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Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
Wonderful review in UK Magazine for OLD Music -The Consort -on Virtuoso Baroque
The Consort
06 March 2014
The Consort, UK

The recorder has an ancient and honourable history. Bone flutes survive from Neanderthal context, and a wonderfully preserved set of six flutes from Jiahu in China, some 9.000 years old and made from hollowed wing-bones of the red-crowned crane – each with seven holes carefully tuned to a scale remarkably similar to our Western 8-nate scale – might almost be considered the earliest prototype of the recorder consort.
This recording celebrates Michala's twenty-year collaboration with the distinguished archlutenist Lars Hannibal,- a remarkable achievement. The CD begins with Vitali's Chaconne in G minor, originally composed for the violin, and first brought to the attention of the modern world by the virtuoso violinist and friend of Mendelsohn, Ferdinand David. In his hands the piece was transformed into so improbably romantic a work that its authenticity was in doubt until recently, but it appearance in a Dresden manuscript dating from before 1730 confirms the the work is by Tomaso Vitali (or Vitalino): his imaginative divisions and sometimes surprising harmonic adventures provide us with a captivating introduction to Michala Petri´s programme.
It continues in more conventional recorder territory, with the Sonata in D minor taken from the set of 12 published by Telemann in Der Getreuer Musikmeister; with its gentle opening Affetuoso and joyful final gigue, Telemann provides plenty of scope for the archlute to contribute creatively, especially in the sonata's quierter moments.
Bach's enchanting flute sonata BWV 1033, originally written in C major for traverse flute, is here transposed to F major, and works delightfully well on the recorder; Petri makes light of the usual problem with bachs woodwind music, in that being himself a keyboard player he tends to forget thatthe flautist has occasionally to breathe. This sonata comes downto us in six early manuscripts, including one from 1731 in the handwriting of Bach's son, Carl Philipp Emanuel who, some scolars believe, may have collaborated in the composition of this work.
This is followed by the Sonata in G major RV 58 from Il Pastor Fido, which comes with its own problems of authorship. For more than 200 years the music was attributed to Antonio Vivaldi, but Il Pastor Fido turns out to have been a elaborate forgery on the part Nicalos Chédeville (1705-82), who wishes to give the greater credibility which the more famous composer would afford, to his own efforts. He needn't have worried, his accomplished pieces delightfully evoke the arcadian world of the Amusements Champétres so beloved of the early 18th – century French aristocracy, and Petri here enters perfectly into their pastoral spirit with her sopranino and tenor recorders.
La Folia was a favourite melody throughout Italy, Spain and Portugal, attracting thew imagination of composers as early as 1500s, and the creativity of Lully, Vivaldi and Bach, among many other masters, but Arcangelo Corelli made the piece his own, and his set of 24 variations on the theme, op 5 no 12, originally written for violin, was appropriated by players of many other instruments; the present version for recorder was published in London 1702.
Guiseppe Tartini's Sonata in G minor, Trillo del Diavolo ("The Devil's trill") the composers most famous work, was suppressed during his lifetime, and even the story behind its composition an attempt by Tartini to capture the music played to him in a dream by Satan himself – was not published until after the composer's death. Although only a shadow of what he said he had heard, Tartini considered this work "indeed the best that ever I wrote",- and Michala Petri's sopranino recorder version is an astonishing tour de force.
With Handel's Sonata in B flat major HWV 377, we return to the recorder's more familiar terrain; although this manuscript, from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, does not specify instrumentation – and Handel recycled the sonata's three movements in various other directions,- the work lies naturally within the recorder's range, and it has long been embraced by players of the instrument.
This engaging programme explores repertoire far beyond the regions normally inhabited by the baroque recorder, and Michala Petri's fine playing is so sensitively supported by the creative accompaniment of Lars Hannibal that my only regret is that room has not been found on this CD for some solo music for his archlute. Maybe next time? And perhaps, next time a note or two about the players themselves , to go with the excellent information on the music. Margareth Rees, June 2012
The Consort

Michala Petri, recorder
Anthony Newman, harpsichord
Telemann 4 2
Complete Recorder Sonatas
Review in Daily Classical Review on Telemann for Two
Daily Classical Music
06 March 2014
Handel was only sixteen when he first met Telemann. They remained in touch, and Handel later sent him from London a selection of rare plants. Telemann was godfather to Bach's second son and wrote a fine poem after Johann Sebastian's death. Since then Telemann's reputation has wavered. Here he sounds an occasionally plangent note, but for the most part is content to be playful and skittish. The result is delectable listening. The first sonata from 'The Trusty Music master' starts with the sort of fireworks Telemann could let off almost without thinking.
It is a major pleasure, as it were, when Telemann decides to languish into the minor. His F minor sonata in the same set begins 'Triste', and the mood is maintained throughout the third-movement Andante. This gives Michala Petri, who has demonstrated already a formidable technique in dazzling passagework, the chance to show how expressively she can also play.
I can only think back ruefully to my own recorder-playing days, inspired all those years ago by the comparatively modest performances of the Dolmetsch family.
Telemann remains a little mournful in the first of his 'Music Study' sonatas, even when proceeding at speed. I now began to wonder whether the balance between recorder and Anthony Newman's harpsichord was not tilted too much towards the former. A cello to reinforce the bass line would have been appropriate and helpful.
I can but admire, however, the remarkable variety of tone Michala Petri obtains from her instrument, as also the dynamic range. There is not the slightest hint of monotony.
It is joyous to end with the sheer virtuosity of the final Vivace on the CD, in which Telemann throws down the gauntlet of a fearsome technical challenge. The performance is indeed triumphant.
It is worth adding a word of commendation for the admirable liner notes of Joshua Cheek. For once I felt no need to surround myself with a pile of reference books, and basked happily in the midst of much apposite writing. I agree that 'Ehrenpforte' means 'Triumphal Arch', but in context 'Roll of Honour' might just be preferable. I greatly appreciated the title to his piece: 'A Telemann for All Seasons'. I could not ask more. Robert Anderson February 2014
Daily Classical Music

Michala Petri and Elisabet Selin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
Recorder music by Axel Borup-Jørgensen
Great Gapplegate review on Recorder Music by Axel Borup-Jørgensen
Gapplegate
12 February 2014
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review
Modern classical and avant garde concert music of the 20th and 21st centuries forms the primary focus of this blog. It is hoped that through the discussions a picture will emerge of modern music, its heritage, and what it means for us.

