihren Bach verstanden.
Dr. Matthias Lange, Klassik.com (Germany)
18 December 2019
Anverwandelt
Eine tolle Kammermusikformation hat sich da zusammengefunden: Petri, Perl und Esfahani musizieren intensiv, schlüssig und inspiriert. Diese Drei haben ihren Bach verstanden.
Die sechs Sonaten BWV 1030 bis 1035 von Johann Sebastian Bach sind in ihrer überlieferten Form für die Traversflöte als Soloinstrument bestimmt, die ersten drei dazu mit obligatem Cembalo, die anderen mit Basso continuo. Nicht alle sind in ihrer Authentizität gesichert, weswegen mancher Interpret nicht das gesamte Konvolut einspielt, was bedauerlich ist: Sind es doch hochwertige Werke, stilistisch flexibel und durchaus nach vorn gewandt. Deshalb ist es erfreulich, wenn hochklassige Interpreten sich ihrer annehmen, auch wenn das in veränderter Gestalt geschieht – so wie auf der aktuellen Platte der dänischen Blockflötistin Michaela Petri, gemeinsam mit der Gambistin Hille Perl und dem Cembalisten Mahan Esfahani.
Die Übertragung für die Blockflöte ist kein absurder Exotismus: Zum einen sind Übertragungen instrumentaler Solostimmen oder ganzer Solowerke von Bachs Hand oder der eines seiner Schüler durchaus nichts Ungewöhnliches, weshalb von manchem Werk mehrere gültige, zumindest plausible Versionen bekannt sind. Zum anderen ist Bachs instrumentale Idiomatik weit weniger ausgeprägt als zum Beispiel bei seinem Zeitgenossen Telemann: Bachs komplexer Personalstil mag auf Anhieb unverkennbar sein, die Frage, welchem Instrument konkret eine Linie oder Figur zuzuordnen ist, ist nicht vergleichbar leicht zu entscheiden. Deshalb mag hier der – auch historisch und theoretisch gut grundierte – Pragmatismus die Oberhand behalten: Bachs Musik ist so attraktiv, dass sie jeder und jedem für eine inspirierte Deutung offensteht.
Edle Kammermusik
Und Michaela Petri, erfahren im älteren Repertoire wie in der Musik der Gegenwart, ist inspiriert. Natürlich auf stabilen Grundlagen: Edle Artikulation, perlende Geläufigkeit und technische Souveränität – all das ist reichlich zu hören. Zugleich verlässt sie in keinem Augenblick ein geradezu natürlich strömender Ton, elegant in allen Lagen und auf allen verwendeten Alt- und Tenorinstrumenten gleichermaßen. Bachs ja gerade nicht leicht zu explizierendes Idiom verlebendigt sie ganz selbstverständlich, mühelos und plausibel. Die Tempi sind entschieden gewählt, stimmige Relationen das Ergebnis, mit einem feinen Sog in der Satzfolge der Sonaten.
Das Cembalo von Mahan Esfahani ist in BWV 1030-1032 ‚concertato‘ gefordert. Entsprechend präsent und geschmackvoll dialogisiert Esfahani, durchaus selbstbewusst, im musikalischen Rang direkt platziert neben der Blockflöte von Michaela Petri. Gemeinsam mit der Gambistin Hille Perl formiert er auch in den anderen Sonaten einen Basso continuo, der agil ist und wesentlich mehr mitgestaltet als diese Abstufung vermuten ließe. Ergebnis ist ein feines Ensemble, das auch in der Rasanz eines Presto keine bloße Artistik vorführt, sondern stimmiges, kommunikatives Musizieren. Und wenn es ‚Largo e dolce‘ heißt, werden lyrische Schönheiten mit Geduld und Seele ausmusiziert. Das alles in einem klaren, feingliedrigen Klangbild, das gut disponiert ist und mit einer feinen räumlichen Note versehen. Allenfalls eine um Nuancen zu schlanke Basssphäre ist anzumerken. Eine tolle Kammermusikformation hat sich da zusammengefunden: Petri, Perl und Esfahani musizieren intensiv, schlüssig und inspiriert. Diese Drei haben ihren Bach verstanden. 
Dr. Matthias Lange, Klassik.com (Germany)

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
Tour De Force Reprise Of Bach Flute Sonatas
Karen Cook, Early Music America, US
16 December 2019
Danish recorder player Michala Petri plays the six Bach flute sonatas on her new recording.
Bach: 6 Flute Sonatas BWV 1030–1035. Michala Petri (recorder), Hille Perl (viola da gamba), Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord). OUR Recordings 6.220673
It has been more than 25 years since recorder virtuoso Michala Petri last recorded J. S. Bach’s six flute sonatas. That album, with Keith Jarrett on harpsichord, was released in 1992 to great acclaim; this one will undoubtedly receive effusive praise as well.
When returning to the same works after such a length of time, one might expect to hear a completely new approach, a drastic contrast. Not so here; Petri is still a tour de force, but she plays here with an ease and command that can only be borne through working with this kind of music until it sinks into your bones. That artistic maturity shows through in her discerning approach to articulation, rhetorical gesture, tempo, and tone color. She chooses different instruments this time around, shifting downward in register to alto and tenor recorders (requiring three of the sonatas to be transposed from Bach’s original keys).
Perhaps most significant, though, is the change in continuo: in addition to Mahan Esfahani’s harpsichord, the bass line is reinforced by Hille Perl on viola da gamba. Perl’s rich, warm lower register is the perfect complement to Petri’s recorders, and the moments in which she occupies the main stage — listen, for example, to the lovely plucked introduction to the Andante of BWV 1034 or the subtle presence of her drone in the first movement of BWV 1033 — are to be prized. Whether due to this change in configuration, the louder yet mellower harpsichord, or simple taste, the acoustic space sounds warmer and more intimate than that of the earlier recording.
While on a few occasions I would not be sorry to have the gamba come through even a bit more in the mix, on the whole the acoustic environment captures the blend of the three instruments beautifully. Every movement of each sonata feels like a conversation between old friends; everyone might be at Petri’s house, but that doesn’t mean that Esfahani and Perl sit in silence. In the opening Allegro moderato of BWV 1031, for example, it is Esfahani who begins, laying out the basic thematic material before scurrying away in a flutter of fast scalar passages. Petri enters, reiterating the main melody, but just below her is Perl, who makes the bass line sing like a natural countermelody rather than a mere tonal prop. Or, as contrast, listen to the more communal effort found in the concluding Allegros of BWV 1032 and 1035, both of which showcase equally the virtuosity of each player.
Bach likely wrote these six sonatas for the flauto traverso, if indeed he wrote all of them (his authorship of two of them remains disputed). However, Bach was a practical musician who lived in practical times; whether or not he might have had a preferred key, or instrument, he certainly felt free to borrow, rearrange, and alter musical ideas from himself and from others with great frequency. It stands to reason, then, that he might have rather enjoyed Petri’s recorders. I know I do. Karen Cook, December 16th 2019
Karen Cook specializes in the music, theory, and notation of the late medieval and early Renaissance periods. She is assistant professor of music at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.
Karen Cook, Early Music America, US

