cd reviews
currently showing records for:
Michala Petri, recorder
Marilyn Mazur, percussion
Brazilian Landscapes
10/10/10 in Klassik Heute on Brazilian Landscapes
Heinz Braun, Klassik Heute
27 June 2017
Klassik Heute (Germany) (10/10/10)
Die Farbigkeit und Vielfalt der Landschaft und Ethnien des größten Landes Südamerikas hat von jeher die Musik Brasiliens beeinflusst. So spiegeln und vermischen sich in der brasilianischen Kunstmusik des 20. Jahrhunderts europäische, afrikanische und indigene Wurzeln zu einem, eben originär brasilianischen, Stil.
Michala Petris neueste CD ist, um es vorwegzunehmen, ein großer Wurf! Zusammen mit ihren kongenialen Partnern, dem phänomenalen brasilianischen Gitarristen und Komponisten Daniel Murray und der nicht weniger eindrucksvollen dänisch-amerikanischen (Jazz-)Perkussionistin Marilyn Mazur präsentiert sie in ihrem, mit fast 72 Minuten Spieldauer gut gefüllten Album ein breites Spektrum brasilianischer Musik der Gegenwart in wunderbar stimmigen Arrangements für Blockflöte, Gitarre und Percussion. Mit dabei selbstverständlich zwei der „Klassiker“: Antonio Carlos Jobim (Brasiliens bedeutendster Komponist populärer Musik) sowie Heitor Villa-Lobos, der international bekannteste Schöpfer brasilianischer klassischer Musik. Aber auch jüngere Komponisten sind vertreten, darunter u.a. mit drei Stücken auch der Gitarrist Daniel Murray.
Blockflöte und Gitarre sind eine geradezu ideale Kombination (und es existieren eine ganze Reihe hervorragender Originalwerke für diese Besetzung). Ergänzt durch die große Zahl der eingesetzten Perkussionsinstrumente, die zuweilen fast eine mysteriöse Amazonas-Urwald-Atmosphäre kreieren, entsteht ein Klangspektrum, dessen unwiderstehlichem Charme man sich kaum entziehen kann: Heiße Rhythmen, stimmungsvoller Groove und Interpreten vom Feinsten!
Eine Gute-Laune-CD voller Überraschungen – zum Hinhören und Chillen. Ideal für laue Sommerabende. 
Heinz Braun, Klassik Heute

Michala Petri, recorder
Jean Thorel, conductor
A Pacifying Weapon [LP]
Sean Hickey
. Petri, the recorder's reigning goddess, is doing much to expand that instrument's modern repertoire.
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare (US)
31 May 2017
 
HICKEY A Pacifying Weapon.1 CLAUSEN Concertino for Recorder and Strings21,2Michala Petri (rcr); 1Jean Thorel, 2Clemens Schuldt, cond; 1Royal Danish Academy of Music Concert Band; 2Lapland CO ● OUR OUR-LP001 (LP: 41:50)
            Although his music has been discussed in Fanfare previously, Sean Hickey probably deserves a few words of introduction. He was born in Detroit in 1970, played the electric guitar when he was in high school, and studied music composition at Wayne State University. The first commercial recording of his work was released by Naxos in 2005, and it was reviewed a year later (Fanfare 29:4) by Phillip Scott, who found it “enjoyable” but not essential. Since then, there have been two releases on Delos. Lynn René Bayley (Fanfare 38:1) opened her review of one of them with a real humdinger: “For a composer who came out of the puerile musical background of rock music (when he was 12, he owned 'a stack of Van Halen records'), Sean Hickey's music has a great deal of sophistication.” Ouch.
            A Pacifying Weapon (the title comes from a lyric by the, tee hee, puerile band Indigo Girls) was commissioned by and dedicated to Michala Petri. In his sleeve note (it feels funny to write that in 2017, but this is an LP, not a CD), Hickey talks about all the crappy things that were happening in 2015. He hit upon the idea of a sort of atomic bomb in reverse—one that would cause not sudden death but “instant and irreversible peace.” (Actually, a sufficiently large atomic bomb would produce just that, but none of us would be around to enjoy it.) One wonders if Hickey ever saw the terrific Cold War-era film “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” with its memorable Bernard Herrmann score. Anyway, Hickey's score is a concerto for recorder, winds, brass, percussion, and harp, and is not strictly programmatic, although the first two movements, and most of the third, convey varying degrees of tension, conflict, and desolation. Eventually, the third conveys the possibility of peace, with the recorder serving as its harbinger. An authentic Highland reel is introduced, but what initially sounds innocuous and cheerful eventually is revealed as threatening, when the recorder and a snare drum confront each other. At the end, there is a stand-off. I am glad that Hickey did not resolve the confrontation with the facile waving of an olive branch. That would have been unrealistic. This is nicely crafted music that seems made to order for Petri's recorders (she plays several in this work) and the percussion instruments that were available in the Royal Danish Academy of Music. (Hickey thanks its director, Gert Mortensen, also a fine percussionist, for an afternoon exploring the Academy's holdings.) This probably is one of those works that needs to be seen as much as heard. I found it entertaining and communicative, but maybe not something that will make a lasting impression. We shall see. I have no doubts about the excellence of the performance. Petri, the recorder's reigning goddess, is doing much to expand that instrument's modern repertoire. Thanks for that, but let's hope she keeps exploring the Baroque repertoire, because plenty of work remains to be done there as well.
            The LP is filled out with the “bonus” of Clausen's Concertino. Because it uses a string orchestra, it is a sensible foil for A Pacifying Weapon. I think that this is the same recording that I reviewed last year (Fanfare 39:3) when it was issued on a CD with other works dedicated to the memory of composer Axel Borup-Jørgensen. At that time, I wrote, “Thomas Clausen’s Neoclassical Concertino is the very model of mental health and Nordic body culture: 20 more minutes of calisthenics and everyone into the sauna! Its Largo is cool and lovely, and its closing Rondo a bracing showpiece for Petri and her little recorder.” Compared to A Pacifying Weapon, it is emotionally uncomplicated, but it is not an easy piece for the recorder. Of course Petri makes light of its difficulties.
            I reviewed this not as an LP but as an mp3 sent to me by OUR Recordings. I was a little skeptical about how it would sound, but it sounded great, and I expect the LP will sound even better. For those not equipped to play an LP, perhaps a CD version will appear sooner or later. 
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare (US)