Up until now when I thought of recorders, I thought of the baroque and early music periods and the sound one hears in such contexts. It never occurred to me that the high modern arena would utilize the family of instruments and I cannot recall having heard such a thing.
But all that is in the past now that I have immersed myself in Axel Borup-Jorgensen's CD Recorder Music (OUR Recordings 8.226910). We are treated to eight compositions for various-sized recorders--alone, with harpsichord or with percussion. No less than seven of these works are enjoying their world premier recordings on this disk.
The recorder performances are in the hands of Michala Petri and Elisabet Selin, and they are impressive exponents indeed. Ingrid Myrhoj appears on harpsichord for two pieces; Gert Mortensen plays the multiple percussion instrument part on the one work involved. Everyone sounds great but it is the expanded recorder techniques and the clarity, dynamic thrust and elan of their execution that bring it all together.
Alex Borup-Jorgensen (1924-2012) wrote these works between 1975 and 2011. That they were a labor of love seems clear as you listen. The mastering of the recorder parts by Michala Petri and Elisabet Selin were no doubt labors of love as well.
The earlier works feature rapid-fire jumps into and out of various registers; the later works less so. In any case the parts are difficult and superbly played. It's almost uncanny to hear the recorder in an expanded, ultra-modern tonality. Once one gets over the shock the idea that these are fine works that bear repeated hearings sets in. And from that point I was hooked.
This is not just state-of-the-art modern recorder music. It is also a collection of very pleasing high-modern chamber music.
Very much recommended.
Grego Applegate Edwards, February 3th 2014

Gapplegate

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
Fantastic review on The Nightingale and Virtuoso Baroque in Sächische Zeitung!
Sächische Zeitung
03 February 2014
Sächische Zeitung ( Reichweite 710.000)

Grenzlos nah am Geschehen

Für die dänische Flötistin Michala Petri scheint nichts unmöglich. Jetz singt sie wie eine Nachtingall, und die klangtechnik brilliert dazu.

Wenn Michala Petri auftritt, dann lässt sie meist in irgendeiner Weise aufhoren. Da ist keine spur von Gewöhnung und Poutine – und dies, obwohl die Dänin ein Instrument spielt, bei dem mancher gähnend abwinkt: Blockflöte. Die scheinbar endlos wiederkehrenden Muster einer barocken Chaconne von Tomaso Antonio Vitali ermüden sie und auch den Hörer nicht. Viel zu ansteckend ist die Neugier, mit der sie die melodischen Variationen erobert. Seit 20 Jahren musiziert Michala Petri in Duo mit dem Lautenisten Lars Hannibal. Ihre Jubiläums – CD "Virtuoso Baroque" vereint Raritäten mit wohlbekanntem Sonatenwerk- Aber auch Bach, Händel und Telemann klingen hier so unverbraucht und rein, als seien die edlen Schätze gerade erst entdeckt worden.
"Ach Gott, wie ist das schön!", seufzte der Fischer, al ser vom Uferwald her jene Nachtingall singen hörte, die spatter den Kaiser von China zu Tränen rühren sollte. Der ausgefeilte Gesang der Nachtingall muss jeden faszinieren, der ihn hören kann. Keinen Ersatz, wohl aber neuen Anlass, vor Ergriffenheit zu seufzen, bietet Ugis Praulins, der Hans Christian Andersens Märchen aufgegriffen und in packend lautmalerischer Art für Flöte und Choir vertont hat. Der litausche Komponist ehrt darin die Nachtingall des Dänen mit ¨bersinnlichen Charakterzeichnungen und fordert dabei den Interpreten einiges ab. Keinerlei Mühe, vielmehr höchste Genugtung verspürt man bei Michala Petri und dem Danish National Vocal Ensemble unter Stewphen Layton. Sie haben "The Nightingale" und zudem drei weitere Werke erstmal eingespielt: "Nemesis divina" des Schweden Daniel Börtz, "I" vom Dänen Sunleif Rasmussen sowie "2 scenes with Skylark" des D¨nen Peter Bruun. Es sind faszinierende Schlaglichter nordischer Musik der letzen fünf Jahre. Singstemmen und Flöte finden dabei in unterschiedlichsten Klanglandschaften und Ausdruckbereichen organisch zusammen.
Die beiden SACDs bieten nicht nur künstlirischen Hochgenuss. Wann die heimische Wiedergabetechnich auf den Prüfstand dtellen, wenn nicht hier? Vor allem kann man fragen, auf welchem teller sich diese Tönträger zu drehen und welcher Wandler ihre Signale aus der digitalen zurück in die analoge Welt holen sollte, um das Optimum an Klangkvalität herauszuholen. Denn das hier verwendete DXD-Format (=Digital eXtreme Definition) bedeutet unvorstellbar viel Information: die achtfache Zahl an Signalabtastungen sowie 256-mal feiner aufgelöste Messwerte gegenüber der herkömmlichen CD. Zuhören lohnt sich. So nah eie an dem, was Michala Petri, Lars Hannibal und die singenden Dänen gezaubert haben, war Digital Audio nur selten am geschehen. "Virtuoso Baroque", "The Nightingale", Michala Petri, Lars Hannibal, Danish National Vocal Ensemble, Stephen Layton. (OUR Recordings).
Karsten Blüthgen 18.01.2012
Sächische Zeitung

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
Great review of Virtuoso Baroque in Classical Guitar Magazine,- UK
Classical Guitar Magazine
03 February 2014
Classical Guitar Magazine, UK