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
Bach – safe in the hands of Michala Petri.
Elizabeth Walker, Flute Journal, UK
09 December 2019
Johann Sebastian Bach 6 Flute Sonatas BWV 1030 – 1035 Michala Petri recorder, Hille Perl viola da gamba, Mahan Esfahani harpsichord. OUR recordings.com distributed by NGL Naxos. 
I have long been a fan of Michala Petri, knowing of her performances when I was a student of the recorder in the early 1980’s. Michala has contributed enormously to the popularity of the instrument, inspiring generations of recorder players, including myself, with her musicianship, clarity of sound and collaboration with composers and great musicians. So, I was delighted to be invited to review this disc.
I recorded J.S. Bach’s flute sonatas in 2011 for Quartz Music with my group Continuum. I too chose not to record them on the instrument for which they were composed, namely the one keyed baroque flute, but to record them on a modern wooden flute. However, I do play and perform on the baroque flute and first learnt these sonatas on this instrument. I strongly believe that the creative genius of Johann Sebastian Bach is evident in the way he highlights and exaggerates the innate unequal chromatic tones of the baroque flute.
 
In the baroque era we see composers such as Telemann, Handel, Leclair, Boismortier and others, publishing a sonata with a list of possible instruments it can be played on – Flute, Recorder, Oboe or Violin. These pieces we feel at liberty to transpose for different recorders or arrange in a different compass to suit a different instrument. However, J.S.Bach was far more specific about his instrumentation. Notice in the orchestral scores of Bach’s oratorios for example, how he chooses a particular instrument to characterise each and every aria and recitative. As musicians we should surely respect this and decide not to play the flute sonatas on anything other than a flute. However, the music contained in these stunning sonatas is perhaps simply too good not to share! 
And so, the next question naturally arises; should we try to reproduce the sonatas reflecting all the nuances and inflections possible on a baroque flute, or capture the essence of the recorder and make these sonatas resonate with the intrinsic qualities of this instrument? For me, the answer is perhaps to try and do both!  In the CD notes, harpsichordist, Mahan Esfahani writes “It should be clear from the performances on this particular disc that the performers have not simply transferred to another instrument all the mannerisms and idiom of the flute… Instead, we have translated Bach’s music to the capabilities of our own instruments”. And in this wonderful new recording, I believe Michala Petri and her fabulous continuo team do indeed achieve this. 
 
Michala Petri tackles the breathtakingly complex B minor sonata BWV 1030 on an alto recorder with clarity of expression and space. (See below.) As an obligato sonata, the use of a strung bass is not strictly necessary, but here the viola da gamba was used in all but the 3rd movement Presto, and this brought an additional expression and variety to the ensemble. I was particularly struck by the slow movement, where Michala Petri created momentum with naturally flowing lines and use of vibrato; never too jovial, never too self-indulgent. The third movement is naturally a perfect movement for the recorder, with sprightly articulations, syncopated rhythms and a wide range of voicings, all sounding effortless with Michala’s brilliant expertise. 
In the CD notes I could not find any information about who had written the arrangements, or realised the incomplete A major sonata, (performed here in G major) or the choice of recorder, tenor versus alto? I would have liked to have had a lot more information about these choices. The next few sonatas are performed on a tenor recorder, which changes the dynamics of the ensemble hugely. The E flat major sonata BWV 1031 felt earthier with this deeper tonality, and there were sections of the first movement where I felt the recorder voicing to be a little too low. However, the recorder was perfectly sonorous in the beautiful Siciliano and a lovely balance of tone was found between the harpsichord and lyrical gamba. 
 
The A major sonata, BWV 1032 had great energy and balance with some intelligent use of variety in the continuo team, the Largo e dolce showing how skilfully Michala Petri uses her vibrato. In this movement I would expect to miss the flute’s ability to add pathos and colour to the harmonic notes, but these were all given special attention by Petri
The C major sonata BWV 1033 was again performed on a tenor recorder and the Menuettos were a real highlight of the disc for me – glorious ornaments and variety from Michala Petri, and again, great variety from the continuo team.
Sadly, I really missed the sonority and colour of the flute in the great E minor sonata BWV 1034 (performed here in G minor). I felt the first movement lacked gravity and pathos and the natural inability to shape the ends of notes on the recorder, which was somewhat highlighted on the gamba, was missing in the recorder line. However, the second movement was far more successful, and the third movement, Andante, was another disc highlight for me. A beautiful idea to open the movement with the glorious bass line played as a gamba solo, the recorder line finally added with a glorious, ringing tonality. 
The final sonata on this disc is the Flute Sonata in E major BWV 1035, performed here on alto recorder in F major. This fabulous sonata works very well on the recorder and I greatly enjoyed hearing the Siciliano as a recorder and gamba duet with the harpsichord adding a rhythmical accompaniment in the repeated sections. 
This is a wonderfully crafted disc with lots of variety from the continuo team and skilled recorder playing. Bach – safe in the hands of Michala Petri.
Elizabeth Walker, Flute Journal, UK