Michala Petri, recorder
Marilyn Mazur, percussion
Brazilian Landscapes
The Brazilians must have a secret for getting oil to mix with water!
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare (US)
31 May 2017
Fanfare 3. review
BRAZILIAN LANDSCAPES ● Michala Petri (rcr); Daniel Murray (gtr); Marilyn Mazur (perc) ● OUR 6.220618 (71:11)
PORTO ALEGRE Sonhos I & II. BELLINATI Jongo. Pingue-Pongue. JOBIM Olha Maria. MURRAY Cauteloso. Canção e Dança. NAZARETH Fon-Fon. GISMONTI Karatê. A Fala da Paixão. PASCOAL São Jorge. RIBEIRO VIII Miniaturas. VILLA-LOBOS Choros No. 2. Choros No. 5 (Alma Brasileira)
            Most people will file this release as a recorder CD; after all, it has Michala Petri's name on it, and she must be the most indefatigable recorder player in action today. Nevertheless, it's really an equal collaboration between Ms. Petri, Danish-American percussionist and composer Marilyn Mazur, and Brazilian guitarist and composer Daniel Murray. All of the arrangements are by Murray, but because the music has a nicely relaxed air to it, one might guess that all three musicians were improvising a bit as the recording sessions went on, although I am not saying that that definitely was the case.
                Brazilian Landscapes treads the sometimes fuzzy border between classical music and semi-classical or even popular music. For that reason, it is a bit of a departure for Petri, but that's OK. In the case of the present program, that border seems particularly fuzzy. Most people would call Heitor Villa-Lobos a classical composer, but they might not bestow that title on Ernesto Nazareth (because most of his works are in dance genres), and they probably would leave Antônio Carlos Jobin out of the classical genre entirely, given his reputation as a jazz musician. (Everyone knows “The Girl from Ipanema,” although she does not make an appearance on this CD.) As you listen to this CD, you probably won't be thinking “that's classical” and “that's not.” Instead, the program is characterized by its stylistic continuity, which is not to say that it is monotonous. That continuity comes partly from the character of  Brazilian music, and partly from the unfussy approach taken by Petri, Murray, and Mazur.
                The program is effectively bracketed by the two impressionistic Sonhos (Dreams) by Paulo Porto Alegre. Unusual percussion effects in these two tracks make me wish that I could see what Mazur was doing. In between, there is much to enjoy: sonic environments that are languid and sensual; unexpected rhythmic juxtapositions; beckoning melodies; and piquant, yet always comforting, harmonies. One piece that works particularly well for these three musicians is Nazareth's nervously syncopated Brazilian tango Fon-Fon. (Elsewhere, its title has been translated as “Toot-Toot.” The sheet music is headed with a cartoon of two men in a flivver, and a little boy scurrying to get out its way.) Anyone attempting to dance to it as if it were a traditional tango will end up tripping on his or her shoelaces. Daniel Murray's Dança (Dance) is another bizarre delight, in terms of rhythm; all three instruments seem to be doing their own thing in their own time, and yet they mysterious come together to form a satisfying whole. The Brazilians must have a secret for getting oil to mix with water!
                As I write this, it's almost June, and the weather in Virginia is getting warmer. This seems like a good time to think about South America, and also about vacationing in Denmark. Brazilian Landscapes lets you do both at the same time!
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare (US)

Michala Petri, recorder
Jean Thorel, conductor
A Pacifying Weapon [LP]
Sean Hickey
played with exceptional flair and precision by Ms. Petri, all that the composer could possibly hope for.
Robert Carl, Fanfare US
29 May 2017
Robert Carl, Fanfare US

Michala Petri, recorder
Marilyn Mazur, percussion
Brazilian Landscapes
Colorful music, exquisitely played and recorded: I can’t imagine a more engaging way to spend an hour that doesn’t involve flying down to Rio
Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare (US)
28 May 2017
Collections: Ensemble
BRAZILIAN LANDSCAPES  —  Michala Petri (rcr); Daniel Murray (gtr); Marilyn Mazur (perc)1 —  OUR RECORDINGS 6.220618 (SACD: 71:11)
ALEGRE 1Sonhos. BELLINATI 1Jongo. Pingue-Pongue. JOBIM Olha Maria (Amparo). DANIEL MURRAY 1Cauteloso. 1Canção e Dança. NAZARETH 1Fon-Fon. GISMONTI 1Karatê. 1A Fala da Paixão. PASCOAL 1São Jorge. RIBEIRO 7 Miniatures. VILLA-LOBOS Choros: No. 2. No. 5, “Alma Brasileira”
 
Those who know Danish recorder virtuoso extraordinaire Michala Petri primarily for her Baroque music recording or for her advocacy of often challenging new music, might be a little surprised by a release of Brazilian works that ride the line—admittedly faint in Brazil—between classical and popular. If so, perhaps those persons missed Siesta, an absolutely delightful disc that she and guitarist Lars Hannibal released in 2006. That disc included several works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, whose music is—to use the term of annotator and composer Paulo Bellinati—one of two pillars of Brazilian music: the classical one. The earlier CD offered Latin-flavored works by a number of well-known composers from Piazzolla to Ravel, all in stylish arrangements.
This new release is different in a couple ways from this predecessor. First, it focuses on the music of this one country and, beyond “pillars” Villa-Lobos and Antonio Carlos Jobim—the popular music side of this symbiotic arrangement—on to a later generation of composers whose music feels the influence of both. The other is the addition of percussion to the guitar/recorder duo. In several of the works, such as Paulo Porto Alegre’s simple vocalise Sonhos (Dreams), played twice here as bookends for the program, improvised percussion creates atmosphere and a touch of the uncanny.
The percussion, provided by drummer/composer/bandleader Marilyn Mazur—American-born but living in Denmark for many years—colors a number of the works besides the Alegre. In Paulo Bellinati’s Jongo, arranged from the original for guitar duo, her percussion line adds the West African flavor of the dance’s origins and finishes with an extended demonstration of fine African drumming. Brazilian guitarist/composer (and third member of the trio) Daniel Murray’s Canção e Dança—originally for solo guitar—gets similar treatment: subtle at first in the song and with more abandon in the dance. Mazur adds drive to the good-humored (and often-played) Karatê by Egberto Gismonti, and delicate atmosphere to his signature piano solo A Fala da Paixão (Passion Talk) with light metallic percussion and wind chimes. She offers similar coloristic touches to Hermeto Pascoal’s São Jorge.
Every work, with and without percussion, has been significantly rethought for the program.Antônio Ribeiro’s piquant but thoroughly agreeable miniatures and Villa-Lobos’s Alma Brasileira, both originally for piano, and others for guitar duo or even—Villa-Lobos’s Choros No. 2—flute and clarinet duo, have all been arranged by Daniel Murray.
 Purists may prefer originals, but there is no denying the charm and beauty of these works, or the skill with which they are arranged and played. There are brief but helpful notes on the origins and short bios of the performers. Topping it off is the superb sound to which we have become accustomed from this label. Note in particular the lovely percussion transients caught at extraordinary DXD resolution, providing smooth, open, nearly tangible aural images of the performers, especially in the SACD layer. Colorful music, exquisitely played and recorded: I can’t imagine a more engaging way to spend an hour that doesn’t involve flying down to Rio
Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare (US)

Michala Petri, recorder
Jean Thorel, conductor
A Pacifying Weapon [LP]
Sean Hickey
A most interesting recording.
Colin Clarke Fanfare US
28 May 2017
LP Review
 
HICKEY A Pacifying Weapon CLAUSEN Concertino for Recorder and Strings  — Michala Petri (rcrs); 1Jean Thorel, 2Clemens Schuldt, conds; 1Royal Danish Academy of Music Concert Band; 2Lapland CO — OUR LP-001 (41:50)
 
