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currently showing records for:
Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
5 Star review in SA-CD.net for "The Nightingale"!
SA-CD
15 January 2008
(Following is an excerpt from my review for Choral Journal, published by the American Choral Directors Association:) Danish recorder virtuoso Michala Petri had collaborated with a choir several times during her career, but she found her 2007 experience with Swedish composer Daniel Börtz (b. 1943) especially rewarding. Following the Stockholm premiere of Börtz's Nemesis divina, Petri and guitarist  Lars Hannibal, who produces her recordings for their own label, actively began to seek out further choral collaborators. First to join them was Latvian composer Ugis Praulins (b. 1957), who proposed a text drawn from Hans Christian Andersen's beloved tale The Nightingale, and drew in conductor Stephen Layton. Layton was then directing the newly formed Danish National Vocal Ensemble, which seemed a good match for the project. They were eventually joined by composers Sunleif Rasmussen (Faroese) and Peter Bruun (a Dane), both recent winners of the Nordic Council of Music award. The resulting disc reveals the stunning variety and vitality of North European choral music today.

Although all four composers here offer choral works of the highest quality (and technical difficulty), the music of Praulins and Bruun stands out. Praulins' The Nightingale rightly leads off the program. Its eclectic, dynamic character will remind some listeners of works like Eric Whitacre's Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine. The composer's background in progressive and heavy-metal rock bands, Latvian folk music and ritual, film and television scoring, and Renaissance counterpoint has enabled him to produce a continuously changing tapestry of sound that nevertheless hangs together remarkably well, effortlessly expressing the fancy in the Andersen fragments. And it all sounds quite "vocal," including the phenomenal part for solo recorder, which is woven throughout the score, often sharing material with the singers.

In his Two Scenes with Skylark, Peter Bruun (b. 1968) relies on more traditional long-form poetry, in this case two of Gerard Manley Hopkins' "skylark" poems. As Joshua Cheek writes in his excellent program notes, "Rising above the earth and soaring through the skies, Hopkins' birds are metaphors for the soul . . . leading mortals to contemplate supernatural realms that lie beyond ordinary experience." The first poem, "The Sea and the Skylark," celebrates the power and freedom of nature and its least land-bound creatures; here the soprano recorder easily assumes the role of the ascending lark, "his rash-fresh re-winded new-skeinéd score" appearing to "pour / And pelt music, till none's to spill nor spend." In contrast, the second setting, "The Caged Skylark," meditates on humanity's futile, earthbound existence; Petri switches to tenor recorder, breathy, somber, closer to the human voice. Bruun's choral style is more traditional, and he has managed the difficult feat of complementing Hopkins' poetry without offering unwelcome competition to the poet's incomparable reinventions of English.

The other two selections more than hold their own in this distinguished company. Börtz's Nemesis divina, based on philosophic writings by the eighteenth-century botanist Carl Linnaeus, pays homage to the composer's countryman and sometime collaborator, filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. Börtz "has [often] engaged the metaphysical darkness found in many of Bergman's films" (Cheek) and does so here, but the outcome is never less than engaging, because Börtz's sense of drama always informs his sure control of musical structure. Likewise I, by Sunleif Rasmussen (b. 1961) provides an engrossing examination of Wallace Stevens' Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, as deconstructed by Danish poet Inger Christensen. Petri's bass and soprano recorders blend seamlessly with the expert singing of the DNVE.

Everything was recorded in the resonant space of Copenhagen's Christianskirken, but fortunately the acoustic enlivens the sound of the twenty-voice choir and the soloist rather than swamping them in sonic mud. The vocal soloists are drawn from the choir and do a superb job, as did conductor Layton. This was probably the single most enjoyable choral recording I encountered in 2011. I see that it has been nominated for a couple of Grammy Awards. One can only hope that the disc sells well, and that the music will be more widely performed; perhaps the composers will be persuaded to offer editions with the recorder part modified for a flutist. Not everyone can call upon a soloist as skilled as Michala Petri, and it would be a shame if these glorious pieces were consigned to oblivion because the "star" was not available to render her lines.
SA-CD

Michala Petri, recorder
Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Movements
All Music Guide on Movements
All Music Guide
12 October 2007
To get a canary to stop singing, you put a blanket over its cage; the recorder family was a whole group of instruments that had the proverbial blanket thrown over it from the time the transverse flute appeared in about 1720 until Arnold Dolmetsch built his first good recorder in 1919. Two hundred years of sleep is a long time, and the recorder's long eclipse certainly hasn't aided it in the development of a sizeable concerto repertoire, especially as the recorder disappeared just as the very idea of a solo concerto became common. Arch recorder virtuoso Michala Petri is helping to rectify this situation through commissioning contemporary composers to fill in the gap, and thus to gain pace on the recorder's arch-enemy, the flute, and her Our Recordings release, "Movements", is an outstanding example of the very good work that Petri has done on behalf of the instrument.

