Great review in UK Recorder Magazine on "Going to Pieces-Without falling Apart"!
Recorder Magazine
10 April 2015
Review in UK Recorder Magazine
Palle Mikkelborg is a Danish jazz trumpeter and composer who has collaborated with such luminaries as Miles Davies, Ravi Shankar and Don Cherry. This disc features "Going To Pieces Without falling Apart" and "Afterthoughts", the former being a concerto for harp and recorder and strings (with michala Petri's contribution as soloist earning the disc a note in this illustrious publication) and the latter. A work for solo trumpet.
Mikkleborg's music is very deeply rooted in his own spiritual life. Says he, " I see my musical career as a symphony in many movements: each movement capturing impressions of fascinating meetings with musicians from many cultural spheres, knowing that we are all painting with different colours on our palettes" That painterly attitude to life provides an insight the compositional process behind his concerto, which takes the form of twelve short movements. The Dawn Chorus – Morning Raga – Sunrise – The African Girl – A Summer Nightfall – Chanting Monks – Gentle Summer Rain – A Spiritual carousel – A Golden Mystery – The Chines Girl – Lullabies While the Adults Are Talking – Shadow Waltz.
NO movement is more than six minutes long, and each is primarily concerned with the crystallizing of a sound-world rather than the generating of a long-range emotional or tonal structure. Mikkelborg is, if you like, an imagine maker, and this isen't to damn his work with faint praise; his emotional pictures are obviously very deeply felt. Perhaps his music might effectively be described as film music, with the film left to the listeners imagination. At any rate, his performers respond beautifully, Helen Davies' harp and Michala Petri's recorder intertwining and entering fully into what are undeniably some pretty supremely crafted sound-worlds; Mikkelborg owes a lot to his very fine engineer, too.
Petri's sound is instantly recognizable, of course, and its fullness is entirely appropriate her, this double concerto is a fitting vehicle for her. Cat Groom,- January 2014
Recorder Magazine

.Great reveiw on "Going to Pieces-Without Falling Apart" in US Magazine Fanfare
Fanfare Magazine
04 March 2015

If you are looking for a recording to relax you after a hard day at work, this one, entitled Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, is it. The title comes from a book by Mark Epstein, MD. A psychiatrist and a practicing Buddhist, Epstein combines tenets of psychology with Buddhist teachings. When Palle Mikkelborg was asked to compose a work for two soloists and string orchestra, he found his inspiration in the title of Epstein's book, which he saw in the window of a bookstore. He opens with "The Dawn Chorus, a Morning Raga," and "Sunrise," which bring to mind the soft sky tones of the beginning of a warm, sunny day. It could be the start of a beautiful daydream. While the recorder plays piquant textures, the harp joins the orchestra in providing the tonal underpinnings for this picture of the waking world. Mikkelborg likes repetition and he uses it as a symphonic tool much as Philip Glass does. We might meet his "African Girl" wearing native dress while walking softly across the savannah. We could remain on that continent for "Nightfall" and the stealthy arrival of its many animals. The echoing of Petri's recorder makes it seem to be a distant call heard while the orchestra plays the pianissimo approach of darkness. The orchestra comes in full voice as we leave Africa to join a group of "Monks Chanting" on another continent, Asia. The "Gentle Summer Rain" begins as single drops that become more frequent as the piece goes on. The pace and the dynamics increase and the orchestra has one of its infrequent chances to play fortissimo. The "Spiritual Carousel" begins with a dissonant sound that wakes the overly complacent spirit. It continues as harp and orchestra maintain the melody of a waltz. The recorder plays a cleansing obbligato over them as the tempo increases and imaginary dancers whirl across the floor. Mikkelborg tells us that the bright eyes of the demure "Chinese Girl" show her hope for a bright future. She takes small, discreet steps as her body reflects the bright lights of a Hong Kong side street. What do babies think of adult conversation? We are their only security, but since they do not communicate with language, we may not always understand them. Perhaps the music of "Lullabies While the Adults are Talking" offers more comfort than words can. "Shadow Waltz," the 12th and final section of the original Concerto, presents a gentle dance that features the low tones of the recorder, as the harp plays glissandos and the orchestra provides a cushion of strings to end this wonderfully atmospheric work. In Afterthoughts the composer finally lets us hear his famous trumpet play a solo. The orchestra enters with low blended tones punctuated by the raindrops we heard earlier. The ensemble comes to life with huge sounds that dissolve into rain. The trumpet plays snatches of melody and the orchestra responds in kind as they play together for the finale. On this disc, Michala Petri plays the recorder with her usual virtuosity and Helen Davies proves to be a splendid harpist. Conductor Henrik Vagn Christensen often keeps the orchestral sound down, but when he lets loose, the result is magnificent. I really enjoyed this recording and suggest it to anyone who likes to daydream. The sound on this SACD is pristine with each of the solo instruments well in front of the orchestra. Maria Nockin  (Mar/Apr 2014) of Fanfare Magazine.