This is an LP release on 180g vinyl, auditioned for the purposes of review via a sequence of MP3 files. The sound was mastered by Preben Iwan in DXD format (352.8 kHz/32 bit sound) and is available in a number of formats for download. American composer Sean Hickey (born 1970) has written a concerto for recorders, winds, brass and extended percussion section, called A Pacifying Weapon. The idea is that the recorder, with its long history, can provide “an instant and irreversible peace,” an idea that came from a lyric of a song by the Indigo Girls.
The concept of recorder with (or indeed against) modern symphony orchestra is an intriguing one indeed. Especially as Hickey’s piece begins with an orchestral war cry approached via various snake-like melodic configurations. The recorder responds initially solo before being joined by its woodwind brethren. The scoring is in fact, masterly and often magical. There is a presence to the recording, too (the brass and percussion in particular). Petri’s virtuosity is predictably impeccable; it is the way that she maintains dialog with the complex orchestral part that truly impresses though. The atmospherics at the opening of the central panel are palpable, and there are moments of attractive rhythmic swing in amongst the more frozen sections. Petri is highly expressive. The percussion, assembled with the help of the expert Gert Mortensen, come into their own in the crescendos that open the finale; so does the recording: listen to the presence not just of the brass but of the percussion “comments” at this point. Hickey uses various external themes, including a highland pipe tune (there is no missing it in the finale when it arrives). But this finale is no mere whistler’s holiday: the finale, and the work as a whole, includes plateaux of real depth. This is music to “silence the madness of violence” in the face of the recent (and sadly seemingly continuing) atrocities around the World, whether London, Manchester, Paris, San Barnadino or Brussels. The performance of the orchestral contribution by the students of the Royal Danish Academy of Music is impeccable and exudes a focus professional orchestras might do well to emulate. A YouTube trailer is available at https://www.seanhickey.com/recordings/pacifying-weapon.
The neo-Baroque, twelve-minute Concertino by Thomas Clausen was originally released on Nordic Sound: A Tribute to Axel Borup-Jøgensen (OUR Recorings 6.220213) where it shared disc space with music by Bent Sørensen, Gudmundsen-Holmgren, Rasmussen, Christensen and finally Borup-Jørgensen himself. An interview around this disc and several others by Petri was published in Fanfare 39:2, together with reviews. Known best perhaps for his jazz activities, Clausen provides a remarkably approachable piece with which to close the listening experience. Cantabile lines in the slow movement clearly reference those of Bach in his concertos; harmonic arrivals refer that composer too, before twists remind us that all is not what it seems. The latter stages of the work are an absolute delight, with the strings of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra digging in vigorously. Petri’s flitting about right at the top of her register is positively avian.
A most interesting recording.  
Colin Clarke Fanfare US

Michala Petri, recorder
Jean Thorel, conductor
A Pacifying Weapon [LP]
Sean Hickey
" Warmly recommended" Review on A Pacifying Weapon in Fafare (US)
Ronald E.Grames, Fanfare US
25 May 2017
Fanfare 1. Review
È HICKEY A Pacifying Weapon1. T. CLAUSEN Concertino for recorder and strings2  —  1Jean Thorel, cond; 2Clemens Schuld, cond; 1Royal Danish Academy of Music Concert Band; 2Lapland CO; Michala Petri (rcr)  —  OUR RECORDINGS 001 (41:50) Reviewed from a FLAC download: 174.6 kHz/24-bit
 
Title and concept comes from the lyrics to an indie folk song, Welcome Me, by the Indigo Girls, a duo whose work is not often cited in these pages. Imagine a weapon—a pacifying weapon—the use of which brings “an instant and irreversible peace.” American composer Sean Hickey’s flight of fantasy grew from that image, as he contemplated the world in its present chaos, and tried to imagine a device, an “instrument”: something that would confront the violence and end it. It’s a beautiful dream. If it proves elusive, even in the three-movement concerto for recorder and wind ensemble that gives that aspiration voice, it is nonetheless a marvelous thing to contemplate.
In his notes, Hickey explains that he chose the recorder because of its lengthy history “as witness to the rise and fall of empires, crusades, wars, and countless births and deaths, as a musical voyeur.” It acts here as observer, but also as metaphor for the speaking of truth to power: the small voice raised against the mighty. Traditional concertos create tension by pitting the soloist against the resources of the orchestra. Hickey seemingly goes one better by arming a soloist with a threesome of diminutively voiced recorders—soprano, alto, and bass—against a moderate-sized but potent ensemble of 33: woodwinds, brass, a harp, and an imposing phalanx of percussion. True, much of the time the recorder plays alone or in combination with ensemble soloists or small sections, but at other times, the symbolic threat is very real, with the recorder overshadowed by massive waves of brass or percussion. The result is like a flower-bearing David against an implacable Goliath or better, the Tiananmen Square protestor against the tanks.
It is, however, a joy to listen without the political—or as soloist Michala Petri suggests in a YouTube trailer—the human statement proposed by the program. The sonorities are beautiful in themselves, with the various recorders high-spirited, poignant, darkly angry, or plucky. Hickey’s writing for the recorder—idiomatic and ingenious in its interactions with other instruments—draws less on the sheer virtuosity for which Petri is justly famous than on her considerable skills at musical characterization, her unparalleled ability to sustain a phrase with rock-solid pitch, and her remarkable capacity to color the sound of her instrument. The writing for brass is sonorous and the woodwinds lively and vivid. The percussion, assembled with the guidance of Gert Mortensen, world-renowned percussionist and professor at the Danish Royal Academy of Music, is imposing and full of character. All of the ensemble members are students at that conservatory, representing 11 countries—a statement in itself—and even making no allowance for their status, they are most impressive. Noted French conductor Jean Thorel, who led an earlier English Recorder Concertos disc with Petri, directs with panache.
Strangely, vinyl is the only physical carrier on which OUR Recordings has released the music. I am not part of the LP-nostalgia craze. I find that high-resolution digital has all of the advantages of high-end analog, without the noise and distortions, however benign some find them. For audiophiles who take their music in ones and zeros, OUR does offer downloads from multiple sites in original DXD (352.8 kHz/24-bit), 174.6/24, and 96/24. I have heard CD resolution WAV files, as well. I reviewed 174.6 kHz files, the highest of the three rates which my DAC handles. The sound is spectacular: tactile, with a stable, convincing soundstage, plenty of air around the instruments, and beautiful definition on percussion transients. It doesn’t get better than this.
But does the dream have a happy ending? Yes, it seems, as a sprightly dance between the soloist and members of the ensemble appears near the conclusion of the final movement, set to the Scottish folksong, Druimuachdar or The Highland Road to Inverness. However, it ends with a short duet between recorder and snare drum—fife and drum, the composer notes— halted with a belligerent roll-tap from the drum. Ambiguous at best, I’d say, though there should be nothing ambiguous about the listener’s delight. The program is concluded with Thomas Clausen’s pleasing neo-Baroque Concertino for recorder and strings, a “bonus track” reprised from the label’s earlier Nordic Sound release (Fanfare 39:2). Some may balk at the LP-imposed time limit, but premium art justifies premium investment, and I cannot imagine any lover of the recorder or the eclectic and accessible music of Sean Hickey feeling at all shortchanged. Warmly recommended. 25.05.2017 Fanfare Ronald E. Grames
Ronald E.Grames, Fanfare US

Michala Petri, recorder
Marilyn Mazur, percussion
Brazilian Landscapes
This is music to savor and be refreshed by, regardless of your preference for musical genres. Highly recommended.
Dave Saemann, Fanfare (US)
25 May 2017
BRAZILIAN LANDSCAPES Ÿ Michala Petri (rcr); Marilyn Mazur (perc); Daniel Murray (gtr) Ÿ OUR 6.220618 (SACD: 71:11)
 