These are three very different concerti penned by three very carefully chosen composers; what they have in common is that they can create music that is solid and dynamic, yet is neither so sycophantic to the audience that they seem nostalgic nor so academic and dry as to seem forbidding and cold. Spanish composer Joan Albert Amargos has stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with his Northern Concerto (2005), it is dramatic, bold and exciting with plenty of appealing, even lush, musical passages – among "northern" concertos, Albert Amargos' is perhaps the most tropical sounding ever. 

Swedish composer Daniel Bortz' Pipes and Bells (2002) is made of somewhat tougher stuff, but is no more alienating than what one might encounter in a typical modern movie soundtrack; Pipes and Bells maintains an excellent sense of dramatic form and employs the widest range of instrumental effects here. Steven Stucky's Etudes are a bit more rigorous and straightforward than in his usual modus operandi, and are certainly no worse for that. As one might deduce from the movement titles – "Scales", "Glides" and "Arpeggios" – Stucky's work is largely given over to patterns of various kinds, most of which reside in the domain of Petri. Stucky's colorful orchestration effectively punctuates these patterns and overall, it is an intriguing, rather zany work.

Conductor Lan Shui cracks the whip and never allows the Danish National Symphony Orchestra get out of line and the recording, made by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, is astonishingly realistic – you almost hear the percussion sounding behind your head. As one can imagine, Michala Petri is very much on her game here, easily earning and even exceeding even the accolades given her by the composers whose works are represented on this outstanding recording.

The blanket is off the cage, and in OUR Recordings' "Movements", the time has come for the canary to sing in the musical language of our time.

Uncle Dave Lewis
All Music Guide

Michala Petri, recorder
Thomas Koppel
Los Angeles Street Concerto
Michala Petri plays Thomas Koppel
Klassik Heute : 10/10/10 review / Thomas Koppel
Klassik Heute Magazine
24 July 2007
Klassik Heute

Komponisten machen ihre Karriere oft dadurch, dass sie gewissen vorgeprägten stilistischen und gesellschaftlichen Erwartungen entweder entsprechen oder umgekehrt die damit entstehenden Hohlräume nutzen, wobei ein gewisser intellektueller Trend und ein je nach den Gegebenheiten progressives Image meist hilfreich ist. Ausnahmen wie Scelsi, Ives oder Satie werden irgendwann als solche registriert und vielleicht verstanden – der dänische Komponist Thomas Koppel dürfte gewiss zu ihnen zählen!

Koppel wurde 1944 in einem schwedischen Flüchtlingslager geboren (sein Vater war wegen seiner jüdischen Herkunft aus dem besetzten Dänemark geflohen), war als Pianist und Komponist eine herausragende Frühbegabung, bis er 1967/68 die Rockgruppe „Savage Rose" gründete, mit ihr vor allem in Skandinavien und Amerika Erfolg hatte, bis er in den 90er-Jahren schrittweise wieder „Partituren" schrieb, seit 1996 in Los Angeles lebte und zehn Jahre später in Puerto Rico starb, wohin er gerade seinen Wohnsitz verlegt hatte. Ein von Gidon Kremer bestelltes Violinkonzert kam über Skizzen nicht hinaus, aber seine hier eingespielten Konzerte geben über eine ungewöhnlich originelle und konsequente Komponisten-Persönlichkeit Auskunft. Es sind – und auch das passt ins Bild – Konzerte für ein lang tabuisiertes Instrument, die Blockflöte, und es sind Werke, die auf den ersten Blick eine filmmusikartige Aura mit romantischen und barocken Einschlägen haben, die aber bei allem Filigran, bei aller virtuoser Verspieltheit eine innere Ernsthaftigkeit und Glaubwürdigkeit ausstrahlen.