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
A pure Bach delight. - 6 Stars
Peter Dürrfeld, Kristeligt Dagblad
03 December 2019
6 stars
Den rene Bach-fryd

I den kanoniserede BWV – Johann Sebastian Bachs værkfortegnelse – dækker numrene 1030-1035 de seks fløjtesonater, som for et halvt års tid siden henrykkede tilhørerne og denne anmelder ved en koncert i Garnisons Kirke i København. Begejstringen er ikke blevet mindre efter et genhør på en nyligt udgivet cd - hele musikken er nemlig nu blevet udgivet af OUR Recordings. Som sædvanligt er udstyret og den lydtekniske kvalitet helt i top, og det samme gælder i allerhøjeste grad, hvad de tre musikere – den verdensberømte danske blokfløjtenist Michala Petri den tyske viola da gamba-virtuos Hille Perl og den iranske cembalist Mahan Esfahani– præsterer på deres instrumenter. De spiller hele vejen igennem Bachs herlige musik med kraft og saft, uden krukkeri eller svinkeærinder.
Og spilletiden er generøs: de seks fløjtesonater har en samlet varighed på omkring fem kvarter, og det er værd at understrege, at det på intet tidspunkt bliver ensformigt, heller ikke selvom skiven – som i mit tilfælde – har fået adskillige ture i cd-afspilleren. Det er måske en af hemmelighederne ved mange af Bachs værker, at de er så slidstærke. Og man opdager ved hver gennemlytning, at der er talrige variationer både i helheden og inden for den enkelte sonate: En svævende siciliano-sats kan blive afløst af en halsbrækkende allegro, og pludselig træder cembalisten frem som solist, eller man oplever subtilt pizzicato-spil fra gamben, der ellers har bidraget med at lægge en slagkraftig bund under blokfløjtens udfoldelser!
Der er kort sagt tale om en af årets mest givende udgivelser, så det er bare at tage imod.
 Peter Dürrfeld, Kristeligt Dagblad, 2. December 2019
Johann Sebastian Bach: 6 Flute Sonatas BWV 1030-1035 – Michala Petri, recorder – Hille Perl, viola da gamba, Mahan Estafani, harpsichord – OUR Recordings 6.220673
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuSvKQh06tI
 
English Google Translation:
A pure Bach delight. - 6 Stars
In the canonized BWV - Johann Sebastian Bach's list of works - the numbers 1030-1035 cover the six flute sonatas, which a half year ago delighted the audience and this reviewer at a concert at Garrison's Church in Copenhagen. The enthusiasm has not diminished after a re-hearing on a recently released CD - the whole music has now been released by OUR Recordings. As usual, the equipment and the sound-technical quality are the top and the same goes with what the three musicians - the world famous Danish recorder Michala Petri, the German viola da gamba virtuoso Hille Perl and the Iranian harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani – when they perform their instruments. They play all the way through the wonderful music of Bach with “power and juice”, without pitchers or piglets.
And the playing time is generous: the six flute sonatas have a total duration of about five quarters, and it's worth pointing out that it will never be monotonous, even if the disc - as in my case - has made several trips in the CD player. It is perhaps one of the secrets of many of Bach's works that they are so durable. And every time you hear, you find that there are numerous variations in the whole and within the individual sonata: A floating Siciliano movement can be replaced by a throbbing allegro, and suddenly the harpsichord performs as a soloist or you experience subtle pizzicato playing from the viola da gamba, who otherwise helped lay a powerful bottom during the recorder's exertions.
In short, this is one of the most rewarding releases of the year, so it's just to welcome!
Johann Sebastian Bach: 6 Flute Sonatas BWV 1030-1035 - Michala Petri, recorder - Hille Perl, viola da gamba, Mahan Estafani, harpsichord - OUR Recordings 6.220673
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuSvKQh06tI
Peter Dürrfeld, Kristeligt Dagblad

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
A newly formed musical dream team joins Michela's journey
Naofumi Yazaki
02 December 2019
Chief Editors recommendation Album introduction:
To celebrate the 40th record anniversary of OUR Recordings, Michala Petri can't pick a more exciting repertoire than Bach's flute sonatas. Michala and Keith Jarrett from 1992 has already achieved legendary status. Just as her collaboration with Jarrett demonstrated a way to "rejuvenate" Bach's work, this new record is equally inspiring and transcendent.
A newly formed musical dream team joins Michela's journey: Harpsichord player Mahan Esfahani and viola da gamba player Hille Perl. 

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/dJrJjKd8BGsY4KVjjRKNKw
Google Translation:
Editor-in-Chief recommended:
The world's best recorder player Michala Petri is playing with today's most watched viola da gamba player Hille Perl and the award winning harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, the adaptation of the Bach flute sonata.
The colorful details of the incredible recorder sound match the soft tone of the viola da gamba. The three trio's performances are closely and wonderfully combined, giving the impression of being like a jazz trio.
 
 

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
What we have here is a performance that is outstanding, lending a new vision to how Bach might be interpreted
Bertil van Boer - Fanfare USA
15 November 2019

There can be no doubt that recorder player Michala Petri holds one of the pre-eminent positions as one of the most prolific and talented performers on the instrument. Her work spans many years and a discography that is quite monumental. Moreover, she has a repertory that ranges from the early Baroque to jazz, using the recorder as a medium for a new sound world. It is therefore with some anticipation that I received this disc of Johann Sebastian Bach’s equally well-known and iconic flute sonatas, performed with a continuo consisting of Mahan Esfahani on the harpsichord and Hille Perl on viola da gamba.