ALEGRE Dreams. BELLINATI Jongo. Pingue-Pongue. JOBIM Olha Maria. MURRAY Cauteous. Song and Dance. NAZARETH Fon-Fon. GISMONTI Karatê. Passion talk. PASCOAL Saint George. RIBEIRO VIII Miniatures. VILLA-LOBOS Choros Nos. 2 and 5
 
            I long have had a soft spot for Michala Petri, ever since I heard her play in Princeton many years ago. So when confronted with her recorder album of Brazilian music, my reaction was anticipation rather than skepticism. Petri excels in cross cultural endeavors. I recommend her YouTube videos paired with a master of the Chinese flute, Chenyue. Petri and Brazilian music are a natural. The arrangements on Brazilian Landscapes are by the Brazilian guitarist/composer Daniel Murray. The arrangements are intelligent, vivid, and sensitive. A good introduction to Murray as arranger and guitarist are his four YouTube videos of music of Egberto Gismonti arranged for solo guitar, in one case for an 11 string guitar. Murray and Petri establish a marvelous rapport on this album, sounding like two old friends just getting together to play for their own pleasure. I wonder how much of the percussion part was written out and how much was left to the performer. Marilyn Mazur is a veteran percussionist of great versatility. Her jazz quartet, the Marilyn Mazur Group, may be seen on YouTube in two of her compositions, Magic Box and Sage Passion. Her playing brings an extra dimension to Brazilian Landscapes, giving it a cache beyond that of a chamber ensemble. This is music of great heart and terrific sound that deserves to appeal to a wide audience, beyond the confines of classical acolytes.
            Composer Paulo Bellinati in his program notes stresses the blurring of the lines between classical and popular music in Brazilian culture. Its greatest popular composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim, was influenced by the gestures of classical music, while Heitor Villa-Lobos, the greatest Brazilian classical composer, sought artistic sustenance from popular and folk music. Jobim’s Olha Maria has the dark, sensitive mood of a Latin Shostakovich. Chico Buarque’s haunting lyrics are included in the booklet. Street corner players are evoked by Villa-Lobos’s Choros No. 2. Choros No. 5, subtitled “Brazilian soul,” at times feels like a plaintive lament, while elsewhere it possesses the vigor of folk poetry. I’ve previously alluded to Daniel Murray’s affinity for the music of Egberto Gismonti, and the two arrangements on Brazilian Landscapes are no exception. Karatê really requires a virtuoso solo modern dancer to bring its jagged rhythms completely to life. Passion talk has the depth of feeling of two lovers communicating. This music contains such intimacy of emotion that words really cannot describe it. Mazur’s contribution here adds immeasurably to its allusiveness of meaning. Her participation is very much to the forefront of Dreams by Paulo Porto Alegre. Mazur creates a gossamer aural environment, not unlike electronic music. Petri maintains the overall sonic mood beautifully.
            Paulo Bellinati’s music possesses a balletic grace. Daniel Murray’s own compositions are well made, with an appealing melancholy streak. By contrast, Ernesto Nazareth’s Fon-Fon sparkles with joy. The stereo engineering on the CD is superb. I was unable to listen to the surround sound program. Brazilian Landscapes is a delicious, frothy beverage designed to tickle your taste buds. This is music to savor and be refreshed by, regardless of your preference for musical genres. Highly recommended. 
Dave Saemann, Fanfare (US)

Michala Petri, recorder
Danish National Vocal Ensemble
Let The Angels Sing
European Christmas Carols and Songs in New Arrangements for Recorder and Choir
A Wealth of Pleasure
Roderic Dunnett, www.dailyclassicalmusic.com
Daily Classical Music. com
A Wealth of Pleasure
'The singing throughout is of a high quality ...
The Danish National Radio Choir, under Stefan Parkman, was one of the treasures of the Chandos label's choral output some time ago. The present ensemble first saw light of day in 2007 as the National Vocal Ensemble, and has already been picked up by Naxos. Their singing has been described as transparent, bright and pure, and highly applauded for its remarkable technical precision.
While there are numerous discs of Christmas carols to be explored, the difference here with Let The Angels Sing is the freshness of the new arrangements, made by the group's conductor, Michael Bojesen. In particular, he has imported a recorder, here the utterly delightful, expressive virtuoso performer Michala Petri.
The overall result is a medieval feeling throughout, most especially when the recorder is given an exposed solo passage, as at the opening, in Infant Holy, and midway through Angelus ad Virginem.
The real invention begins with Up Good Christen Folk, where a vocal bells effect is highly attractive and the recorder takes off, pirouetting in a beautifully and aptly conceived descant.
The Czech baroque hymn Rocking, like several of these items (In Dulci Jubilo, Unto Us is Born), acquires an appetising and unusual short prelude. The men come into their own to good effect, with a thrumming bass drone and eloquent tenor singing of the melody, in A Virgin Most Pure; and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear also benefits from a men-only arrangement. These lower voices are profoundly atmospheric, and their legato treatment here is highly beneficial — not so far from Welsh male voice choirs in manner. The Coventry Carol reintroduces the recorder, in a lovely and by no means obviously shaped first and last verse descant. God Rest You has a canonic treatment midway. One of the perkiest is an earlier Czech offering (seventeenth century), the Zither Carol ('Girls and boys, leave your toys, make no noise ...'), which positively dances through the story of the shepherds and the wise men.
Recorder in lower register is a feature of Infant Holy, to which Bojesen brings slightly unusual, appealing harmonies. The boldest introductory and midway patter for Petri comes as the introduction to There stood in heav'n a linden tree ..., whose roots lie in an early German medieval carol (fourteenth century).
Girls and men alternate in the traditional way for Good King Wenceslas. Perhaps the most attractive solo is actually vocal — a delightful version of Blessed Be That Maid Mary, in which G R Woodward's exquisite Marian text is an ideal match for the fifteenth century English melody; and the women's voices as a whole have a charming passage also.
O Come, o come, Emmanuel makes a suitable conclusion.
The singing throughout is of a high quality, even if relatively traditional and without a particularly individual sound. For those to whom the carol is not merely a Christmas speciality, but something to be enjoyed at any time of the year, Bojesen's sensible pacings and of course Petri's almost angelic playing will surely bring a wealth of pleasure.
Roderic Dunnett, www.dailyclassicalmusic.com