Fanfare Magazine

Great Review in Music Web International on "Going to Pieces-Without falling Apart"!
Music Web International
30 September 2014
Music Web International:

Palle MIKKELBORG (b.1941)
Going to Pieces • Without Falling Apart - Concerto for harp, recorder and string orchestra (2004 rev 2012) [55:10]
Afterthoughts (2012) ¹
Helen Davies (harp): Michala Petri (recorder)
South Jutland Symphony Orchestra/Henrik Vagn Christensen
Palle Mikkelborg (trumpet); orchestrations by Thomas Li ¹
rec. December 2012, Alsion Concert Hall, Sønderborg, Denmark; Afterthoughts recorded and mixed by Thomas Li in January 2013 in MyRoomStudio, Østerbro
OUR RECORDINGS 6.220607 [55:10]
Palle Mikkelborg was winning awards as long ago as 1968, when he took the Danish Jazz Musician of the Year prize. He remains a trumpeter of great thoughtfulness, lyricism and inimitable tone. The concerto Going to Pieces • Without Falling Apart - the title derives from a book by Mark Epstein, and I've faithfully copied the disc's punctuation - was composed back in 2004 for harp, violin and string orchestra but was revised for harp and recorder in 2012, and it's in the revised version that we hear this 12-movement concerto.
 
Much like his trumpet playing, which helped inaugurate a new sound in Scandinavian brass playing, the music is suffused in vaporous beauty. Lightly but precisely orchestrated, each of the movements bears an evocative title and whilst these need not be taken wholly literally they are useful indices of the composer's imaginatively compressed ideas and feelings; some are bardic, some lovely and dancingly patterned, crisply alive, with thrumming harp and piping alert recorder. Others, still, enshrine deft colour and interplay, delicacy or sonorously warmly textured romantic breadth. Some of the music, too, is slightly filmic, other sections waltz-like animated by the refined orchestral and soloistic palette which veers against any kind of bombast. And yet section 8, A spiritual carousel, bursts forth into a dashing tango. There's one moment in movement 11 where overdubbed voices play their part in the brisk narrative. It's appropriate that the concerto - it's a novel kind of concerto - should end with a waltz since the music often looks to the condition of dance whilst co-opting reverie and nostalgia as co-conspirators.
 
You will need to be attuned to Mikkelborg's sound-world to appreciate this piece. Those unsympathetic to it might think it pallid or too inclined to a certain amorphous quality. But if you like it - and it's obvious from the foregoing that I did, and do - you will surely admire its deft detailing, its beautiful solo writing, and the many moments offered for contrast of mood and rhythm. For all that it remains unsplintered, a reverie that summons up time and place - some African, some Chinese, some Irish - without becoming frustratingly modish or unfocused. In all respects the two well-known soloists acquit themselves with distinction, evoking textures and moods with ceaseless refinement.
 
To cap this there is a piece called Afterthoughts in which Mikkelborg distils the essence of his concerto into a trumpet-and-orchestral fabric, orchestrated by Thomas Li. Fundamentally lyrical, it's a pleasure - beyond even hearing the thematic connections - to hear again that fabled trumpet tone. Outstanding sonics and production values ensure a winning disc.
 
Jonathan Woolf  November 2013

Evocative of textures and moods with ceaseless refinement … fundamentally lyrical … a pleasure … a winning disc 

Music Web International

English translation of the fantastic review in German Magazine Klassik Heute, a 10/10/10
Klassik Heute Magazine
15 June 2013
After several years of preparation, a dream has finally come true for Michala Petri and OUR Recordings: a joint recording project with the Danish jazz legend Palle Mikkelborg . The list of names that Mikkelborg has played with and composed for reads like a Who's who of Jazz: Gil Evans, Miles Davis, Peter Herbolzheimer, Terje Rypdal and Jan Garbarek, just to name a few. As a trumpeter, bandleader, arranger and composer, Mikkelborg's talent is beyond question. Going to pieces without falling apart was inspired by the title of a book by New York psychiatrist Mark Epstein, that Mikkelborg had seen by accident in a shop window . Based on a work created in 2004 for violin, harp and strings Mikkelborg adapted the violin part for this recording for Michala Petri. The twelve parts of the composition bear evocative titles - perhaps as a remembrance of his many encounters with musicians from various cultures. Mikkelborg's own special description for the feeling that these trans-cultural encounters produce in him is "overtones" - that indescribable bond that connect people around the world regardless of their religious or cultural background . Despite the pictorial movement titles, he wants his work to be understood as absolute music.