First, it should be noted that Bach’s original sonatas, if we can call the six pieces original in every sense, were meant most likely for flauto traverso, or the flute. Although the tern flauto generically referred to the recorder, Bach writes idiomatically for the traverso. This does not mean, however, that he would have objected to the recorder or any other instrument performing them, as there was considerable flexibility in terms of performance practice at the time. Moreover, the works may well have had forerunners and been transposed to their current state. Thus, the G-Minor Sonata, BWV 1034, was originally in E Minor, BWV 1035 in E Major and done here in F, and BWV 1032 in A but here in G. While these suit the change in instruments, they are by no means a practice foreign to Bach, who regularly did such alterations. Finally, there is the case of the C-Major and E-Major Sonatas, where questions of authenticity remain. In terms of style, they are Bachian in a fashion, but the format and use of harmony seems rather galant, especially in the first movements. There are, however, some nice Bachian trademarks in areas such as the rolling accompaniment and use of sequences, as well as the typical Baroque cadential structures, that are consistent with his late style in the latter. The C-Major too has more of a Baroque feel, particularly in the structure, as well as the flowing sequences of the opening movement and the short perfunctory Presto with its virtuoso recorder line above a sustained bass. The second Allegro is a bit of Telemann, but not unlike Bach, perhaps because it seems more like it was taken from some suite. The same can be said for the genteel minuet. I would postulate that these pieces may in a typical Bach manner incorporate glosses on other works; in the C-Major it would be a piece by Christoph Förster, whose music was certainly known by the Leipzig composer. As for the E, there may be some small quirks that indicate a more modern composer such as Johann Quantz, but the sources themselves are solidly in Bach’s corner, being by his son and favorite pupil Christian Friedrich Penzel.

The main question here is how the music fares under the transpositions (one should probably not go down the road of arrangement). The answer is: excellently. Petri’s tone is clear, bright, and she has a wonderful knack for bringing out the nuances in Bach’s music perfectly. This is generally no easy task, but her phrasing is precise, and she chooses tempos that allow the music to speak without being too fast or too slow. The harpsichord playing by Esfahani is likewise well adapted to blend with the recorder, and yet emerge on its own, such as in the B-Minor Sonata, BWV 1030, where the harpsichord and recorder perform a delicate contrapuntal duet in the third movement. The gamba is a bit discrete, as it should be, though it provides a sound and often solid foundation. In short, this is one fine recording. There are many out there that feature the flute, but as an excellent alternative, one should explore this disc. What we have here is a performance that is outstanding, lending a new vision to how Bach might be interpreted.5 Stars 
Bertil van Boer - Fanfare USA

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
Recommended to all libraries
CD HotList (US)
15 November 2019
Bach´s flute sonatas are not new repertoire, of course; they´ve been widely interpreted in a variety of presentations. But the fact that the recorder virtuoso Michala Petri has turned her attention to them (again, following her widely-praised 1992 recording alongside Keith Jarrett, without a cello or gamba player) is certainly good news. And this time she brought along harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and viola da gamba player Hille Perl, filling out the sound nicely. As always, Petri´s playing is exceptionally lovely, and she manage to shed new light on these evergreen works-partly through the harder timbre of the recorder, and partly through her own knowledge and love of Bach´s music.
CD HotList (US)

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
5 stars - Michala Petri crosses her baroque trail
Henrik Friis, Politiken, Denmark
05 November 2019
Politiken Newspaper DK
5 stars
Michala Petri krydser sit barokspor
Sidste skud på stammen for den produktive fløjtenist er en krystalklar fortolkning af Bach-sonater, som holdes simpel og sanselig og i en imponerende lydkvalitet.
Der er gået næsten 30 år, siden Michala Petri indspillede Bachs fløjtesonater med jazzpianisten Keith Jarrett. Denne gang er duoen udvidet til en trio med en gambe – en slags forløber for celloen – der lægger silkebløde strøg mellem blokfløjtens luftige melodier og cembaloets knitrende motor.
Umiddelbart lyder det ikke, som om Petris idé om barokmusik har udviklet sig meget siden tiden med Keith Jarrett: Alt lægges klart ud i et kæmpemæssigt luftigt rum, hvor det lykkes smukt for de tre musikere at få musikken til at flyde fokuseret og minutiøst med detaljer og balance. Når man kommer tættere på, er der masser af forskel.
Den iranskfødte cembalist Mahan Esfahani er en af Petris faste partnere, og han er en meget sjovere cembalist end Jarrett. Hans lyd er tindrende klar, samtidig med at han ikke er bange for at smide begge hænder i tangenterne, når musikken skal kulminere. Og så er gamben en virkelig god idé. Specielt, når den tyske specialist Hille Perl får lov til at træde helt frem i lydbilledet og for eksempel knipse en rundgang som bund i en langsom, smertelig sats.
Værdigt jubilæumsalbum
Bachs 6 sonater varer alle 10-15 minutter fordelt på 3-4 korte satser, men de er temmelig forskellige. Nogle høvler med vold og magt derudad i et voldsomt opskruet tempo, mens andre har klimaks i en helt langsom sats, hvor de tre musikere sætter tiden i stå og lader musikken udtrykke sig søgende og spinkel. Det sidste bliver totalt overvældende sidst på albummet i sonaterne med de sexede titler BWV 1034 og 1035. De tre musikere holder det simpelt og sanseligt med et skønt nærvær.
Det er album nummer 40, siden Petri og Lars Hannibal dannede OUR Recordings. Og det er helt bestemt et værdigt jubilæums album i en imponerende høj lydkvalitet, der viser, at Petris lange karriere stadig har masser af fylde. Henrik Friis, 05.11.2019
English Google Translation:
5 stars
Michala Petri crosses her baroque trail
Last shot on the trunk of the prolific flute player is a crystal clear interpretation of Bach sonatas, which is kept simple and sensual and in an impressive sound quality.
It's been almost 30 years since Michala Petri recorded Bach's flute sonatas with jazz pianist Keith Jarrett. This time, the duo has expanded into a trio with a gamba - a kind of precursor to the cello - that adds silky strokes between the recorder's airy tunes and the harpsichord's crackling engine.
 
Immediately, it doesn't sound like Petri's idea of ​​Baroque music has evolved a lot since the time with Keith Jarrett: Everything is laid out clearly in a huge airy space where it is beautiful for the three musicians to make the music flow focused and meticulous in detail and balance. As you get closer, there is a lot of difference.
 