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
Eine CD, die in jeder Sammlung stehen sollte
Thomas Müller-Schmitt, Windkanal, Germany
12. October 2016
Nach englishen, chinesischen, und dänischen Blockflötenkonzerten hat Michala Petri nun auch eine CD mit zwei deutschen in einem französischer Werk vorgelegt. Den Beginn macht gleich Markus Zahnhausen mit seonem “Recordare”, ein Werk, dass den für mich meditativen Teil des Albums Albums abdeckt: Ein wunderbares Stück, das auch nicht in den schnellen und virtuosen Teilen seine Ruhe verliert und auch mir Erlebtes in Erinnerung ruft oder Klänge, die ich irgendwo einmal gehört habe. Danke Markus für dieses Konzert!
Fabrice Bollons “Your Voice Out Of The Lamb” kommt ungleich nerv¨ser und hektischer daher. Die Blockflöte befindet sich in diesem Werk im Grenzbereich zwischen Kult-Pop und Klassik – mit Effekten wie Verzögerung, Echo, Wah-Wah etc. ausgestattet – und nutzt alle Grössen von Sopranino bit Subbass. Auf seine Weise auch ein tolles Werk.
Nach diesen beiden Höhepunkten kommt einem Hörer wie mir Günther Kochans ”Musik für Altblockflöte, 25 Streicher und Schlagwerk” erst einmal etwas befremdlich vor; aber nach einigen Male intensive Höres habe ich die Music doch serh zu schätzen gelernt. Es ist in manchen Teilen radikal, manches meditative, aber immer gut gemacht und sehr interessant. Michala Petri is wie immer die perfekte und sichere Interpretin dieser Werke: Da kann etwas noch so schwer sin, sie steht technisch immer über den Dingen und kann sich dadurch erlauben, sich volkommen auf die Musik zu Konzentrieren. Das Odense Symphony Orchestra steht mit seinem Dirigenten Christoph Poppen selbstbewusst zur Seite.
Eine CD, die in jeder Sammlung stehen sollte
Thomas Müller-Schmitt, Windkanal, Germany

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
Crescendo Belgium review.
Jean-Baptiste Baronian, Crescendo, Belgium
26.August 2016
Également appelée flûte douce, la flûte à bec a été au Moyen Âge d’un usage courant dans la musique populaire et sa technique s’est améliorée au cours des siècles, avant de séduire au XVIIe et au XVIIIe la plupart des compositeurs. On sait ainsi que Jean-Sébastien Bach a souvent utilisé la flûte à bec par groupe de deux dans une bonne vingtaine de ses cantates et que, pour sa part, George Philip Telemann l’a littéralement magnifiée à travers de très nombreuses partitions (sonates, trios, quatuors, suites, concertos, etc.). Après un silence de plus de cent cinquante ans, il aura toutefois fallu attendre le XXe siècle pour qu’elle intéresse de nouveau des musiciens de toute premier plan, de Paul Hindemith à Benjamin Britten, ou de Hans Werner Henze à Luciano Berio, en passant par Michael Tippett ou Louis Andriessen.  Peut-on pour autant parler de renouveau de la flûte de bec ? Est-ce que dans la grande majorité des œuvres où elle intervient, elle ne jouerait pas plutôt un rôle anecdotique, malgré le fait qu’elle arrive à produire des effets sonores tour à tour raffinés et insolites ?
Le présent CD rassemble trois œuvres peu connues ressortissant au répertoire contemporain de la flûte à bec et interprétées par Michala Petri, toujours disponible quand il s’agit de participer à des créations mondiales. Au vrai, ces trois œuvres n’ont rien d’extraordinaire et semblent constituer des exercices de style – exercice dont s’acquitte plutôt bien Günter Kochan, un des rares compositeurs de la RDA à n’avoir pas sacrifié tout son talent au réalisme socialiste.

Jean-Baptiste Baronian, Crescendo, Belgium

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
Music of the very highest compositional quality.
Chris Orton, Recorder Magazine, UK
June 7, 2016
It has been interesting to see that much has been written recently about a perceived lack of concerto repertoire for, specifically, recorder(s) and symphony orchestra. A cursory glance at the recording output of, say, Dan Laurin, John Turner, Jeremias Schwarzer and in particular Michala Petri, suggests that there is a substantial body of works ready to challenge talented youngsters and seasoned professionals alike. Michala Petri has been working through recording a series of concerto CDs, and this CD of German and French recorder concerti is a remarkable example of both her consummate technical and musical mastery of the recorder, but also of the artistry of the composers, their original musical ideas and brilliant scoring of said ideas.
The CD opens with ‘Recordare’, a new concerto by Markus Zahnhausen. From the arresting and imposing opening, one’s attention is immediately captured by the sparse but tense musical material. Zahnhausen uses percussion and winds with a clarity of scoring and orchestration that may remind one of the 14th and 15th symphonies of Shostakovich, or the restrained textures of late Benjamin Britten, however the similarity is fleeting – Zahnhausen very much has his own voice, and this concerto in my mind breaks new ground stylistically for the combination of recorders and orchestra. There is a depth of musical thought and intention which requires considerable concentration on
the part of the listener and indeed, the performers. In a live concert performance, this work could have an even more profound impact upon the listener.
‘Your Voice Out of the Lamb’ creates a stark but excellent contrast. This work uses some delay on the solo part, which is highly effective and is an example of electronics enhancing the musical discourse, rather than simply being an ‘effect’. Two shorter outer movements frame two longer movements which are the ‘heart’ of the work, to my ears. Again, some wonderful colours are created with combined recorder, reverb/delay, vibraphone, harp, solo violin and chamber strings in the third movement, ‘slow’. A virtuosic finale closes the concerto, again using what sounds like an electric piano and a ring modulator on the recorder part, all towards a very rhythmic and exciting musical result.
The final work on the disc is that of Günther Kochan. A composer from the former East Germany, he was highly considered within the Eastern Bloc, however, for so many East German artists, Reunification presented challenges and problems for sustaining careers. Nevertheless, here we have a work for recorder, chamber strings and percussion, that, like the Zahnhausen and Bollon concerti, provides a deeply musical vehicle for the opposition of recorder and orchestra. At once both virtuosic and profound music, it closes the CD with a brilliance of colour and texture.
Congratulations must be paid to the conductor and orchestra who accompany and lead with wonderful sensitivity and awareness. The recorder playing of Michala Petri is technically flawless and even more importantly, bursting with colour, variety and energy in a way that has certainly inspired me. This disc is exciting for so many reasons, however the principal point for me is that we have three first rate musical concerti for recorder, performed by a virtuosa who digs deep into the rich musical ideas presented.
Questions of comparison with other instruments are now irrelevant, and this disc proves beyond any doubt that there are concerti that exist for recorder that truly display the potential of the instrument, but most importantly, with music of the very highest compositional quality.
Chris Orton, Recorder Magazine, UK

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
The Latvian composer weaves Michala Petri`s tweeting recorders around his singers and an ever-present, uncannily natural evocation of the nightingale itself.
Gramophone , June issue 2016
June 6, 2016
 
This vision by Ugis Praulins (b1957) of Andersen`s story about a Chinese Emperor who prefers a blinged-up mechanical nightingale to a real bird capable of genuine songs (another prescient tale) is brimming with imagination and harmonic wonderment. The Latvian composer weaves Michala Petri`s tweeting recorders around his singers as an ever-present, uncannily natural evocation of the nightingale itself. 
Gramophone , June issue 2016

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
Nicht zuletzt wegen der Veröffentlichung dieses hervorragenden Werkes sei die CD allen an zeit-genössischer Musik Interessierten wärmstens empfohlen.
Markus Bartholomé, Tibia June 2016
May 30, 2016
Hinter dem etwas unscheinbaren Titel des Programmes verbergen sich große Kaliber: drei neue Werke für Blockflöte und Orchester - zwei Auftragswerke von Fabrice Bollon und Markus Zahnhausen, beide 1965 geboren, und die Ersteinspielung eines Werkes aus dem Jahr 2000 von Günter Kochan (1930 - 2009).

