5 stars - Michala Petri crosses her baroque trail
Henrik Friis, Politiken, Denmark
05 November 2019
Politiken Newspaper DK
5 stars
Michala Petri krydser sit barokspor
Sidste skud på stammen for den produktive fløjtenist er en krystalklar fortolkning af Bach-sonater, som holdes simpel og sanselig og i en imponerende lydkvalitet.
Der er gået næsten 30 år, siden Michala Petri indspillede Bachs fløjtesonater med jazzpianisten Keith Jarrett. Denne gang er duoen udvidet til en trio med en gambe – en slags forløber for celloen – der lægger silkebløde strøg mellem blokfløjtens luftige melodier og cembaloets knitrende motor.
Umiddelbart lyder det ikke, som om Petris idé om barokmusik har udviklet sig meget siden tiden med Keith Jarrett: Alt lægges klart ud i et kæmpemæssigt luftigt rum, hvor det lykkes smukt for de tre musikere at få musikken til at flyde fokuseret og minutiøst med detaljer og balance. Når man kommer tættere på, er der masser af forskel.
Den iranskfødte cembalist Mahan Esfahani er en af Petris faste partnere, og han er en meget sjovere cembalist end Jarrett. Hans lyd er tindrende klar, samtidig med at han ikke er bange for at smide begge hænder i tangenterne, når musikken skal kulminere. Og så er gamben en virkelig god idé. Specielt, når den tyske specialist Hille Perl får lov til at træde helt frem i lydbilledet og for eksempel knipse en rundgang som bund i en langsom, smertelig sats.
Værdigt jubilæumsalbum
Bachs 6 sonater varer alle 10-15 minutter fordelt på 3-4 korte satser, men de er temmelig forskellige. Nogle høvler med vold og magt derudad i et voldsomt opskruet tempo, mens andre har klimaks i en helt langsom sats, hvor de tre musikere sætter tiden i stå og lader musikken udtrykke sig søgende og spinkel. Det sidste bliver totalt overvældende sidst på albummet i sonaterne med de sexede titler BWV 1034 og 1035. De tre musikere holder det simpelt og sanseligt med et skønt nærvær.
Det er album nummer 40, siden Petri og Lars Hannibal dannede OUR Recordings. Og det er helt bestemt et værdigt jubilæums album i en imponerende høj lydkvalitet, der viser, at Petris lange karriere stadig har masser af fylde. Henrik Friis, 05.11.2019
English Google Translation:
5 stars
Michala Petri crosses her baroque trail
Last shot on the trunk of the prolific flute player is a crystal clear interpretation of Bach sonatas, which is kept simple and sensual and in an impressive sound quality.
It's been almost 30 years since Michala Petri recorded Bach's flute sonatas with jazz pianist Keith Jarrett. This time, the duo has expanded into a trio with a gamba - a kind of precursor to the cello - that adds silky strokes between the recorder's airy tunes and the harpsichord's crackling engine.
 
Immediately, it doesn't sound like Petri's idea of ​​Baroque music has evolved a lot since the time with Keith Jarrett: Everything is laid out clearly in a huge airy space where it is beautiful for the three musicians to make the music flow focused and meticulous in detail and balance. As you get closer, there is a lot of difference.
 
Iranian-born harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani is one of Petri's regular partners, and he is a much more fun harpsichordist than Jarrett. His sound is sparklingly clear, while not afraid to throw both hands into the keys when the music is to culminate. And then the gamba is a really good idea. Especially when the German specialist Hille Perl is allowed to step forward in the soundscape and, for example, pluck a vamp as the ground at a slow, painful movement.
Worthy anniversary album
Bach's 6 sonatas last all 10-15 minutes in 3-4 short movements, but they are all rather different. Some played with violence and power out there at a violently accelerated tempo, while others have a climax in a very slow movement, where the three musicians put the time to a stop and let the music express itself searching and tenuous. The last thing is totally overwhelming at the end of the album in the sonata with the sexy titles BWV 1034 and 1035. The three musicians keep it simple and sensual with a beautiful presence.
 