And in fact, a short time after I put in the CD and set the booklet aside, I let myself be carried away by the sounds and the magic of this music. Going to pieces without falling apart is not a double concerto in the traditional sense - in some sections only one of the two solo instruments clearly dominates while in others, the musical development is mainly taken up by the strings. Rather, there are moods, which combine different musical influences into a fascinating and poetic whole. For me, the most beautiful moments were in the seventh movement, Gentle Summer Rain, an atmospheric interlude with the liquid glissandi of the solo harp, the atmospheric Spiritual Carousel with its menacing sound layers and Lullabies in which the recorder and harp alternate with haunting murmurs and whispers in the strings.

Mikkelborg's music defies categorization – and that is just what makes it so special. His music communicates. This particularly applies to the second work on the CD, Afterthoughts in which Mikkelborg also leaves his personal signature as a musician. This "afterthought" sraws on motifs and moods from Going to pieces... (such as the aforementioned harp glissandi or the dramatic clusters) and organically reassembles them, as if his electric trumpet were a natural part of the same. Beautiful music for meditation, dreams and hope – performed clearly, directly and honestly. Music of our time, in the best sense of the word.

Michala Petri's crystalline tone, Helen Davies expressive-sonorous harp and not least Mikkelborg's characteristic, mystic trumpet sound elevate this recording into a special listening experience. Henrik Vagn Christensen leads the superbly arranged orchestra from Sønderborg with great sensitivity to the score, and it explores the lyrical moods as effectively as in the more dramatic moments.
Music for long winter evenings and warm summer nights; music you want to hear again and again because it is deeply human.
Heinz Braun 30.10.13
Wertung: 10 / 10 / 10




Klassik Heute Magazine

Great review on Going to Pieces without Falling Apart in UK Music Magazine IRR
IRR Magazine
17 September 2012
International Record Review IRR (UK) Contemporary music of CD by Roger Thomas
Certain things happen in new music that no one could make up, such as the fact that the intersection of a Venn diagram featuring Danish jazz trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg and British author Anthony Burges would contain a recorder. The former's Going to Pieces Without falling Apart is described as a concerto and while strictly speaking its construction in 13 very short discrete fragtments belies this, it's quite extraordinarily effective. Mikkelborg is of the spacious, near-ambient trumpet school which includes Jon Hassell and Nils Petter Molvaer, so a work involving a string orchestra, harp (played by Helen Davies, whose lively yet precise articulation carries much of the piece) and, indeed, recorder (Michala Petri, this being her label) is well suited to his ethereal sonic territory. (October 2013)
IRR Magazine

Great review in Gramophone on "Going to Pieces - Without falling Apart"!
Gramophone Magazine
17 January 2011
Concertos from a founder of the "Nordic jazz sound".
No one could accuse Palle Mikkelborg of doing things by halves and, while the trumpeter admits to this being his largest-scale project for some time, the temporal dimension speak for itself. The title, taken from that of a book by Mark Epstein, indicates the work's scope: a 45-minute concerto (for harp and violin in 2004 but with the latter part revised for recorder eight years later) comprising 12 continuous movements, each with its own descriptive title and (in the booklet) an additional sentence which sets the scene, yet such hardly necessary given this music's quiet though not insubstantial eloquence as it wends its course through memories and evocations of a past which may never have existed – but should have done. Helen Davies contributes some limpid passagework, often with an unobtrusive Celtic element, while Michala Petri is at her most fluidly imaginative as the recorder interweaves with harp and strings in a constant flow of dexterous polyphony.
The principal work is followed by "Afterthoughts", Mikkelborg's recasting of the former's salient ideas (in collaboration with Thomas Li) for trumpet and strings that allows ample rein to his brand of understated virtuosity. The South Jutland Symphony strings are unfailingly sensitive in their response, while the sonic warmth and stylish presentation maintain the high standards set by OUR Recordings imprint. This is not the music that confronts the big issues of life head on but its leisurely unfolding conjures a quiet profundity that is its own justification – soothing and stimulating in equal measure.
Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone October 2013,