Michala Petri ist als Spielerin und Initiatorin neuer Musik mit dieser CD ein wirklich großer Wurf gelungen: ihre Virtuosität in den Dienst der neu entstandenen Musik stellend gelingt es ihr auch hier scheinbar mühelos, den typischen "Petri-Sound" in seiner unverkennbaren Klarheit zu erzeugen und gleichzeitig mit großer Wandlungsfähigkeit den jeweiligen klanglichen und musikalischen Anforderungen der unterschiedlichen Werke gerecht zu werden.
"Menschenfreundliche Musik" zu schreiben sei sein Ziel, so wird Kochan im Booklet der vorliegenden CD zitiert - und diesen Ansatz scheinen auch die beiden anderen Komponisten der drei neuen Blockflötenkonzerte zu verfolgen. Ihre künstlerischen Ansatzpunkte und musikalischen Register sind zwar grundverschieden, jedoch nehmen sie jeweils in ihrer ganz persönlichen Art sich und ihre Hörer als Partner ernst - ohne Überheblichkeit, ohne Anbiederung.

Markus Zahnhausens Recordare entwickelt aus der Kombination von Blockflöte(n) und großem Orchester eine farbig schillernde Palette klanglicher Schattierungen, den Klang der Blockflöte durch die fein gearbeitete Instrumentierung von ganz verschiedenen Seiten beleuchtend. Er verwehrt sich den Griff in die Zauberkiste der spieltechnischen Kunstfertigkeit, wie man es bei einem Solokonzert erwarten könnte, und bietet stattdessen ein ganz eigenständiges und in seiner emotionalen Kraft überaus eindrückliches Werk - Virtuosität nicht an der Oberfläche sondern im Inneren des musikalischen Erzählens. Angelegt als Tombeau für den im Krieg gefallenen, unbekannten Großvater weitet sich das Werk aus dem rhapsodisch klagenden Beginn der Soloblockflöte zu einem wilden Höhepunkt. Ein besonders anrührender Moment entsteht am Schluss: die Musik ist zu einer kargen Klanglandschaft gefroren, über der einsam die Töne der Sopraninoflöte schweben. Die Blockflöte steht in dieser musikalischen Erzählung nicht als virtuoser Held an der Bühnenrampe, vielmehr wird ihr natürlicher Klang zum Zentrum des orchestralen Geschehens: sinfonische Dramatik, wie man sie in einem "Blockflötenkonzert" zunächst nicht erwartet, die aber mit ihrer geradezu zwingenden Energie den Hörer gefangen nimmt.

Einen ganz anderen Weg schlägt der auch als Dirigent erfolgreich tätige Franzose Fabrice Bollon ein. Schon im Titel wird klar, dass sich der Komponist ein Sujet wählte, das man für ein Blockflötenkonzert wohl so nicht erwartet hat. "Your voice out of the Lamb" ist eine Hommage an die Progressive-Rocker von Genesis. Klingt diese Verbindung zunächst etwas abstrus, so kann das Ergebnis durchaus überzeugen. Der Grundidee folgend werden die Blockflöten elektronisch verstärkt und bearbeitet und das Orchester mit Keyboard und Drumset erweitert. Doch nicht nur klanglich gelingt Bollon, der sein Komponieren mit der Kunst eines Koches vergleicht, ein ansprechendes Gericht: geheimnisvoll pulsierende langsame Teile wechseln mit virtuosen Passagen, die in ihrer treibenden Mechanik sowohl an die Soli aus den Vivaldikonzerten als auch an Improvisationen eines Jazz- oder Rockmusikers erinnern.

Nicht nur wegen der beiden Auftragskompositionen lohnt es sich, diese CD in Ohrenschein zu nehmen: Mit der Ersteinspielung von Günter Kochans "Musik für Altblockflöte, 25 Streichinstrumente und Schlagwerk" bewahrt Michala Petri zusammen mit dem Dirigenten Christoph Poppen und dem engagiert zupackenden Odense Symphony Orchestra ein wahres Meisterwerk vor einem unverdienten Dornröschenschlaf in der berüchtigten Schublade. Wegen seiner aufwändigen Besetzung und gerade auch durch seine komplexe Faktur sowie die durchweg hohen Anforderungen an die musikalischen und spieltechnischen Fähigkeiten aller Beteiligten ist eine Aufführung des Stückes keine leichte Aufgabe. Doch Inspiration und Können der beteiligten Musiker vermögen durchweg zu zeigen, welches musikalische Kleinod hier für das Blockflötenrepertoire gehoben werden konnte. "Musik" steckt voller rhythmischer und satztechnischer Finesse: im dritten Satz etwa die in ihrer Einfachheit und Klarheit schmerzlich berührende Melodielinie der Flöte, im vierten Satz ein Fugato, das an die polyphone Instrumentationskunst Weberns erinnert, oder im sechsten Satz ein wilder, virtuoser Parforceritt im Fünfertakt ... Die Aufnahme beweist, zu welch müheloser Meisterschaft Kochan fähig war und ist ein überzeugendes Plädoyer für das Spätwerk dieses leider zu schnell in Vergessenheit geratenen großen Komponisten. Nicht zuletzt wegen der Veröffentlichung dieses hervorragenden Werkes sei die CD allen an zeitgenössischer Musik Interessierten wärmstens empfohlen.
Markus Bartholomé, Tibia June 2016

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
5 Stars, Berusende afveje
Per Rask Madsen, Klassisk, Denmark
May 29, 2016
Michala Petri må være en drøm at skrive musik til. I mange år kendte offentligheden hende mest for barokfortolkninger – dér lå det oplagte repertoire jo, - men siden 1970èrne har hun også samarbejdet med tidens komponister. I dag har samtidsmusikken hendes næsten udelte fokus. Den tekniske virtuositet er fuldstændig intakt, og hun hviler i sig selv, som en moden mester gør. Hjemlige komponister såvel som amerikanske, europæiske og kinesiske har skrevet værker til hende, og på den nye cd bliver lytteren overrumplet hele tre gange.
Markus Zahnhausen (f.1965) er noget så sjældent som en komponerende blokfløjtenist og endda en, der har noget spændende at byde på. Til Michala Petri har han skrevet ”Recordare”, en slags instrumental rekviem uden liturgi og med associationer til en imaginær film. Musikken simrer og bobler op i uforudsigelige udbrud og er langt fra barokkens concerto-ideal, hvor solist og tutti er klart definerede.
Den franske komponist Fabrice Bollon (f.1965) har en succesfuld dirigentkarriere i sit hjemland og i det tyske. Han ser Miles Davies som den største musiker i anden halvdel af det 20.århundrede, og ”Your Voice Out of The Lamb”  for blokfløjte og lille orkester søger da også væk fra de klassiske koncertsale oh ind i 70èrnes symfoniske rock og jazzrock, hvor blandt andet Genesis` ikoniske album ”The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” (1974) her holdes under en kalejdoskopisk prisme. Det fungerer fantastisk godt, selvom ingredienserne er mange, og komikken er som iværksat af et hold gnækkende alfer, der har hældt tryllestøv ud over instrumenterne: I Allegro giusto`en er der noget berusende og fjantet over de sordinerede trompeters tilråb og overdrevne wah-wah-lyde samt el-klaveret og marimbaens omtågede flakken omkring. Også de digitale delay-effekter på blokfløjten er sært fængslende. Odense Symfoniorkester er med på legen hele albummet igennem og spiller på et internationalt niveau, og i Bollons narrestreger kommer musikerne virkelig ud af deres komfortzone.
CD`en slutter med ”Musik for altblokfløjte, 25 strygere og slagtøj” af østtyskeren Günther Kochan (1930-2009), der står for det mest traditionelle indslag. Det blev komponeret på foranledning af førnævnte Markus Zahnhausen i 1996, for altblokfløjte og cembalo, og fire år senere omarbejdet til en koncert. De østtyske komponister har ikke været meget spillet uden for DDR, så vi har været totalt uvidende om Kochans bedrifter, men hører her et væsentligt glimt. Værket består af syv korte satser og rummer den mest indædte musik på cd`en. Strygerne glinser som en luftspejling under en sommerhede, og koblingen med strenge og slagtøj minder på flere måder om Bartoks musik i 1930`erne.
Bravo til musikerne og komponisterne på denne CD.
Per Rask Madsen, Klassisk, Denmark