Iranian-born harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani is one of Petri's regular partners, and he is a much more fun harpsichordist than Jarrett. His sound is sparklingly clear, while not afraid to throw both hands into the keys when the music is to culminate. And then the gamba is a really good idea. Especially when the German specialist Hille Perl is allowed to step forward in the soundscape and, for example, pluck a vamp as the ground at a slow, painful movement.
Worthy anniversary album
Bach's 6 sonatas last all 10-15 minutes in 3-4 short movements, but they are all rather different. Some played with violence and power out there at a violently accelerated tempo, while others have a climax in a very slow movement, where the three musicians put the time to a stop and let the music express itself searching and tenuous. The last thing is totally overwhelming at the end of the album in the sonata with the sexy titles BWV 1034 and 1035. The three musicians keep it simple and sensual with a beautiful presence.
 
It's album number 40, since Petri and Lars Hannibal formed OUR Recordings. And it is definitely a worthy anniversary album in an impressively high sound quality that shows that Petri's long career still has plenty of fullness. 
Henrik Friis, Politiken, Denmark

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
The three musicians know exactly what a balanced dialogue is and how to have a lively conversation with each other and with the listener
Guy Engels, Pizzicato LU
01 November 2019
Bachs sechs Flötensonaten waren vom Komponisten nicht als Zyklus angelegt. Ob sämtliche Sonaten überhaupt von Bach sind, ist eine bis heute nicht restlos geklärte Frage. Ein anderes Thema ist die Wahl des Instruments. Bach kannte viele Traversspieler, inklusive den preußischen Kronprinzen Friedrich, und hat die Sonaten BWV 1030-1036 wohl für die Traversflöte geschrieben.
Bei Michala Petri sind die Kompositionen auf der Blockflöte allerdings auch in besten Händen. Nicht zu Unrecht wirft ihr Partner am Cembalo, Mahan Esfahani, im Begleitheft die Frage auf, ob es letztendlich nicht eher auf die musikalische Kommunikation ankomme, denn auf die buchstabengetreue Besetzung.
Mahan Esfahani stellt nicht nur die Frage, er und seine Partnerinnen Michala Petri und Hille Perl geben auch die treffende Antwort.
Michala Petri spielt die sechs Sonaten mit erfrischendem Esprit, mit brillanter Rhetorik. Hier ist kein Hauch von Akademismus und gelehrter Formensprache zu spüren. Obwohl die Blockflöte die Wortführerin ist, wirkt sie nie vorlaut und dominant. Hier spielen drei Musiker, die genau wissen und vor allem spüren, was ein ausgewogener Dialog ist und wie man untereinander und mit dem Zuhörer eine spritzige Konversation führen kann. Rezension von Guy Engels 01/11/2019

Bach’s six flute sonatas were not designed by the composer as a cycle. Whether all the sonatas are by Bach at all is a question that has not yet been completely clarified. Another topic is the choice of instrument. Bach knew many transverse flute players, including the Prussian crown prince Friedrich, and he probably wrote the sonatas BWV 1030-1036 for the transverse flute.
However, with Michala Petri and her recorder, the compositions are also in the best of hands. In the booklet her harpsichord partner Mahan Esfahani raises not without good reason the question whether musical communication is ultimately more important than the choice of the instrument. He as well as his partners Michala Petri and Hille Perl also give the right and unquestionable answer.
Michala Petri plays the six sonatas with refreshing esprit and brilliant rhetoric. There is no hint of academicism and learned formal language to be felt here. Although the recorder is the spokesperson, her playing never seems cheeky and dominant. The three musicians know exactly what a balanced dialogue is and how to have a lively conversation with each other and with the listener.
Guy Engels, Pizzicato LU

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
Musically rich, vibrant performances here from three top performers
Colin Clarke, Fanfare US
18 October 2019
Musically rich, vibrant performances here from three top performers. Michala Petri needs no introduction, surely (neither does her 1992 album of these Bach Sonatas with Keith Jarrett), while Mahan Esfahani has been redefining our ideas around the harpsichord for some time (I was present at his recording sessions for modern works for harpsichord due for release on Hyperion; he is something of a force of nature). Together with German gambist Hille Perl, they present a set of Bach Sonatas that combined beauty, intellect and historical awareness to provide a sublime musical experience. This is OUR Recordings’ 40th release, and the performances seem to speak of life and vivacity that implies there are many more to come.
The Sonatas BWV 1030-32 are marked as with “concertato [obbilgato] harpsichord” and so play to Esfahani’s strengths. His contribution is vibrant (listen to the opening of BWV 1031), and is in perfect congruence with Petri’s rhythmic lift and Perl’s nimble delivery. Esfahani plays on a new instrument built for him in Prague between 2017 and 2018 by Jukka Ollikka, inspired by the Michael Mietke instrument signed “Berlin 1710”. It features a carbon composite soundboard that increases both volume and tuning stability. Petri picks her instruments carefully and intelligently: two different Moeck Rottenburgh in Grenadill (the first tenor recorders she bought as a young student) for the fast and more light running movements plus two different alto recorders. The use of the mellow tenor recorder for BWV 1031-33 works beautifully: the intricate interactions between recorder and harpsichord in the Vivace of BWV 1032 (played in G-Major as against he original key of A) are truly revelatory. Grace informs that Sonata’s central Largo e dolce.
The use of a drone effect in the first movement of the C-Major, BWV 1033 is remarkable, as is the scampering riposte, with its exquisitely shaped phrases from Petri.  The darkening of the light into the G-Minor Sonata (originally in E-Minor) is reflected in the extraordinary third movement Andante, here truly exploratory. Only fitting, the, that the Allegro finale might as well be marked “con fuoco”; the virtuosity of all players is remarkable, and here more than anywhere else the presence the recording affords Hille Perl pays off.
The floridly melismatic first movement of BWV 1035 (here played in F-Major, originally in E) carries a beautiful sense of inevitability, while the woody, almost throaty recorder in the Siciliano is an arresting sound. Who said sicilianos were all rest and cotton wool? He characteristic rhythm is here, but so is disquiet. How haunting, too, is the very conclusion, where lines meet, the nexus prolonged beyond expectation. The rigor of the finale seems entirely in keeping with the severity of the Siciliano.
Perhaps the recording is a touch reverberant (Garnisons Kirke, Copenagen), but that should not detract from the importance of these performances. Colin Clarke OCTOBER 2019 Four stars:  Musically rich, vibrant performances here from three top performers
 