It's somewhat immodest title, but long before Vitali's action-packed Chaconne has run its 9:54, course it becomes abundantly clear that Petri and Hannibal, whose two decades as a team this recording celebrates, are much to be immodest about. Having, by accident of birth, been raised in a neck of the woods where recorder-centred chamber gatherings featured the indefatigable John Turner are a frequent occurrence. I've been fully aware since preadolescence that there's much more to this instrument than battalions of seven-year-olds squeaking their way through Bobby Shaftoe.
But even so, I could hardly fail to be wowed by the sheer brilliance displayed by Michala Petri in the Vitali and elsewhere. And although Lars Hannibal's role is, by nature of his chosen instrument, that of accompanist, the range of textures emerging from a magnificent Paul Thomson archlute he proudly brandishes on the cover is extraordinary. For every routine series of block chord backdrops, there's a full-on active bass-line of the type Hannibal provides for the much of the central Allegro in The Devil's Trill.
Here and elsewhere, the duo treads a mostly familiar path, the greater part of the material being drawn from flute and fiddle sources. The notable exception is RV 59 which, according to Joshua Cheek's extensive programme notes, forms part of an elaborate hoax perpetrated by Nicolas Chédeville (1705-1782), whose agenda was to borrow the name of a big-hitting composer in order to give greater kudos to a series of sonatas he'd written for his own instrument, which was the musette. Given that the musette had by that time become little more than what Cheek terms "an exotic novelty", few would now blame Chédeville for doing what he allegedly did. And RV 59 is a wonderfully engaging baroque middleweight, whoever wrote it. Are there any musette recordings out there?
But until someone answers the above question, this classy and uplifting release from Petri and Hannibal ticks all the boxes.
Paul Fowles, April 2012
Classical Guitar Magazine

Michala Petri and Elisabet Selin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
Recorder music by Axel Borup-Jørgensen
Enthusiastic review on Recorder Music by Axel Borup-Jørgensen in The Classical Reviewer
The Classical Reviewer
02 February 2014
The Classical Reviewer Sunday, 19 January 2014
Works for recorder, harpsichord and percussion by Axel Borup-Jørgensen on an attractive release from OUR Recordings
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012) www.borup-jorgensen.dk was born in Denmark but grew up in Sweden. He studied piano at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and orchestration with Poul Schierbeck and Jorgen Jersild. He was one of the first Danish composers to attend Darmstadt school, but he has never composed serial music.
Axel Borup-Jørgensen's music is characterized by his Swedish upbringing, and among his works feature Swedish poetry and the Swedish landscape. His large output of compositions includes music for orchestra, chamber music, songs with piano and other instruments. Prominent amongst his works are compositions for percussion and guitar. Axel Borup-Jørgensen was a seminal figure in contemporary Danish musical life and the recipient of a number of the country's most distinguished awards, including the Carl Nielsen Prize and the Wilhelm Hansen Prize. 

He considered himself a self-taught composer; while being thoroughly 'modern' in outlook; his music is organic, expressionist, always embracing the sheer sensual beauty of the musical tone.

A new release from OUR Recordings www.ourrecordings.com presents Borup-Jørgensen's complete works for recorder; a chronicle of a thirty year relationship that began when his daughter, Elisabet Selin became Michala Petri's first and only private student. This recording is unique in that the artists featured, Michala Petri www.michalapetri.com  and Elisabet  Selin (recorders), Ingrid Myrhoj (harpsichord) and Gert Mortensen (percussion) www.gertmortensen.com are those for whom these works were originally composed, their interpretations, therefore being both personal and authoritative.

Drum rolls open Periphrasis, Op.156 (1977, rev. 1993-94) for recorder and percussion behind which the low sound of a recorder hovers. Other percussion adds to the texture before the recorder plays a staccato theme that jumps around, high in the register. As the recorder dances around the percussion, various textures and colours are created. Despite the outwardly fragmented sounds, the recorder maintains an underlying melodic line that is most attractive. Later the music slows in a delicate passage with quiet thoughtful phrases leading to a hushed end. Overall this is a real musical achievement, wonderfully played by for Michala Petri and Gert Mortensen.

Nachtstuck, Op. 118:1 (1987) for tenor recorder opens with what sounds like light drum taps but which are actually recorder sounds made by an unusual technique. The recorder tentatively introduces a theme, quiet and mournful, with little upward phrases and more, odd breathing effects from the recorder that sound like snare drum.  More textures are drawn from the recorder in this challenging example of recorder technique brilliantly realised by Elisabet Selin. Louder phrases appear, darting around before strange dissonant multitones conjure up a nightmarish nocturnal atmosphere as the music slowly find its way to a quiet coda.

Architraves, Op.83 (1977) for sopranino recorder solo brings a joyful motif that dances around. Axel Borup-Jørgensen has a way of creating a kind of lyricism from seemingly abstract, even fragmented ideas. Michala Petri is terrific here, with fine precision in the sharp staccato notes that often seem to imitate bird sounds. A terrific work.

There is a vibrant opening for recorder and harpsichord in Zwiegespräch, Op. 131 (1988-89) for sopranino recorder and harpsichord with Borup-Jørgensen again drawing a lyrical line from fragmented motifs and varied intervals. It is strange how well these instruments sound together, taking our perception of them as baroque instruments and creating a modern language for them. Both have a kind of dialogue, the harpsichord with short, clipped phrases and the recorder more melodic and flowing. There is much fine playing from Elisabet Selin and Ingrid Myrhøj.

Bird song again appears in Birds Concert, Op.91:9 (1995) for descant recorder solo, but it is longer drawn phrases that open the work, before little bird like motifs appear. The longer phrases return but are slowly overtaken by the bird trills in this wonderfully effective piece so well played by Michala Petri, for whom it was written.