It's album number 40, since Petri and Lars Hannibal formed OUR Recordings. And it is definitely a worthy anniversary album in an impressively high sound quality that shows that Petri's long career still has plenty of fullness. 
Henrik Friis, Politiken, Denmark

The three musicians know exactly what a balanced dialogue is and how to have a lively conversation with each other and with the listener
Guy Engels, Pizzicato LU
01 November 2019
Bachs sechs Flötensonaten waren vom Komponisten nicht als Zyklus angelegt. Ob sämtliche Sonaten überhaupt von Bach sind, ist eine bis heute nicht restlos geklärte Frage. Ein anderes Thema ist die Wahl des Instruments. Bach kannte viele Traversspieler, inklusive den preußischen Kronprinzen Friedrich, und hat die Sonaten BWV 1030-1036 wohl für die Traversflöte geschrieben.
Bei Michala Petri sind die Kompositionen auf der Blockflöte allerdings auch in besten Händen. Nicht zu Unrecht wirft ihr Partner am Cembalo, Mahan Esfahani, im Begleitheft die Frage auf, ob es letztendlich nicht eher auf die musikalische Kommunikation ankomme, denn auf die buchstabengetreue Besetzung.
Mahan Esfahani stellt nicht nur die Frage, er und seine Partnerinnen Michala Petri und Hille Perl geben auch die treffende Antwort.
Michala Petri spielt die sechs Sonaten mit erfrischendem Esprit, mit brillanter Rhetorik. Hier ist kein Hauch von Akademismus und gelehrter Formensprache zu spüren. Obwohl die Blockflöte die Wortführerin ist, wirkt sie nie vorlaut und dominant. Hier spielen drei Musiker, die genau wissen und vor allem spüren, was ein ausgewogener Dialog ist und wie man untereinander und mit dem Zuhörer eine spritzige Konversation führen kann. Rezension von Guy Engels 01/11/2019

Bach’s six flute sonatas were not designed by the composer as a cycle. Whether all the sonatas are by Bach at all is a question that has not yet been completely clarified. Another topic is the choice of instrument. Bach knew many transverse flute players, including the Prussian crown prince Friedrich, and he probably wrote the sonatas BWV 1030-1036 for the transverse flute.
However, with Michala Petri and her recorder, the compositions are also in the best of hands. In the booklet her harpsichord partner Mahan Esfahani raises not without good reason the question whether musical communication is ultimately more important than the choice of the instrument. He as well as his partners Michala Petri and Hille Perl also give the right and unquestionable answer.
Michala Petri plays the six sonatas with refreshing esprit and brilliant rhetoric. There is no hint of academicism and learned formal language to be felt here. Although the recorder is the spokesperson, her playing never seems cheeky and dominant. The three musicians know exactly what a balanced dialogue is and how to have a lively conversation with each other and with the listener.
Guy Engels, Pizzicato LU

