cd reviews
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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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