Elisabet Selin and Ingrid Myrhøj return for the Fantasia, Op.75 (1975, rev. 1986-88) for sopranino recorder and harpsichord. The sopranino recorder maintains a melodic line over the fragmented chords of the harpsichord and, as the work progresses, the harpsichord develops intricate, ever changing sounds whilst the recorder continues its melodic flow with some wonderfully fluent playing from Selin. Towards the end, the recorder holds an incredibly long note against the harpsichord before weaving its way to the coda.

The mellow sound of the treble recorder comes as a contrast in Pergolato, Op.183 (2011) for treble recorder solo with Michala Petri playing a mellifluous melody. There are no unusual recorder techniques here, the recorder really sings in Petri's hands. Repeated melodic phrases do not outstay their welcome as the music flows to its gentle coda.

Birdsong again seems to immerse itself into Notenbüchlein, Op.82 (1977-79) for descant recorder solo. It is hard not to become immersed oneself in this attractive music where Borup-Jørgensen's playful little bird trills are so lovely. A beautifully written piece, exquisitely played by Elisabet Selin.

This attractive and worthwhile release is an excellent memorial to Axel Borup-Jørgensen and his exploration of the recorder. Well recorded on various dates and at various venues, there are informative booklet notes by the composer and Jens Brincker.

The Classical Reviewer

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Chinese Recorder Concertos listed on January CDHotlist in US
26 January 2014
New

Comments:
 
This is the third installment in the series Dialogue -- East Meets West, which recorder virtuoso Michala Petri inaugurated with her husband on their own record label to facilitate musical exchanges between China and the West. This disc features four recorder concertos by Chinese, Chinese-American, and Taiwanese composers with Petri as soloist. The playing is thrilling; the pieces themselves are all very good, with varying levels of chromaticism and varying blends of European and Asian melodic influences. Petri's recorder is, as always, a joy to hear. (RA)


Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Classicalcdreview.com on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Classicalcdreview.com
26 January 2014
Michala Petri (b. 1958) began playing the recorder when only three years old and went on to become the world's leading performer on the instrument. Her numerous recordings of standard repertory were staples for collectors decades ago and many are still in the catalog. She also has a keen interest in contemporary music and has commissioned many works. This splendid Da Capo issue offers music by four contemporary Chinese composers. These are not miniatures; they are substantial evocative showpieces for soloist and orchestra. Tang Jianping (b. 1955) wrote his three-movement Flying Song for the Chinese dizi (bamboo flute) accompanied by a Pan-Asian ensemble, heard here in a version with western orchestra. China's best-known composer, Bright Sheng (1955), wrote his Flute Moon on a commission from the Houston Symphony which gave the premiere in 1999 with Christopher Eschenbach on the podium. This music was inspired by Chi Lin, the Chinese unicorn also known as the "dragon horse." The two movements (Chi Lin's Dance/Flute Moon) are a virtuoso display for the solo piccolo which is often accompanied by dynamic percussive orchestral outbursts. Ma Sui-long (b. 1939) wrote his best-known composition for the Chinese dizi (bamboo flute), an instrument with a rather piercing sound because of an extra hole covered with a membrane. The music successfully fuses eastern and western music. Chen Yi (b. 1953) was the first woman in China to receive a master's degree in composition. Since then, she has received many awards both for her music and her teaching. The Ancient Chinese Beautyhas three movements inspired by ancient Chinese totems and clay figurines written to showcase Petri's instruments. It was premiered in April 2008 in Beijing to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Denmark and the People's Republic of China. All of these performances were recorded in Copenhagen's Royal Danish Academy of Music in April 2010 and must be considered definitive. Audio quality is outstanding. A terrific release!
Classicalcdreview.com

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Excellent review in US Magazine Fanfare on Cafe Vienna
Fanfare Magazine
23 November 2013
GIULIANI Gran duetto concertante. CARULLI Fantaisie sur un air national anglais. KüFFNER Potpourri sur des airs nationaux français. BEETHOVEN Sonatinas: in c; in C. KRäHMER Introduction, Theme, and Variations. MAYSEDER Potpourri on Themes of Beethoven and Rossini. SCHEINDIENST Variations on an Austrian Folk Tune.


Café Vienna
Audio CD; Hybrid SACD - DSD
Our Recordings
This likeable disc of guitar and recorder duets presents the sort of light classical music that might have been heard in a coffee house in early-19th-century Vienna. Potpourris and variations abound, along with a general air of high-spirited fun alternating with an occasional sentimental melody. Even Beethoven is in an unbuttoned mood in his Sonatina in C (originally for mandolin and recorder, as is its discmate), although the Sonatina in C Minor is not so cheery. Still, it's hardly a heavy or portentous statement. Giuliani's Gran duetto concertante, not unexpectedly, introduces some Italianate warmth, and Carulli converts God Save the King (the Air national anglais of his Fantaisie) into a lyrical, even happy hybrid of English and Italian style. The recital is primarily Petri's show, although Hannibal plays with flair whenever he's given the opportunity; otherwise, he's pretty much restricted to simple accompaniments. Petri, of course, is the reigning diva of recorder music, and it's always a pleasure to hear her display her effortless virtuosity. Overall, this is a charming recital that introduces listeners to some composers whose light has faded over the years, and the Beethoven is far from a repertoire staple. Production values are consistent with the other Our Recordings releases I've seen: informative notes in a well-designed booklet, clear and present recording, and sturdy cardboard packaging that dispenses with the plastic jewel-box format. Robert Schulslaper

This article originally appeared in Issue 33:4 (Mar/Apr 2010) of Fanfare Magazine.
Fanfare Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
10/10 in ClassicToday on Chinese Recorder Concertos
ClassicalToday.com
02 November 2013
CHINESE RECORDER CONCERTOS
TANG JIANPING
Flying Song
BRIGHT SHENG
Flute Moon
MA SHUI-LONG
Bamboo Flute Concerto
CHEN YI
The Ancient Chinese Beauty
Michala Petri (recorder)

Copenhagen Philharmonic

Lan Shui

OUR Recordings- 6.220603(CD)
No Reference Recording



Does anyone need 71 minutes of Chinese recorder concertos? On evidence here, the answer is "yes". This is beautiful music, often astoundingly so. Sure, there's a touch of film music glitter to Tang Jianping's Flying Song, and Ma Shui-long's Bamboo Flute Concerto starts with the somewhat oxymoronic designation "Andante Grandioso", but so what? Both Bright Sheng's and Chen Yi's works effortlessly integrate a more contemporary musical syntax with traditional Chinese idioms, and the music works perfectly--intriguing, beguiling, and full of character. It also goes without saying that Michala Petri has no peer today as a master of her instrument, and she wrings more color and expressive intensity from the recorder than you ever believed possible. Toss in fine accompaniments and outstanding engineering, and the result is an absolute joy from start to finish.