Colin Clarke, Fanfare US

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
If another recorder player surpasses what Petri has done here, I will be surprised.
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare USA
16 October 2019
This is Petri’s second time recording these works. The first time, in 1991, reviewed two years later by Kevin Bazzana, was for RCA Victor, and paired Petri with harpsichordist Keith Jarrett, in one of his occasional stints as a classical musician. Bazzana liked it a lot; I have that disc as well, and it’s certainly a top choice, if you have no objection to hearing works composed for the traverso played on a recorder. Last time, Petri had to transpose four of the sonatas (BWV 1031, 1032, 1034, and 1035) in order to play them on either a descant or alto recorder. This time, BWV 1031 has been left in its original key, presumably because she has acquired additional instruments in the interim; several tenor and alto recorders are listed in OUR’s booklet. She still transposes BWV 1032, 1034, and 1045, however.
                      Another change is the addition of a viola da gamba in all six of the sonatas. This is not discussed in the booklet note, but it is not unprecedented. Several recordings in which the sonatas are played on a flute add a cello or a viola da gamba, and to good effect, as it helps to fill out the lower end of the tonal spectrum. Given Perl’s popularity among early and Baroque music enthusiasts, including her in this project makes sense on multiple levels.
                      Bazzana noted Petri’s and Jarrett’s preference for “very quick tempos.” That remains the case here, although there has been a slight moderation since 1991. In timings, there is only one large deviation, and that is in the Andante of BWV 1034. That is not because of tempo, however, but because  Perl is given a chance, at the start, to pluck out the movement's melodic outline—a lovely, still moment in a program characterized by many lovely moments.
                      Petri remains a masterful player. I didn't expect otherwise, and she does not disappoint. This disc is a lesson in what the recorder is capable of, when it is played by a musician who possesses the ultimate in technique and discernment. I also like what Perl brings to this disc. She and Petri are on the same wavelength. Esfahani is no Jarrett, however. Next to the powerful personalities of Petri and Perl, he sounds pale and lacking imagination. I think the sound of his harpsichord is partly to blame; a new instrument by Jukka Ollikka, based on a German model by Michael Mietke, it is thin and tinkly. Jarrett's instrument, a 1982 Carl Fudge modeled on Taskin, has more depth. Perl fills in some of what Esfahani lacks, but it would have been better, of course, if both of them had been equal partners with Petri. For what it's worth, I will note that I liked Petri's and Esfahani's collaboration (sans Perl) on a disc of Corelli sonatas reviewed in 2015. Esfahani played a different instrument there. As I have written several times, my reaction to harpsichord recordings depends at least as much on the instrument as it does on the instrumentalist.
                      Reservations aside, this disc is a very good argument for performing these works on a recorder instead of a flute. If another recorder player surpasses what Petri has done here, I will be surprised. That said, this SACD does not clearly supplant her earlier release with Jarrett, which stimulates me just a little bit more.
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare USA

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
Five stars: Ensemble playing of the finest quality.
Dave Saemann, Fanfare
14 October 2019
                      Playing Bach’s flute sonatas on the recorder is a most satisfying idea. It’s just the sort of change in instruments that the ever practical Bach would agree to. And who wouldn’t want to hear Michala Petri play Bach? This in fact is her second recording of these works. The earlier version featured the great jazz pianist Keith Jarrett on harpsichord. What Jarrett does on that recording is fascinating. As a composer himself, he hears things in the continuo part that most harpsichordists would gloss over. Petri is very good on the previous album. There are places, particularly in BWV 1030 and 1031, where she doesn’t seem entirely comfortable with Jarrett’s pacing. In BWV 1032 and 1033, Petri plays the soprano recorder. There’s no doubt that her mastery of it is tremendous, but I prefer the tenor recorder on the new CD in these works. Even if you possess Petri’s recording with Jarrett, I believe you’ll want to hear this new CD. Petri’s conception has matured, and she truly is the dominant force on this album. The continuo players here blend excellently with her. Having a viola da gambist in addition to a harpsichordist gives the continuo richness and inspiration. Gambist Hille Perl is a serenely beautiful player, and her tone complements Petri on alto and tenor recorders superbly. Perl and Mahan Esfahani on harpsichord mesh their sounds elegantly and with great heart. Here is formidable Bach playing that wears its laurels lightly.
                      Three of the sonatas have been transposed into new keys to accommodate the recorder. They sound just fine. In the three sonatas played on tenor recorder, Petri uses one type of recorder in slow movements for its expressivity and tone color, while using different tenor recorders for the fast and, as she says, “light running” movements. Mahan Esfahani’s harpsichord is copied after a 1710 model, but with a carbon fiber composite soundboard for more stable tuning and increased volume. The opening Andante of BWV 1030 is the longest movement on the disc. Its scope is truly symphonic, as the textures from wind, string, and keyboard instruments present an orchestral range of sound. Perl’s pizzicato playing here is delectable, presenting a creamy plucked tone that offers Petri an elegant background. The Siciliano of BWV 1031 may remind you a little of “Sheep May Safely Graze.” Esfahani’s playing here is especially elegant, providing a noble context for Petri’s warm rendition. The Allegro of BWV 1032 shows the performers really cooking, sending the listener’s heartbeat racing while espousing the lightest touch. In the two minuets of BWV 1033, the players choose stately tempos that recall the French Baroque. For me, BWV 1034 is the highlight of the album. In its opening movement, Perl and Petri have what’s virtually a duet accompanied by Esfahani, stressing the autumnal nature of the two ladies’ instruments. The third movement begins with a ravishing plucked solo by Perl, changing to bowed notes discreetly accompanied by Esfahani, leading to Petri’s warm yet plaintive playing alongside Perl’s heartrending sounds. BWV 1035’s Siciliano features affecting duets for Petri and Perl, displaying a kind of empathy for each other that almost is sisterly.
                      The stereo sound engineering is beautifully blended and slightly recessed, presenting a gorgeous chamber music atmosphere. I was unable to listen to the surround sound program. My favorite performance of these works on the modern flute is by Laurel Zucker. Michala Petri’s artistic maturation is strongly on display here. This is Bach you will return to over and over. Highly recommended. Dave Saemann, October 2019
 