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
the solo instrument, the recorder – which emerges as a dynamic instrument with much range and potential in 21st-century new music
Stuart Millson, Endnotes
May 16, 2016

 

Having just described the music of Kenneth Hesketh, I hope that we will not be overburdening our readers with another modern recommendation – this time, a collection of German and French recorder concertos (three world premiere recordings, no less) given by Michala Petri – a soloist, perhaps, better known for baroque performances – supported by the superb Odense Symphony Orchestra under Christoph Poppen. The CD comes from OUR Recordings (distributed by Naxos). The three concertos are by Gunter Kochan (1930-2009), Markus Zahnhausen and Fabrice Bollon (both born, 1965) – Bollon’s genre-crossing, rock-group Genesis-inspired concerto standing out in particular, due to his view that “contemporary art music is a lost cause” and his use of the orchestra as…

“… an imaginary band, thereby expanding Genesis’s typical palette of artful fairy-tale, childish fascination and cartoonish fantasy: an orchestra without woowinds or horns, without violins or violas, but with three trumpets, three trombones, marimba, vibraphone, drum set, harp, cellos and double-basses, joined by a very dominant keyboard. The keyboard and the recorders are the only amplified instruments, and the keyboard is employed with the colours typical of its genre to conjure effectively the authentic Genesis sound: Chorus, E-Piano, Rock Organ, Old Pianino…”

Recorded at the Carl Nielsen Hall, Odense, Denmark last year, the quality of the engineering is superb: listen in particular for the extraordinary capturing of such details as side-drum taps, and the “bright light” of the solo instrument, the recorder – which emerges as a dynamic instrument with much range and potential in 21st-century new music; much more of a presence than just a charming, antique sound from the world of the Brandenburg Concertos. (OUR Recordings, cat. no. 6.220614.)

Stuart Millson, Endnotes

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
As usual, Michala Petri is a flawless performer with stunning technical skills and a great charisma
Remy Franck, Pizzicato, Luxemburg
May 4th 2016
Der aus Saarbrücken stammende Blockflötist und Komponist Markus Zahnhausen erinnert sich in ‘Recordare’ an seinen Großvater, der 1941 starb, « ermordet in Hitlers teuflischem Feldzug in Weißrussland ». Zahnhausen hat die Briefe des Großvaters gelesen, und war tief erschüttert. Sein Werk ‘Recordare’ bezeichnet er daher als ein « Monument gegen den Krieg“, das kein brillantes Virtuosenstück sein soll, sondern « tiefgründige Musik von innerer Virtuosität“.
Er beschreibt darin die friedliche Landschaft mit Wiesen, wo der Großvater begraben liegt, eine Landschaft, die dennoch so viel Leid gesehen hat. So entwickelt sich zwischen ewigem Frieden und der Dramatik der kriegerischen Auseinandersetzung ein spannender musikalischer Film, der von großer nachhaltiger Wirkung ist.
Fabrice Bollon, der vielen Lesern vor allem als Dirigent bekannt sein dürfte, hat mit ‘Your Voice Out of the Lamb’ ein zwischen ruhigen Phasen und hoch virtuosen Passagen alternierendes Werk geschrieben, das eine Hommage an das Album ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’ der Rock-Band ‘Genesis’ sein soll. Es ist eine flatterhafte Musik, die in der losgelösten Interpretation Michala Petris einen direkt improvisatorischen Charakter erlangt.
Die Musik für Altblockflöte, 25 Streichinstrumente und Schlagwerk von Günter Kochan (1930-2009) ist das abstrakteste Stück der CD, aber Michala Petri und Dirigent Christoph Poppen bringen viel Spannung hinein, so, dass es nicht ohne Wirkung bleibt.
Michala Petris Spiel ist, wie immer und wie in jedem Repertoire, technisch hervorragend und hoch emotional im Ausdruck. Ihre Ausstrahlung und die formende Hand des inspirierten Dirigenten bringen auch das ‘Odense Symphony Orchestra’ zu einem spannungsvollen und kommunikativen Spiel. Die Tonaufnahme ist von bestechender Transparenz und Räumlichkeit.
Three very different modern recorder concertos make an interesting program for this CD. As usual, Michala Petri is a flawless performer with stunning technical skills and a great charisma.
 
Remy Franck, Pizzicato, Luxemburg

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
Although I always enjoy Michala Petri's discs, this one is particularly enjoyable,
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare
March 31, 2016
 
ZAHNHAUSEN Recordare. BOLLON Your Voice Out of the Lamb. KOCHAN Music for Alto Recorder, 25 String Instruments, and Percussion  ●  Michala Petri (rcr); Christoph Poppen, cond; Odense SO  ●  OUR 6.220614 (54:04)
            Although I always enjoy Michala Petri's discs, this one is particularly enjoyable, as it contains three previously unrecorded works that serve as something more than mere vehicles for Petri's considerable technical and intellectual virtuosity.
                Recordare, by Markus Zahnhausen (b. 1965), was composed in memory of the composer's grandfather, who was murdered by the Nazis in Belarus. (The work's title alludes both to the Latin word for “remember” and to the recorder itself.) The composer writes, “In my concerto the recorder functions as an omnipresent first-person narrator who guides the music from beginning to end as the first among equals.” He has structured the work as a diptych, with several subdivisions and contrasting moods. As the work approaches its end, there is extended “Farewell” in which, against very Shostakovich-like high string writing, the quietly chirping recorder, perhaps representing a soul that is winging skyward, takes its leave. It is a most magical ending. Zahnhausen, unlike most of the composers who have written works for Petri, is also a recorder virtuoso. His intimate relationship with that instrument helps make Recordare a very effective work.
                Fabrice Ballon (b. 1965) subtitled his concerto “Tribute to Genesis.” Initially, I thought he meant the first book of the Bible, but actually he meant the British prog rock group that had its artistic heyday in the 1970s. And indeed, the title alludes to Genesis's iconic The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway album. Thematic fragments from that album are used in this concerto. Now, to be honest, although I like Peter Gabriel's early solo albums, Gabriel-era Genesis usually strikes me as unlistenably pretentious, like the self-importance of a freshman philosophy student at his first college kegger. What a surprise, then, that I was blown away by Your Voice Out of the Lamb, which is one of the most inventive recorder concertos I've ever heard—and I've heard quite a few of them, thanks to Ms. Petri! Bollon's aim was “to write a hyper-virtuoso concerto bordering on the unplayable.” What gives this work its unusual sound is the use of a digital effects unit, which is used to produce loops, echoes, delays, and other effects in the solo part. The orchestral scoring also plays a role. You don't have to like Genesis, then, to enjoy this atmospheric and dynamic concerto, which is neither rock nor classical, but some very interesting thing in between. Bravo, Bollon!
                Don't be put off by the objective title of Günter Kochan's concerto, a work revised in 2000 for his pupil Zahnhausen. This is a concerto in seven fairly short movements whose intellectual agility keeps the listener (and the performer) on his or her toes. It may be pure music, but it is purely engaging, as it takes the soloist across a variety of landscapes. Each movement has its own sound, yet the seven of them come together to make a coherent and convincing whole. Kochan divides the strings into solo instruments, and the lightness of the scoring complements the soloist.
                There's really nothing that Michala Petri can't do with her instrument, is there? She probably is its most important exponent, in terms of creating a repertoire and developing a modern technique for it. Hearing this CD, one can't help but shake one's head in wonderment. How does she do it? She receives excellent support from Poppen and the Odense Symphony Orchestra, who give as much to these three worthwhile concertos as she does.
                This disc goes under the title “German & French Recorder Concertos,” but whatever you call it, it is a particularly impressive addition to the large Petri discography. Recommended, particularly for the wildly entertaining Your Voice Out of the Lamb!
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare

Michala Petri, recorder
Odense Symphony Orchestra
German & French Recorder Concertos
Im Ganzen aber ist diese CD eine großartige Bereicherung im Zusammenhang mit einem immer noch weit unterschätzten Instrument
Ulrich Hermann, The New Listener
March 24
Wie hat sich das Verhältnis zu diesem  Instrument im letzten Jahrhundert doch gewandelt! Vom ersten Anfänger-Instrument von der Tante für Kinder – und gerade besonders für Kinder fast immer völlig ungeeignet – zu einem hochentwickelten, spannenden und unglaublich vielseitigen Konzert-Instrument vom Barock bis zu den neuesten Kompositionen eines Markus Zahnhausen. Und Michala Petri hat dem Ganzen mit ihrer Präsenz und grenzenlosen Fertigkeit noch ganz andere, neue Möglichkeiten erschlossen. Vieles davon ist auf dieser Ersteinspielung zu hören und zu bestaunen.

Besonders im ersten Konzert, wo Markus Zahnhausen – selber Blockflötist – nicht nur die Möglichkeiten der verschiedensten Flöten einbaut, sondern auch der Solistin im Orchester-Part die bezwingendsten Begleitungen mitgibt, so z.B. gleich zu Beginn mit Glockenklängen oder Rhythmen von Schlagzeug und großer Trommel. Glücklicherweise lag mir sogar die gesamte Partitur von zwei der aufgenommenen Stücke vor, ich konnte also die Strukturen auch im Notenbild mit verfolgen, ein ganz besonderer Zusatz-Genuss! Zahnhausens Konzert hat, da auch als zusammenhängende Form sehr gelungen, das Zeug dazu, ein moderner Klassiker für die Blockflöte zu werden.

Nicht nur Werke und Au!ührungen sind auf exzellentem Niveau. Hinzu kommt ein außergewöhnlich umfangreiches und informatives Booklet, eine wahre  Fundgrube über Anlass der Kompositionen und ihre Schöpfer. Von Günter Kochan hatte ich in einem Liederbuch schon einmal ein Klavierlied gefunden, der war mir also kein ganz Unbekannter mehr. Sein Konzert für Blockflöte, Streicher und Schlagzeug zeigt seine Beherrschung des Handwerks natürlich ebenso wie seineeigenwilligen kompositorischen Ideen und deren souveräne Umsetzung: Kein Wunder, dass er zu den besten Komponisten der ehemaligen DDR gehörte, auch wenn vieles seiner Musik heute fast boykottiert zu werden scheint.
Michala Petri spielt alle Herausforderungen mit ihren unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten souverän aus, es müssen eben nicht nur Vivaldi, Händel, Bach oder die modischen Komponisten der Blockflöten-Literatur sein. Gerade moderne Kompositionen, die neue Spielweisen,   neue     Klänge, neue Herausforderungen an die Musikerinnen und Musiker stellen, zeigen – vor allem, wenn sie so überlegen gemeistert werden wie von der Dänin –, was aus diesem Instrument an Musik noch lange nicht an einem Endpunkt – die entsprechenden Komponisten vorausgesetzt! – noch zu erwarten und bereits zu erleben ist und sein wird.
Am wenigsten ansprechend war für mich das Konzert von Fabrice Bollon für Flöte und kleines Orchester. Er baut hier auch elektronische Elemente ein, wie Loops und Verstärkung, bezieht sich auf die Rock- Gruppe „Genesis“ und versucht eine Mixtur aus allen möglichen Stil-Elementen der E- und U-Musik. Das mag für die ausführenden Musikerinnen und Musiker sicher spannend sein, mir sagte dieses Stück am wenigsten zu, was dem Komponisten reichlich egal sein dür"e, denn wie seine Musik ankommt, war sicher nicht sein primärer Impetus, diese Komposition zu schreiben. Er selbst vergleicht sich mit einem Koch, der mit verschiedensten Gewürzen aus den verschiedensten Erdteilen jongliert, um eine wohlschmeckende Mahlzeit zuzubereiten.

Ob und wie weit ihm das gelungen ist, muss jede Person beim Hören selbst beurteilen.
Im Ganzen aber ist diese CD eine großartige Bereicherung im Zusammenhang mit einem immer noch weit unterschätzten Instrument
Ulrich Hermann, The New Listener

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
Corelli : La Follia
Breathtakingly beautiful
Oliver Smith, Spring issue 2016
23.March 2016
This CD is an intriguing partnership of the well-established and renowned Danish recorderist Michala Petri, with the young Iranian harpsichordist, Mahan Esfahani. They both work fantastically together as a team on this CD and yet it is amazing to read in their detailed programme notes that they had only first performed together a year before this recording. This is most appearent in the Allegro second movement from Corelli`s Sonata in G-Major (op.5 no.11) Here both performers seem to be having fun with the vibrant virtuosity and precision. This contrasts with the next movement in the sonata, Adagio, where the coulor and mood change immediately with the discordant suspended chords from the harpsichord under an emotionally raw and passionate recorder part. Here Petri is at her finest with fluid trills and scales swopping to high suspended notes with the Harpsichord which is breathtakingly beautiful. In fact, the ornamentated slow movements on the CD display Petri and Esfahani`s virtuosity and teamwork just as much as the flashy and seemingly more difficult movements. The Sarabande-Largo of the Sonata in G minor (op. 5 no.7) is exquisitely played with piercingly simple recorder line that is hauntingly sonorous and melancholic, accompanied by contrasting rich and Spartan spread chords that are so carefully placed and together with Petri that Esfahani seems almost telepathic with her.

There is something for everyone in this recording such as raucous and mad La Follia to the joyous and song-line optimism of the opening Prelude-Largo of the Sonata in C Major (opus 5 no.9). Petri and Esfahani are certainly a “dream team” and I look forward to more collaborative recordings from them in the near future. Oliver Smith, Spring issue 2016
Oliver Smith, Spring issue 2016
  OUR Recordings
Esromgade 15, opg. 1, 3rd floor, room 15
2200 Copenhagen N
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