--David Hurwitz




ClassicalToday.com

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
5 Star review in Danish Magazine Klassisk on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Klassisk Magazine
02 November 2013
PIBLENDE PERLENDE FRA RIGET I MIDTEN
5 star in Danish Magazine Klassisk

Sjældent er så meget energi, virtuositet og vildskab blevet samlet på ét sted som på denne CD, hvor blokfløjtenisten Michala Petri med de lynhurtige hænder fortolker tonerne fra fire vidt forskellige kinesiske komponister.
Østens fremmedartede musikalske strukturer kommer stærkt til udtryk i all fire værker. Det vestligt prægede klangbillede i form af Sjællands Symfoniorkester danner spændende kontrast til de orientalske klange.
Tang Jianpings Fei Ge (Flyvende Sang) er iørefaldende fin og farverig med sin bløde, svævende klange. Man fornemmer et jazzet præg i den bløde andensats. Tit synger blokfløjten solo i kadenceagtige, helt frit og luftige passager. Orkestrets chefdirigent Lan Shui er skarp og præcis og skaber et rytmisk, fremadrettet drive gennem værkets piblende passager. Han holder orkestret tilbage og giver plads til fløjtens sprøde klange.
Mystisk og mørkt åbner Bright Shengs tosatsede værk Flute Moon for strygere, harpe, klaver, slagtøj og et arsenal af forskellige blokfløjter. Værkets indledende toccata står distinkt med sine karakteristiske rytmiske motiver. Åbningssatsen Chi Lin's Dance beskriver det mytologiske væsen enhjørningen, som er et sagnomspundet væsen i kinesisk kultur.
Michala Petri former værket med smittende solistisk autoritet og driver energisk orkestret frem med fløjtens eksotiske klang-og rytmemotiver. Undervejs skifter hun behændigt mellem blokfløjter i mange størrelser og skaber varierede klanguniverser.
Ma Shui-longs Bambusfløjtekoncert klinger filmisk med storladen orkestrering, og den lyse, dansende blokfløjte imiterer med lyrisk lethed orkestrets motiver. Igen får Lan Shui det levende og sprudlende frem i orkestret. Chen Yi's The Ancient Chinese Beauty afspejler forskellige elementer fra den antikke kinesiske kultur. Satserne har hun symbolsk kaldt Lerfigurerne, De gamle totemmer, og Det dansende blæk. Fløjten er igen fri i de stille, atonale passager, mens orkestret leverer et sparsomt, transparent og rytmisk akkompagnement. Det enkle lydbillede kulminerer i en ilter dans til sidst. Musikalsk er denne koncert dog pladens mindst interessante. Det er mere figurer og fragmenter end egentlig musik.
Skiven åbner en spændende og eksotisk sprække ind til den mangfoldighed og farvestrålende kinesiske musikkultur, vi kun kender en flig af i Vesten. Michala Petri er overbevisende som frontfigur hele vejen- en spillevende, lysende ledestjerne. Christine Christiansen, Januar 2011

Klassisk Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Norwegian Music Magazine Klassik on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Klassik Magazine, Norway
01 November 2013
Norwegian Music Magazine Klassisk
by Martin Andersson, Nov/Dec 2010

The Our Recordings CD of four recorder concertos by Chinese composers is more of a halfway house. The concerto Flying Song (2002) by Tang Jianping (född 1955) is bright and energetic, martial and dance-like as required, but with moments of introspection. I see from Joshua Cheek's highly informative (necessarily so!) booklet notes that Tang writes film music as well as in almost every other genre; this concerto suggests his film scores must be extremely effective. Bright Sheng's Flute Moon (1999) is in two movements: a
driving toccata representing a huge 'dragon horse' in Chinese mythology and the second an angular and vigorous elaboration of a melody from c. 1200. The
good-natured and attractive Bamboo Flute Concerto (1984) by Ma Shui-Long (född 1939) has become something of a classic: written for dizi, or soprano
bamboo flute, it accommodates Chinese melodic material within the framework of a western concerto – and there's a 'western' flavour in another sense,
since there's more than a hint of Hollywood in Ma's scoring; the grandiose peroration of the slow movement is wonderful. The Ancient Chinese Beauty
(2008) by Chen Yi (född 1953) is a step or two on from Bartók, with astringent, mildly dissonant folk-based harmonies and insistent, almost minimalist rhythms. Here, too, the idea is almost more interesting than the
music: all four pieces are relatively lightweight in terms of their musical content – it will need a real heavyweight of a composer to come along and
crunch west and east together in an individual language before this kind of cross-fertilisation sounds natural. Michala Petri's performances are nonetheless breath-taking (literally, I suppose), and she gets fine supports from her Danish compatriots under Lan Shui.