Five stars: Ensemble playing of the finest quality.
Dave Saemann, Fanfare

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
Fornemt Bach-spil
John Christiansen, JC Klassisk
06 October 2019
Fornemt Bach-spil
Johann Sebastian Bach: Seks fløjtesonater, BWV 1030-1035. OUR Recordings 8.220673. 74 minutter.
Så til en cd, som ikke behøver mange linjer for ar skulle blive en ”sællert”. Den evigt inspirerende mester på blokfløjte, eller recorder, Michala Petri har endnu engang slået sig sammen med den fantastiske Mahan Esfahani ved cembaloet i Johann Sebastian Bachs seks fløjtesonater, Bach Werk Verzeichnis 1030 til 1035. Hvor der også skal være en ægte barok-stryger som viola da gambaen, der ideelt gengiver den menneskelige stemme, som skrevet står, træder Hille Perl fint ind. Fuldendt Bach-spil i seks pragtfulde værker udgivet med omhu på Lars Hannibals og Michala Petris eget pladeselskab.
Google Translation:
Great Bach Playing
Johann Sebastian Bach: Six Flute Sonata, BWV 1030-1035. OUR Recordings 8.220673. 74 minutes.
So for a CD that does not need many lines for scars should become a "seller". The ever-inspiring master of recorder Michala Petri has once again joined forces with the amazing Mahan Esfahani at the harpsichord in Johann Sebastian Bach's six flute sonatas, Bach Werk Verzeichnis 1030 to 1035 which also include the baroque string instrument viola da gamba, which ideally reproduces the human voice as written, Hille Perl enters nicely.Perfect Bach play in six wonderful works, published with care on Lars Hannibal's and Michala Petri's own record label.
John Christiansen, JC Klassisk

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
BACH
6 Sonatas for recorder
Five stars – Bach as it should be played.
David Reznick, Fanfare
24 September 2019

This release is a treat for the eye even before you play it and a treat for the ear (and the heart) while you’re listening. The harpsichord player, Mahan Esfahani, wrote the introductory essay; he sounds as if he’s recently been in a fight with someone who thinks that Bach’s music should be played only by the instruments he had in mind, and whose view should be changed. But he can uncurl the lip and dim the glare in his eyes: There’s hardly anybody on the other side of the argument. Bach belongs to the world, and the world can do whatever it wants. I mean, if he survived what Stokowski did to him in Fantasia, he can survive anything. The beef presented here stems from someone who apparently complained that these works were written for the flute and therefore should not be played on the recorder (as they are in this performance). Aw, come on.

There are other things to point out here. For example, I know not whether the three musicians on this CD knew each other, or have been playing together for years, or just happened to walk into the room at the same time. The fact is that these three people were fated to play Bach together. This is clearly the reason they’re all on this planet. They have that magic something-or-other that allows three people to make music with one voice. And it’s really thrilling to hear. The lead instrument is the recorder (sometimes alto, sometimes tenor). Michala Petri plays the recorder with such virtuosity, such command, such beauty of tone that I’ve never heard on records. I’m not making a study of it, but I’d wager that no one else could play these sonatas any better. Her colleagues on the harpsichord and viola da gamba are doing exactly what they should be doing, and with great distinction. They have also recorded extensively on their own, with excellent results, so this release is no surprise.

This is the sort of performance that humanizes Bach. You may not be familiar with these flute sonatas. They’re not musical monuments, the kind that Bach produced so easily. But if you want to acquire more Bach chamber music, this should be your next purchase. Rest assured you have bought the best. 
David Reznick, Fanfare