Gramophone Magazine

Very fine Danish review in Jazznyt on "Going to Pieces-Without falling Apart"
Jazznyt Magazine
10 January 2011
I jazzens verdenshistorie er han bedst kendt som komponisten bag Aura. Musik der var skrevet til Miles Davis og senere blev indspillet med Miles Davis i front. Palle Mikkelborg er også kendt som en gudsbenådet trompetist. Her må jeg blankt erkende at jeg ikke bare nyder, at lytte til Palle Mikkelborg. Jeg er fan! Helt døv er jeg dog ikke og mener, at det ikke er alt hans læber har rørt der er blevet til guld - men tæt på!. Så da jeg hørte at der var en ny plade på vej med Palle Mikkelborg, kontaktede jeg pladeselskabet bag udgivelsen, da det ikke er et selskab jeg normalt har kontakt med.




Coveret prydes af et billede med Mikkelborg i det man nærmest kan kalde for signaturpositionen. De andre medvirkende er også nævnt. Fruen og harpenisten Helen Davies, blokfløjtevirtuosen Michala Petri og Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester (South Jutland Symphony Orchestra) under ledelse af dirigenten Henrik Vagn Christensen. CD'en placeres i afspilleren og ud af højttalerne strømmer symfonisk musik. jeg beroliger mig selv med, at det nok bare er indledningen inden Palle kommer på. Men Palle kommer ikke på!? Det er i stedet en plade med musik af Palle Mikkelborg og ikke med. I bedste klassiske tradition er komponisten nævnt med de største bogstaver og som var det Bach eller Mozart.




Men hvad er det så for noget musik der strømmer ud af højttalerne? Blokfløjten og harpen er indlysende nok i centrum. Oprindeligt var musikken skrevet for harpe og violin. Violindelen er så ændret til Michala Petri's blokfløjte. Palle Mikkelborg er på ingen måde en novice ud i symfonisk musik. I 1975 lavede han den symfoniske og fortællende Dexter Gordon-hyldest More than you know. Her næsten fyrre år senere, er han stadig en fortæller. Gennem musikken beretter han om livet. Morgen, sol, sommernatten, sommerregn, mysterier, en afrikansk pige, en kinesisk pige og en vuggevise mens de voksne taler. Det er opløftende og berigende. Storladent og nærværende. Palle Mikkelborg er en ener i dansk musik. Med dette album har han sat et markant aftryk som klassisk komponist. Da jeg hørte nummeret Chanting Monks kom jeg til at tænke på Mikkelborgs Stenalderjazz fra Gasolin' pladen Efter endnu en dag. Indledningerne er meget lig hinanden.




Pladens sidste nummer hedder Afterthoughts og er med trompetisten Palle Mikkelborg i centrum. I samarbejde med Thomas Li har han skabt nogle improvisationer over Going to pieces... En værdig og meget Mikkelborgsk finale, hvor min indre Mikkelborg-fan er fuldt ud tilfredsstillet!
Jazznyt Magazine

The Classical Reviewer on "Going to Pieces-Without falling Apart"
The Classical Reviewer
03 January 2011
http://theclassicalreviewer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/excellent-performances-from-michala.html

Excellent performances from Michala Petri (recorder) and Helen Davies (harp) with the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra under Henrik Vagn Christensen in attractive work that fuses classical, world and jazz in a new release from OUR Recordings
The Danish jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger and record producer Palle Mikkelborg (b.1941) www.mikkelborg.dk  started playing professionally in 1960, and has since been a dominant figure on the Danish and international progressive jazz scene.
He has more than a hundred published credits and has collaborated with such artists as Gil Evans, Terje Rypdal, Miles Davis, Jan Garbarek, Gary Peacock, Shankar and Done Cherry. In 2001 he was awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize.

In 2004 Mikkelborg was asked to write a major work for two soloists and string orchestra which resulted in the work on a new release on the OUR Recordings label www.ourrecordings.com , Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart. The inspiration and title, Mikkelborg tells us, came from the title of a book by Mark Epstein Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart. This phrase summarised Mikkelborg's own attempts, in this work, to embark on a spiritual journey touching on his meeting with musicians from many cultural spheres.

Originally written for harp, violin and string orchestra, the violin part was revised for recorder in 2012 for Michala Petri www.michalapetri.com  who performs on this disc together with Helen Davies (harp) www.helendavies.dk  and the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra www.sdjsymfoni.dk  under Henrik Vagn Christensen, as well as the composer playing trumpet.

Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart is in twelve sections or movements played without a break.
The Dawn Chorus opens this work with a slightly distanced ethereal sound of a solo recorder before the strings and harp arrive. This is a wonderful opening, very still and atmospheric and beautifully played by Michala Petri. Strings and harp create some wonderful sounds before the dawn arrives with the return of the recorder and the feel of awakening activity.

A calm melody for recorder and hovering strings introduces Morning Raga. The harp eventually enters to continue the calm melody. Sunrise appears with the recorder and shimmering strings before the recorder introduces a lively tune with harp accompaniment. Strings enter again to fill out the tune, which has something of a South American feel or certainly ethnic feel. The music calms as the recorder joins in a quieter melody with a repeated string motif behind it.

A playful little theme for recorder and harp leads into The African Girl. Strings join quietly as the recorder and harp die away but the recorder and harp return with little surges from the strings. At times the strings create an atmosphere of open spaces, before the music builds to a climax, then quietening for A Summer Nightfall where the harp plays gently to a string accompaniment. The recorder interrupts several times with a lovely tune, again slightly distanced. This is a terrific moment, very atmospheric, with ethereal strings, so hushed – fully evoking a summer night in a warm climate.

Chanting Monks opens with heavier strings slowly ruminating over a theme. The melancholy sounding recorder enters, followed by the harp before the strings build the melody with harp and recorder contributing lovely arabesques and flourishes. The music quietens and the solo harp plays, before the strings join, as does the recorder in a meditative section. Gentle Summer Rain has a descending motif before strange sounds appear, created by plucked strings giving an attractive sound of rain drops in quite an original way.

A bold recorder theme is soon taken up by the harp in A Spiritual Carousel, before the strings enter, imitating a version of the rising and falling motif as the music increases in dynamics and tempo in a kind of moto perpetuo. The music eventually leads to a playful theme shared between the recorder and solo violin with strings accompaniment. There is a violent surge from the strings before slowly quietening with the recorder and harp joining in a strange theme, conjuring up an ancient atmosphere with the feeling of ethnic pipes imitated by recorder. The moto perpetuo suddenly leaps in before the music quietens. 

The strange sounds of A Golden Mystery has the recorder providing ghostly sounds before being joined by the harp and strings in a more serene moment to which the recorder responds in a lovely movement. Both Michala Petri and Helen Davies give some terrific playing.

Strange harmonies in the strings open quietly in The Chinese Girl before a melody slowly emerges. The recorder suddenly enters with a flourish before the harp and strings continue this subtly oriental melody with further interruptions from the recorder. There is a lovely recorder part beautifully played by Petri. A solo section for harp with fine playing from Davies leads to Lullabies While the Adults are Talking. Murmuring voices are slowly joined by the solo recorder. The recorder and voices eventually give way to a string melody with the recorder occasionally joining in. Soon the murmuring voices return with the solo harp joining them and picking out a melody with some lovely flourishes. It is as though a child is dropping in and out of sleep. Helen Davies provides some particularly fine harp playing here. Eventually the strings, harp and recorder join together in drooping phrases leading to the final movement.

Shadow Waltz opens with the recorder taking up a theme to quietly swirling strings and harp accompaniment creating a kind of dreamlike waltz, ending quietly on a low harp note and recorder phrase.

Palle Mikkelborg states that he wished to include the sound of his trumpet in this journey using some of the themes and orchestrations. This resulted in Afterthoughts which opens with fragmented trumpet phrases entering against string sounds. Jazz like in their sound, it creates a strange yet compelling combination. The music fades before string chords heave slowly from the depths. The trumpet sounds a few fragmented notes whilst the strings appear almost imperceptibly providing strange sounds. The solo trumpet builds a lively melody before the strings alone make strange sounds again created by plucked strings. The trumpet again joins in jazz like short phrases whilst the strings create some ethereal sounds with drooping phrases and discords. The languid sound of the trumpet appears before giving an upwards flourish, leaving the strings alone to fade out.

Mikkelborg has created a real fusion of classical, world and jazz, not merely some kind of cross over. If musical boundaries are really to be broken then surely this attractive music shows at least one way to do it.

Performances from the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra under Henrik Vagn Christensen are excellent and there is superb playing from Michala Petri and Helen Davies and the composer himself playing the trumpet. These artists draw so much colour and atmosphere from this unusual music. The recording is excellent and there are informative booklet notes including a short essay from the composer.


The Classical Reviewer