Klassik Magazine, Norway

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Classical.net on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Classical.net
26 October 2013
Classical.net
The style of music in this selection with which most non-aficionados of Chinese music will be most familiar is to be found on Chinese Recorder Concertos (OUR Recordings 6.220603), where Michala Petri plays recorder in four modern concerti with The Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lan Shui. Fei Ge ("Flying Song") by Tang Jianping, who was born in 1955 contains much beautiful and atmospheric music with many Western orchestral techniques, though has the aura at times of film music. The best known of these composer is Bright Sheng (b.1955), who has lived in the United States since 1982 and is a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan. His Flute Moon is in two movements and driven by dance rhythms and Stravinsky an insistence on forward movement.
More conventionally Chinese-sounding are the two works, the "Bamboo Flute Concerto" by the oldest of the composers represented here, Ma Shui-long (born in 1939) and "The Ancient Chinese Beauty" by Chen Yi (the only woman composer, born in 1953 and a classmate of Bright Sheng at the Beijing Central Conservatory in the late 1970s after the end of the Cultural Revolution). In all cases the playing of Petri is impeccable, though she is not recorded so closely as to afford us a clear hearing of all the nuances written for the recorder. That's a pity. The orchestration, skillful though it is, swamps the recorder, especially in the louder passages. At times – in the work by Tang Jianping, in particular – there is little except some vaguely modal writing and an emphasis on the more plangent tones of which the solo instrument is capable to suggest a thoroughly Chinese métier. But this should not be seen as a drawback: the composers' aims were specifically to blend Eastern and Western traditions, using melodies and musical theories from China with techniques of orchestration and instrumentation from the West. To that end this CD can be taken very much at face value and not necessarily as an entrée into to Chinese music. This CD does consciously represent a push to make the traditions of the older musical culture available and enjoyable to Western audiences. The recorder's gentle and expressive qualities and sound approach so closely the natural breath rhythms of human beings (listen to the slower passages in Flute Moon [tr.5], for example). So it's well-placed to convey the essence of this world. And all the more so when in Petri's hands. Mark Sealey.

Classical.net

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Gramophone review on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Gramophone Magazine
20 September 2013
Gramophone January 2011, Ken Smith.

Eastern works for flutes transcribe admirably for Western recorder.
The title is a bit of a stretch, since only Chen Yi's The Ancient Chinese Beauty (2008) was actually composed for recorder (in this case for Michala Petri herself) Bright Sheng's Flute Moon (1999) was originally written for Western flute, while Ma Shui-Long's Bamboo Flute Concerto (1984) and Tang Jianping's Fei Ge (2002) were composed respectively for the hampi and dizi, two different styles of Chinese transverse flutes. That said, the recorder is probably the only instrument with both the Western tuning and woody timbre to bridge the gab, and Petri proves to be a brilliant cultural negotiator in her own right.
Tang, the head of the composition department at China's Central Conservatory, offers a rousing opener, ostensibly inspired by Miao singing styles but often sounding more like a cross between Copland's prairie music and Elmer Bernstein's film scores. Sheng's Flute Moon marks a clear departure from his earlier works, the unrelenting aggression of H'un ("Lacerations") now giving way to unapologetic lyricism. Chen, unsurprisingly, reaches a wholly different level, with a range of emotional states and contrasting playing techniques that fits Petri's instrument and personal playing style with bespoken elegance.
The composers from People's Republic stand in stark contrast to Taiwan-born Ma, who was an established composer when his younger colleagues were picking rice in the Cultural Revolution. His Bamboo Flute Concerto (1984) may not have Chen's emotional breadth or Sheng's orchestrational brilliance but its pioneering fusion of Chinese sonority and Western form radiates with a thrill of discovery that practically percolates off the page.
Gramophone Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Great new review on Chinese Recorder Concertos in Canadian Music Magazine " The Whole Note"!
The Whole Note
14 September 2013
Chinese Recorder Concertos

Michala Petri; Copenhagen Philharmonic; Lan Shui

OUR Recordings 6.220603

This remarkable CD presents the premiere recordings of four concertos by living Chinese composers, two of whom currently work in the USA. The disc opens with Tian Jianping's Fei Ge (Flying Song), originally written in 2002 as a concerto for dizi (Chinese bamboo flute) and pan-Asian instrumental ensemble. This transcription by the composer for western orchestra and recorder, on which Petri eloquently evokes the dizi in tone and effect, works beautifully with playing of the highest order from both orchestra and soloist.

Bright Sheng's evocative and strikingly beautiful Flute Moon is more a full orchestral work than a concerto, and Petri plays solo parts originally assigned to the flute and piccolo. The piece revels in a rich array of orchestral colours, dazzling musical gestures, and dramatic shifts of mood. The three-movement Bang Di Concerto by Ma Shui-long is the composer's best known composition, and is an extraordinarily effective fusion between Chinese and western musical languages. It receives an utterly virtuosic performance from all involved. Written for Petri by Chen Yi, The Ancient Chinese Beauty draws inspiration from Chinese figures, script, and flutes. The second movement, particularly in its evocation of the ancient xun or large Chinese ocarina, is particularly impressive.

For several decades now Michala Petri has been one of the busiest and most familiar recorder players to audiences around the globe, and with programs such as this she continues to do great things beyond the recorder's more typical boundaries. She seems eminently at home here, making her own distinct music in a fascinating project designed "to creatively collaborate in an international musical dialogue."

Kudos to her, to the wonderful Copenhagen Philharmonic and conductor Lan Shui – and to the composers of these wonderful pieces.

Concert Note: Chen Yi is the featured composer at this year's New Music Festival at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto with events January 23 through 29. Chen's Yangko is also included in Soundstreams Canada's January 25 concert "Tan Dun's Ghost Opera" at Koerner Hall.

The Whole Note

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
US Magazine Fanfare on English Recorder Concertos
Fanfare Magazine
24 June 2013
Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, September 2012

What a lovely disc this is! This is a collection of three English recorder concertos by Malcolm Arnold, Gordon Jacob, and Richard Harvey…Petri is asked to play several different recorders throughout, from tenor to sopranino. The recorders are accompanied by a delicate orchestra, consisting of strings, flutes, clarinets, harp, celesta, and percussion. As the movement titles suggest, this is elfin, magical music.I have to confess it: I've loved every Michala Petri CD that has come my way, and it is too late to turn back now. She offers proof—if proof were needed—that the recorder transcends its schoolhouse associations by producing sounds that are both uncommonly plangent and sweet. Her many fans might be reluctant to duplicate the Arnold and Jacob works, but Harvey's concerto is a most enjoyable discovery, and so there's really nothing to do but to go out and purchase this CD as well! © 2012 Fanfare
Fanfare Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great Audiophile Audition review on The Nightingale
Audiophile Audition
21 February 2013
An essential disc of world premieres that stuns the senses and absolutely delights the ear.