Das 1999 entstandene Los Angeles Street Concerto für Sopraninoblockflöte, neun Streicher und Celesta ist das hinreißende Abbild einer vibrierenden Großstadt, inspiriert von den Klängen, Figuren und Sounds musikalisch wirr verwirbelter Straßenmusiker, gewiss konventioneller im musikalischen „Material", aber damit auch realistischer als Ligetis San Francisco Polyphony. Zusammen mit Gidon Kremer und seiner Kremerata Baltica zeichnet Michala Petris geisterhaft fliegende, flirrende und singende Blockflöte ein ebenso liebevolles wie präzise konturiertes Bild der Metropole. Hier und in den beiden anderen jeweils fast zwanzigminütigen Werken präsentiert sich Michala Petri nicht nur als eine Ausnahmesolistin, die das zwielichtige Image der Blockflöte mit akrobatischem Charme und größter seelischer Intensität auf den Müllhaufen der Vorurteile befördert, nein, sie ist hier auch die Initiatorin, die sich für einen Komponisten einsetzt, der die pathetischen Selbstzerstörungen der Musikgeschichte mit ihren U-E-Pop-und Avantgarde-Spaltungen nicht respektiert. Auch dafür muss ihr hier ein engagierter Dank ausgesprochen werden!

Künstlerische Qualität:
10
Klangqualität:
10
Gesamteindruck:
10

Hans-Christian v. Dadelsen (29.06.2007)


Komponisten/Werke Interpreten
T. Koppel:
• Konzert für Blockflöte und Orchester (1990/1991)
• Nele's Dances für Blockflöte und Erzlaute (1991)
• Los Angeles Street Concerto für Sopraninoblockflöte, Streicher und Celesta (1999)


Michala Petri
Blockflöte
Lars Hannibal
Laute
Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra
Kremerata Baltica
Bo Holten
Klassik Heute Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Siesta
Recorder and Guitar
All Music Review on Siesta
All Music Guide
26 June 2007
Review by James Manheim 
This recording, a new manifestation of the increasingly common trend that has seen virtuoso performers issuing new material on their own labels, looks as though it should be almost impossible to pull off, and recorder player Michala Petri and guitarist Lars Hannibal execute it so smoothly that you forget they're doing anything unusual. The program consists mostly of music originally written for flute and guitar, with a few other transcriptions including two from vocalises (Ravel's Pièce en forme de Habanera and Cantilena from the Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5). Many are full of quick runs that are much more difficult on the recorder than on the flute, yet they are smoothness itself in Petri's hands. As the Siesta title suggests, the music has a Latin tinge and a consistent relaxed mood. All of it is from the twentieth century, and it contains one unfamiliar but worthwhile find — the Tango Catalá or Catalan Tango of Joan Albert Amargós. Petri accomplishes some of her technical wizardry by switching from recorder to recorder according to the music's range, even among movements of the four movements of the Astor Piazzolla Histoire du tango. (The Castelnuovo-Tedesco Sonatina, Op. 205, is all played on a single alto recorder.) The result is not a jarring diversity of tone but rather greater homogeneity as Petri uses the instruments' differences to bring the music more comfortably under her fingers. This album might even fulfill the relaxation function the title suggests, and for recorder players it's a more or less mandatory look at what the instrument can accomplish. For any listener it's a superb example of light music, which at its best always carries an element of surprise.

To read this review online, click here.
All Music Guide

Michala Petri, recorder
Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Movements
Peter Grahame Woolf on Etudes
Peter Grahame Woolf
25 May 2007
An exemplary production which brings back to notice the virtuoso recorder player Michala Petri, who used to be heard a lot in UK when she burst onto the scene in the already distant past. Now there are many dedicated soloists, who have raised the standard for this once humble instrument to dizzy heights.

        These three ambitious concertante works composed for her are ideally contrasted and show Michala Petri now at the height of her powers. I have listened through twice, the second time in reverse order, which I prefer and adopt here.

        The American Steven Stucky's Etudes are sharp, clear and effective, with instrumentation which sets off the solo instrument perfectly. Initially concerned that its range of expression and dynamics would be limiting, he was soon persuaded otherwise, and this is a highly viable work, live or recorded, which deserves widest currency.