Michala Petri, recorder
Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra
American Recorder Concertos
Great Dutch review!
Ben Taffijn, Neuwen Noten
17 September 2019
De blokfluit is een onderschat instrument. Het zal komen door het gebruik op scholen dat het niet door iedereen als volwaardig wordt gezien. Onzin natuurlijk, beluister maar eens één van die blokfluitconcerten uit de Barok. Met name de Italianen hebben heel wat virtuoze concerten geschreven. De blokfluit is in de hedendaagse gecomponeerde muziek echter wat minder goed vertegenwoordigd, iets waar de fameuze Michala Petri al jarenlang verandering in probeert te brengen.
Met succes, want na eerdere albums met blokfluitconcerten, uitgebracht door Petri’s eigen label OUR Recordings, uit Denemarken, Engeland, Duitsland en Frankrijk en China, ligt er nu, met als titel ‘American Recorder Concertos’, een nieuwe met concerten van de Amerikaanse componisten Roberta SierraSteven StuckyAnthony Newman en Sean Hickey.
‘Prelude, Habanera and Perpetual Motion’ heet het stuk van Sierra, dat hij oorspronkelijk in 2006 schreef voor blokfluit en gitaar en in 2016 bewerkte voor blokfluit en orkest. Direct in de ‘Prelude’ krijgt Petri de kans te schitteren met een vederlichte melodie, terwijl de Tivoli Copenhagen Phil, onder leiding van Alexander Shelley een feeëriek klankpalet hanteert.Een sfeer die zich doorzet in ‘Habanera’, maar nu aangevuld met een subtiele vorm van ritmiek. De ritmiek bereikt een hoogtepunt in ‘Perpetual Motion’, met als bijzonderheid het energieke en aanstekelijke duet blokfluit – slagwerk. Stucky voelde aanvankelijk die hierboven genoemde weerstand tegen de blokfluit, tot hij Petri hoorde spelen en besloot om het driedelige ‘Etudes’ te schrijven, waarin Petri wordt begeleid door een al even vederlicht spelend Danish National Symphony Orchestra, onder leiding van Lan Shui. Het eerste deel, ‘Scales’ laat goed horen welke mogelijkheden de blokfluit biedt. Langgerekte klanken en vrolijk gekwetter, of we hier een vogel horen, zet Stucky af tegen een abstract klanklandschap. In ‘Glides’, het tweede deel horen we de invloed van Béla Bartók en Witold Lutoslawski, twee door Stucky zeer gewaardeerde componisten. Maar het is het derde deel, ‘Arpeggios’ dat Petri de beste kans tot schitteren geeft, middels melodische patronen die verwijzen naar de Barok.
Met ‘A Pacifying Weapon’ verwijst Sean Hickey naar de blokfluit, die het opneemt tegen een heel blaasorkest, versterkt met percussie, hier The Royal Danish Academy of Music Concert Band, onder leiding van Jean Thorel. Niet alleen een leuk gegeven, Hickey verwijst hiermee wel degelijk naar het kruitvat dat de wereld is. Reeds in het eerst deel valt de weldadige toon op van de blokfluit, regelmatig flink contrasterend met het tumult van het concert. In het tweede deel gaat het er een stuk harmonieuzer aan toe. Noem het gerust de stilte voor de storm, die middels golven slagwerk het begin van het derde deel kenmerkt. Maar ook in dit deel blijft de klarinet fier overeind en helder van klank zijn vreedzame boodschap verkondigen, als tegenwicht tegen de duistere ensembleklanken.
Anthony Newman is een vooraanstaand clavecimbelist, gespecialiseerd in de muziek van Bach. Het mag dan ook niet verbazen dat zijn concert voor blokfluit, clavecimbel en strijkers het minst modern klinkt. Er wordt mooi gemusiceerd door zowel Petri als door Newman en het Nordic String Quartet maar de vraag is toch wel een beetje wat zo’n stuk nu echt toevoegt. Newman komt hier toch vooral over als de uitvoerder die ook eens een stuk wil componeren.

Bekijk hier een live opname van ‘Prelude, Habanera and Perpetual Motion’:

Dansk oversættelse 
Blokfløjten er et undervurderet instrument. Det vil være på grund af brugen på skoler, at ikke alle ser det som et fuldt ud værdigt instrument. Nonsens, naturligvis, bare lyt til en af ​​disse blokfløjekoncerter fra barokken. Italienerne har især skrevet mange virtuose koncerter. Blokfløjten er dog mindre godt repræsenteret i den moderne komponeret musik, noget den berømte Michala Petri har forsøgt at ændre på i årevis.

Med succes, fordi der efter tidligere albums med blokfløjtekoncerter, der blev udgivet af Petris eget label OUR Recordings, fra Danmark, England, Tyskland og Frankrig og Kina, nu er en udgivelse, med titlen 'American Recorder Concertos', et ny album med koncerter af den amerikanske komponist Roberta Sierra, Steven Stucky, Anthony Newman og Sean Hickey.

"Prelude, Habanera and Perpetual Motion" kaldes det stykke af Sierra, som han oprindeligt skrev i 2006 til blokfløjte og guitar og i 2016 arrangerede for blokfløjte og orkester. Umiddelbart i 'Prelude' får Petri chancen for at brillere med en fjerlys melodi, mens Tivoli Copenhagen Phil, under ledelse af Alexander Shelley, anvender en eventyrligt klangpalet. En atmosfære, der fortsætter i 'Habanera', men nu suppleret med en subtil form for rytme. Rytmen når et højdepunkt i "Perpetual Motion" med den energiske og smittende duet blokfløjte – perkussion. Stucky følte oprindeligt den førnævnte modstand mod blokfløjten, indtil han hørte Petri spille og besluttede at skrive den tredelte "Etudes", hvor Petri ledsages af et lige så let-spillende Dansk National Symphony Orchestra, ledet af Lan Shui. Den første del, "Scales", viser tydeligt de muligheder, som blokfløjten tilbyder. Langstrakte lyde og munter snak, som om vi hører en fugl her, kontrasterer Stucky med et abstrakt lydlandskab. I "Glides", den anden del, hører vi indflydelsen fra Béla Bartók og Witold Lutoslawski, to højt respekterede komponister af Stucky. Men det er den tredje del, "Arpeggios", der giver Petri den bedste chance for at brillere gennem melodiske mønstre, der refererer til barokken.

Med "A Pacifying Weapon" henviser Sean Hickey til blokfløjten, der tager det op med et helt vindorkester, forstærket med perkussion, her The Royal Danish Academy of Music Concert Band, ledet af Jean Thorel. Ikke kun en sjov kendsgerning, Hickey henviser faktisk til den smeltedigel, der er i verden. Allerede i første del er den beroligende tone af blokfløjten slående, som en gennemgående kontrast til koncertens tumult. I den anden del er det meget mere harmonisk. Du kan snildt kalde det stilheden før stormen, der markerer begyndelsen på den tredje del gennem bølgende slagværk. Men også i denne del står klarinetten stolt oprejst og forkynder klart sit fredelige budskab, som en modvægt til det mørke ensemblets lyde.

Anthony Newman er en fremtrædende cembalo-spiller, der er specialiseret i Bachs musik. Det burde derfor ikke komme som nogen overraskelse, at hans koncerter for blokfløjte, cembalo og strygere lyder mindst moderne. Der spilles smuk musik af både Petri og Newman og den nordiske strygekvartet, men spørgsmålet er lidt, hvad et sådant stykke virkelig tilføjer. Newman optræder her hovedsageligt som den kunstner, der også ønsker at komponere et stykke.

Se en liveoptagelse af "Prelude, Habanera and Perpetual Motion" her:
 
 
Ben Taffijn, Neuwen Noten
  OUR Recordings
Esromgade 15, opg. 1, 3rd floor, room 15
2200 Copenhagen N
Denmark
Tel: +45 4015 05 77
E-mail: hannibal@michalapetri.com
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