I hate jumping on bandwagons and like to think that for the most part I can come to decisions myself without the influence of the international press, but in this case I have to follow them with no little eagerness. This new album by the ever-inventive Michala Petri and the spectacular Danish National Vocal Ensemble that collects four commissioned world premieres is nothing short of astonishing, having garnered—so far—a Deutsche Phono-Akademie 2012 ECHO Klassik Award, plus a Gramophone nomination, less notable to be sure, but still important.

One would wonder at the wisdom of assembling a choral group with only a recorder as the solo instrument, but the cleverness with which each of these composers integrates the instrument into the textures of their music, each with a specific design in mind, is most impressive. As on any disc there will be favorites, and in my mind all four works are not equal in importance or the impression they make. Latvian composer Ugis Praulins has created the best work on the disc, taking eight sections from Hans Christian Andersen's The Nightingale to make a 30-minute piece of great theatricality and ecstatic utterance, notwithstanding what also amounts to a full-fledged recorder concerto as well. Praulins has a wide and eclectic background that refuses to be pigeonholed, so I won't try here; suffice it to say that this piece grabs you immediately while also giving the choir an intense workout in choral virtuosity and range, the recorder commenting perfectly along the way.

Daniel Börtz, whom many readers may recognize, treats us to a much darker world of choral sound, not surprising since his earlier years were heavily influenced by the sonorities of the Polish avant-garde. Here he takes two texts from the botanist and physician Carl Linnaeus, "The Dietetics of Respiration" and "Nemesis divina", a meditation on theodicy written for his son. The piece revels in the brokenness of the word settings, using the text as a springboard for intensely manifested passages that almost over-emote their innate meaning. One does not come away with an impression of the words as a meaning in total, but of individual moments focusing on one word or a group of words.

Faroe Islands native Sunleif Rasmussen presents us with the most "difficult" work on this disc (though none of them are terribly esoteric) by taking the text of Danish modernist poet Inger Christensen's response to Wallace Stevens's Thirteen Ways at looking at a Blackbird, focusing on intimacy and the freedom of the individual. Though the piece is structured, it is done in such a manner that the number organization used to represent several of the phrases mean little to the listener, who instead is drawn into the variety of independent voices and disparate, dissonant melodies. A work like this, though loaded with fascinating sounds and colors, uses the text as inspiration instead of trying to illuminate the meaning.

The final work by eclectic Danish composer Peter Braun uses two poems by Gerard Manly Hopkins, whose many "bird" poems serve as metaphors for the human condition and their souls, enabling a poetic excursion into his very personal contemplation of the world and the divine. Both pieces are wonderfully reflective of Hopkin's world, using a modified consonance inundated with arpeggios and appoggiaturas and pentatonic melody to create waves of fragmented songlike melody.

The surround sound on this disc is resonant and spectacular, with the voices soaring over your head. Despite some of the more challenging moments on this disc, it would be a crime to not acquire it. Excellent notes, complete with full texts round out the project.

Published on August 25, 2012—Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great review in MusicWeb International on The Nightingale
Music Web International
01 January 2013
These are all world premiere recordings and feature the combination of Michala Petri's flute, the Danish National Vocal Ensemble directed by Stephen Layton, and some enjoyable new music from Swedish composer Daniel Börtz, Latvian Ugis Praulins, the Dane Peter Bruun and Faroese composer Sunleif Rasmussen.

Praulins' 2010 The Nightingale takes a text after Hans Christian Andersen (in English) broken down into nine sections, or eight tableaux and a reprise to be strictly accurate. It's better known as The Emperor and the Nightingale. This is directly communicative, aurally piquant music, so different from the sterile, audience-denying academism still sometimes to be found. Startling glissandi and rich contrast animate the music, so too antique-sounding airs, and succinct evocation and romance.Proulin's utilises Petri's technical adroitness at fast tonguing, and there are plenty of opportunities for bird imitation, whether real or mechanical – in the latter case adding mechanical, rhythmic, jagged qualities too. He takes the recorder up high, infiltrates troubadour warmth and has constructed a rich, warm, avid setting, clearly responding to Andersen's texts with imagination and flair.

Nemesis divina was written by Börtz in 2006. The text is by Carl von Linné, better known as Linnaeus (1707-1778), the botanist and physician. Petri employs, as instructed, multiple recorders from tenor to sopranino, and this vests the music with plenty of colour. Fortunately Börtz is a subtle colourist and his richly voiced choral writing works well. The recorder lines perhaps evoke Messaien but there is a strong and questioning independence in the writing, and a sense of things remaining incomplete in the final lines of the text.

An equally well structured work is Rasmussen's "I". The recorder's often incessant commentary adds to the density of the solo and choral writing, leading to a visionary and raptly beautiful recorder meditation as the work draws to a close. Finally Bruun's Two scenes with Skylark takes two poems by Hopkins — as with all the other texts, they are set in English, a tribute to the linguistic superiority of the vocal ensemble. In The Sea and the Skylark the lark ascends against the crash of the sea, a vehemence conveyed with precise calibration; so, too, the rather dour interpretation of the stark last lines of the poem. Bruun vests The Caged Skylark with a stuttering rhythm, and this proves effective.

