cd reviews
currently showing records for:
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.,
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.,

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
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
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