        Daniel Bœrtz is a significant Swedish composer who sets the variously sized recorders, using their extended techiques possibilities, against spare but highly effective backgrounds, carrying considerable emotional force. This is the piece I shall return to most often.

      Amargós' Northern Concerto is eclectic and colourful, the skilled musician's "aesthetic multiplicity" tending towards the populist, but far from simplistic. A relaxing, hedonistic work that is ideal for ending a listening session.

        The folding-type packaging (far more attractive than jewel cases) is enhanced by beautiful and intriguing paintings (Lars Physant) and good graphic design. Recording quality and balance can be taken for granted and this is a CD which should enjoy great success.

        Do consider it in conjunction with Dan Laurin's equally innovative and successful 21st-century music for recorder.
Peter Grahame Woolf

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great review in US Magazine Choral Journal on "The Nightingale"
Choral Journal
30 April 2007
.

    The…disc reveals the stunning variety and vitality of North European choral music today.     Praulins's The Nightingale rightly leads off the program. The composer's background in progressive and heavy-metal rock bands, Latvian folk music and ritual, film and television scoring, and Renaissance counterpoint has enabled him to produce a continuously changing tapestry of sound that nevertheless hangs together remarkably well, effortlessly expressing the fancy in the Andersen fragments.     The other…selections more than hold their own in this distinguished company. Börtz's Nemesis divina, based on philosophic writings by the eighteenth century botanist Carl Linnaeus…     Everything was recorded in the resonant space of Copenhagen's Christianskirken, but fortunately the acoustic enlivens the sound of the twenty-voice choir and the soloist rather than swamping them in sonic mud. The vocal soloists are drawn from the choir and do a superb job, as did conductor Layton. This was probably the single most enjoyable choral recording I encountered in 2011. One can only hope that the music will be more widely performed… © 2012 Choral Journal Lawrence Schenbeck

Choral Journal

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great review on the Nightingale in american internet magazine PS Audio
PS Audio
07 March 2007
And here is another recording worth checking out: Michala Petri, recorder superstar, teamed with the Danish National Vocal Ensemble and conductor Stephen Layton (another Brit!) in four works composed especially for her. The result is The Nightingale from OUR Recordings, another multichannel must-have. Just listen to the first cut:



"My word! That's lovely!" These books went all over the world / and so in course of time / some of them reached the Emperor / there he sat in his golden chair reading: / "But the nightingale is really the best of all." (After Hans Christian Andersen)

The rich invention of The Nightingale (music by Ugis Praulins, b. 1957), based upon Andersen's beloved tale of the emperor and the nightingale, is matched—at least—by the other standout work on this SACD, 2 Scenes with Skylark, on texts by Gerard Manley Hopkins.



On ear and ear two noises too old to end . . . Left hand, off land, I hear the lark ascend, / His rash-fresh re-winded new-skeinèd score / In crisps of curl off wild winch whirl, and pour / And pelt music, till none's to spill nor spend.

Danish composer Peter Bruun (b. 1968) lists Duran Duran, Simple Minds, and Spandau Ballet among his first musical influences. Since completing conservatory training he's written in many genres, but he obviously keeps the audience in mind, easily melding pop-culture moments with sophisticated harmonies and counterpoint. In the second of the 2 Scenes, he mates the breathy, dark sound of Petri's tenor recorder with Hopkins' meditation on the finitude of human life:



Both [man and lark] sing sometimes the sweetest, sweetest spells, / Yet both droop deadly sometimes in their cells . . . / Not that the sweet-fowl, song-fowl, needs no rest / Why, hear him, hear him babble and drop down to his nest, / But his own nest, wild nest, no prison. / Man's spirit will be flesh-bound when found at best, / But uncumbered: meadow-down is not distressed / For a rainbow footing it nor he for his bónes rísen.
PS Audio

Michala Petri, recorder
Thomas Koppel
Los Angeles Street Concerto
Michala Petri plays Thomas Koppel
A delightful release, essential for Petri fans
Victor Carr Jr., ClassicalToday.com
27 July 2006
It turns out that there is more than one Danish composer with the surname Koppel. Not to be confused with Herman D.Koppel, Thomas Koppel, who died just this year, actually is Herman's son. Thomas lived up to his farther's legacy, producing music of equally high quality and originality ( though quite different in style). The two concertos on this present disc are fresh, lively, and often moving works that, although written in a freely tonal idiom, never become anodyne. Instead, the ear is continuously challanged by shifting colors and harmonies, and most certainly by the virtuoso solo writing that Michala Petri handles with considerable aplomb.