Each of these composers has his own strong voice and his own way of reconciling the recorder, or recorders, with choral and/or solo voices in these settings. There is variety here, an exploration of a precise sound-world, a sensitive exploration of text and sonority, and a — never simplistic — wish to communicate with fellow performers and with listeners.
Jonathan Woolf, March 2012



Music Web International

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Enthusiastic review in German Magazine Klassik Heute on The Nightingale
Klassik Heute Magazine
10 October 2012
Wertung: 10 / 10 / 10

Kennen Sie das? Sie hören nicht einmal zwanzig Sekunden einer neuen CD und sind schon vollends gebannt vom überwältigenden Klang und einer Musik, die mit Macht den Hörer in ihr eigenes Universum entführt –  Liebe auf's erste Hören sozusagen!
Ich finde kaum Worte, die geeignet wären, den Zauber zu beschreiben, der von dieser brillanten und poetischen, so noch nie gehörten Musik für Chor und Blockflöte ausgeht, die von vier skandinavischen Komponisten für Michala Petri komponiert wurde. Glückliche Komponisten! Idealere Interpreten als Petri und das ebenso phänomenale Danish National Vocal Ensemble unter Stephen Layton kann man sich nicht vorstellen. Sie meistern ihre teils aberwitzig virtuosen Partien mit einer Professionalität und einem hörbar emotionalen Engagement, das seinesgleichen sucht.
Michala Petri und Lars Hannibal von OUR Recordings haben offenbar ein untrügliches Gespür für Qualität und Originalität. Davon zeugen nicht allein die vielen, von der internationalen Kritik hoch gelobten Aufnahmen und innovativen Programme des noch relativ jungen Labels, auch die vier nordischen Komponisten dieser CD hat man mit Bedacht gewählt. Jedes Werk steht für eine eigenständige Künstlerpersönlichkeit, einen individuellen Stil.
Das mit fast einer halben Stunde Spieldauer längste Werk eröffnet das Programm: The Nightingale (nach Hans Christian Andersen) des lettischen Komponisten Ugis Praulins. Das 2010 für Petri geschriebene Stück beginnt in mystischer Atmosphäre, um sich nach und nach zu strahlendem Glanz emporzuschwingen. Meisterhaft verbindet Praulins in seinen konzertanten Tableaus Einflüsse aus Folk, Pop, Mittelalter und Renaissance mit klassischer Moderne und Anklängen an die große Chor- und Volksliedtradition seiner Heimat zu einem musikalischen Amalgam, das mit seiner hochoriginellen Klangsprache und zauberhaften Blockflötensoli sofort für sich einnimmt.
Daniel Börtz, einer der angesehensten schwedischen Komponisten der Gegenwart, hatte 2002 bereits ein Blockflötenkonzert für Michala Petri komponiert („Pipes and Bells", zu hören auf der Grammy-nominierten CD Movements – OUR Recordings), als er sich nur wenige Jahre später anlässlich der Dreihundertjahrfeier des Geburtstages des großen schwedischen Naturforschers Carl von Linné erneut mit der Blockflöte beschäftigte: Herb, kühn und dramatisch, auf ganz eigene Art expressiv, gibt sich seine Nemesis divina (nach Texten von Linnés) – kraftvolle, reife Musik. Sunleif Rasmussen, der erste „akademisch" ausgebildete Komponist von den im Staatenverbund mit Dänemark weitgehend autonomen Färöer-Inseln im Nord-Atlantik, überzeugt in One mit einer intimen, eher kammermusikalischen Faktur. In der Riege skandinavischer Komponisten darf natürlich Dänemark nicht fehlen, hier vertreten durch den 1968 geborenen Peter Bruun, der für Petri Two Scenes with Skylark auf Texte des victorianischen Dichters und Priesters Gerard Manley Hopkins verfasste, deren Chortextur traditionelle und sonoristische Elemente mischt.
Zum Standard bei OUR Recordings gehört neben der selbstverständlich audiophilen Aufnahmequalität die liebevolle Ausstattung des Beihefts mit kompletten Gesangstexten, Fotos und biographischen Abrissen der Komponisten und Künstler sowie ausgezeichneten, hilfreichen Werkeinführungen. 
Eine der stimmigsten, zutiefst berührenden und gleichzeitig neuartigsten Blockflöten-Aufnahmen der letzten Jahre!

Heinz Braun
(14.03.2012)

Klassik Heute Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
Great Infodad review on English Recorder Concertos
Infodad
17 September 2012
The recorder was once the frequent province of virtuosi, but as the transverse flute supplanted it, it fell into comparative obscurity – from which it never quite emerged except in period-practice performances of older works.  However, it never went entirely out of style, either, and is now undergoing something of a revival: Concerto Incantato by Richard Harvey (born 1953) was written as recently as 2009.  This piece, which receives its world première recording in a thoroughly convincing performance by Michala Petri, for whom it was written, is a five-movement work with spiritual and magical overtones in the movements' titles: Sortilegio, Natura Morta, Danza Spiriti, Canzone Sacra and Incantesimi.  Petri makes the music flow naturally and entertainingly from start to finish, bringing considerable charm to a work that combines modern sensibilities with the old-fashioned orientation of a Telemann suite.  Sir Malcolm Arnold'sConcerto for Recorder and Orchestra (1988), also written for Petri, is a more-serious piece and sounds more substantial, even though it is much shorter than Harvey's work (12 minutes vs. 29).  Arnold clearly saw the recorder as continuing to deserve the same solo prominence in the 20th century that it had in the 18th.  Gordon Jacob, however, saw matters differently: his Suite for Recorder and Strings (1957) takes full advantage of the instrument's lightness and its ability to create a fleet-footed impression, as if its music is about to take wing.  The seven-movement suite, which recalls Telemann even more directly than does Harvey's work, actually contains more slow-paced movements (four) than quick ones (three).  But far from trying to delve deeply into emotional realms, even in the Lament (Adagio),Jacob keeps everything comparatively light and at times even bubbly, as in the Burlesca alla Rumba and concluding Tarantella.  Petri is an absolutely wonderful advocate for the recorder, with the three pieces here showing off her considerable skill and their composers' very different talents as well.

Infodad, Canada  May 2012


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