Moonchilds's Dream calls for recorder, an instrument that rarely has sounded so lovely and lively as here, freed from its usual baroque trappings. Koppel has it singing, swirling, and dancing in a most engaging manner. The sopranino recorder part in Los Angeles Street Concerto ( which sounds nothing like its name--no roving rock, jazz, or mariachi bands here ) is even more demanding, calling for exceptional virtuosity from Petri in both the soothingly serene passages and those in which she reminds us of a pipe. The richly atmospheric orchestral score is just compelling, especially as performed by the Copenhagen Philharmonic under Bo Holten ( Moonchild ) and Kremerata Baltica.

The poetry-inspired Nele's Dances is even more unusual. Scored for recorder and archlute, the 10 pieces form wordless songs, with Petri proving a most lyrical storyteller aided by Lars Hannibal's poignant accompaniments on the lute. Da Capo's recording present both the chamber and orchestral works in a natural-sounding, spacious acoustic, enhancing the aural pleasure. This is a delightful release, essential for Petri fans.
Victor Carr Jr., ClassicalToday.com

Michala Petri, recorder
Keith Jarrett, harpsichord
Handel Sonatas
A rare treat!
Peter J Lawson, Music Web International
05 June 2005
What do you get when two "big" names join forces to record "little" music such as these sonatas? This disc gives you your answer: it's a rare treat!

I say "little" only because this music is emotionally lightweight. But it really is first rate stuff. Mostly bright and melodic, as befits the solo instrument's playfull nature, and not without contrapuntal interest or, as ever with Handel, supremely clever workmanship. Sprightly dance numbers abound. You'll probaly recognise half-familiar tunes which you've encountered - or think you've encountered - elsewhere in Händel's instrumental music. As so often with baroque composers, in an age before recorded music, Handel wasn't averse to recycling his music for further use, if only for an easy life, or for a quick adjustment to his bank balance.

After years of examining student performers grappling with impossible tecnical limitations, I have to say this disc destroys my many preconceived notions - "pet hates", I was going to say - about recorder players - flat ends of phrases, wavering long notes, and limited musical interest to mach the negligible dynamic range. Or about jazz players "going classical" - intensivity to style and tone,- and over-intrusive personalities. In fact this is top-drawer playing from Petri and Jarrett: beautifully polished, rhytmically alive and delicately expressive.

Of course baroque specialists and jazz musicians share one thing in this kind of repertory in their need to improvise - in this case, the recorder to ornament Handel's simple lines, and the harpsichordist to fill out Handel's figured bass. Petri and Jarrett acquit themselves admirably, as if to the manner born, striking that elusive golden mean between indulgence and negligence.

This disc offers spirited and committed performers of some of the composer's most diverting music. The recording's exemplary, and the price tempting - sufficient to demolish your last excuse not to buy.
Peter J Lawson, Music Web International

Michala Petri, recorder
Lars Hannibal, guitar & archlute
Air
FINE American Record Guide on Petri-Hannibal Duo
American Record Guide
29 January 1998
Michala Petri is one of the finest instrumentalists making recordings today. This is her second recording with Lars Hannibal, who proves to be as flexible and multi-faceted a musician as she. They present the music (all in transcriptions by Petri and Hannibal except for the Faurè, which is by Laurindo Almeida) in an interesting manner: the three Gymnopedies by Satie are separated and spread around, offering a bit of lyrical repose and relief from Petri's dazzling virtuosity. Every record that Petri makes seems to be better than the last, and the piece that I am currently hearing on one of her recordings always seems to be my favourite. I play this recording over and over again, and am still awed by her musicianship and virtuosity. The transcriptions are excellent. Petri makes Tartini's Devil's Trill Sonata sound like it was written for the recorder, translating breathtaking violin virtuosity into breathtaking recorder virtuosity. Just to add variety to the riches, Petri uses different recorders for each of the Grieg pieces, and Hannibal uses an archlute for his excellent continuo in the Bach and the Tartini. When life is difficult it is nice to know that I can always listen to Michala Petri and feel renewed strength and optimism.

FINE American Record Guide
American Record Guide
  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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