Musically rich, vibrant performances here from three top performers
Colin Clarke, Fanfare US
18 October 2019
Musically rich, vibrant performances here from three top performers. Michala Petri needs no introduction, surely (neither does her 1992 album of these Bach Sonatas with Keith Jarrett), while Mahan Esfahani has been redefining our ideas around the harpsichord for some time (I was present at his recording sessions for modern works for harpsichord due for release on Hyperion; he is something of a force of nature). Together with German gambist Hille Perl, they present a set of Bach Sonatas that combined beauty, intellect and historical awareness to provide a sublime musical experience. This is OUR Recordings’ 40th release, and the performances seem to speak of life and vivacity that implies there are many more to come.
The Sonatas BWV 1030-32 are marked as with “concertato [obbilgato] harpsichord” and so play to Esfahani’s strengths. His contribution is vibrant (listen to the opening of BWV 1031), and is in perfect congruence with Petri’s rhythmic lift and Perl’s nimble delivery. Esfahani plays on a new instrument built for him in Prague between 2017 and 2018 by Jukka Ollikka, inspired by the Michael Mietke instrument signed “Berlin 1710”. It features a carbon composite soundboard that increases both volume and tuning stability. Petri picks her instruments carefully and intelligently: two different Moeck Rottenburgh in Grenadill (the first tenor recorders she bought as a young student) for the fast and more light running movements plus two different alto recorders. The use of the mellow tenor recorder for BWV 1031-33 works beautifully: the intricate interactions between recorder and harpsichord in the Vivace of BWV 1032 (played in G-Major as against he original key of A) are truly revelatory. Grace informs that Sonata’s central Largo e dolce.
The use of a drone effect in the first movement of the C-Major, BWV 1033 is remarkable, as is the scampering riposte, with its exquisitely shaped phrases from Petri.  The darkening of the light into the G-Minor Sonata (originally in E-Minor) is reflected in the extraordinary third movement Andante, here truly exploratory. Only fitting, the, that the Allegro finale might as well be marked “con fuoco”; the virtuosity of all players is remarkable, and here more than anywhere else the presence the recording affords Hille Perl pays off.
The floridly melismatic first movement of BWV 1035 (here played in F-Major, originally in E) carries a beautiful sense of inevitability, while the woody, almost throaty recorder in the Siciliano is an arresting sound. Who said sicilianos were all rest and cotton wool? He characteristic rhythm is here, but so is disquiet. How haunting, too, is the very conclusion, where lines meet, the nexus prolonged beyond expectation. The rigor of the finale seems entirely in keeping with the severity of the Siciliano.
Perhaps the recording is a touch reverberant (Garnisons Kirke, Copenagen), but that should not detract from the importance of these performances. Colin Clarke OCTOBER 2019 Four stars:  Musically rich, vibrant performances here from three top performers
 
Colin Clarke, Fanfare US

If another recorder player surpasses what Petri has done here, I will be surprised.
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare USA
16 October 2019
This is Petri’s second time recording these works. The first time, in 1991, reviewed two years later by Kevin Bazzana, was for RCA Victor, and paired Petri with harpsichordist Keith Jarrett, in one of his occasional stints as a classical musician. Bazzana liked it a lot; I have that disc as well, and it’s certainly a top choice, if you have no objection to hearing works composed for the traverso played on a recorder. Last time, Petri had to transpose four of the sonatas (BWV 1031, 1032, 1034, and 1035) in order to play them on either a descant or alto recorder. This time, BWV 1031 has been left in its original key, presumably because she has acquired additional instruments in the interim; several tenor and alto recorders are listed in OUR’s booklet. She still transposes BWV 1032, 1034, and 1045, however.
                      Another change is the addition of a viola da gamba in all six of the sonatas. This is not discussed in the booklet note, but it is not unprecedented. Several recordings in which the sonatas are played on a flute add a cello or a viola da gamba, and to good effect, as it helps to fill out the lower end of the tonal spectrum. Given Perl’s popularity among early and Baroque music enthusiasts, including her in this project makes sense on multiple levels.
                      Bazzana noted Petri’s and Jarrett’s preference for “very quick tempos.” That remains the case here, although there has been a slight moderation since 1991. In timings, there is only one large deviation, and that is in the Andante of BWV 1034. That is not because of tempo, however, but because  Perl is given a chance, at the start, to pluck out the movement's melodic outline—a lovely, still moment in a program characterized by many lovely moments.
                      Petri remains a masterful player. I didn't expect otherwise, and she does not disappoint. This disc is a lesson in what the recorder is capable of, when it is played by a musician who possesses the ultimate in technique and discernment. I also like what Perl brings to this disc. She and Petri are on the same wavelength. Esfahani is no Jarrett, however. Next to the powerful personalities of Petri and Perl, he sounds pale and lacking imagination. I think the sound of his harpsichord is partly to blame; a new instrument by Jukka Ollikka, based on a German model by Michael Mietke, it is thin and tinkly. Jarrett's instrument, a 1982 Carl Fudge modeled on Taskin, has more depth. Perl fills in some of what Esfahani lacks, but it would have been better, of course, if both of them had been equal partners with Petri. For what it's worth, I will note that I liked Petri's and Esfahani's collaboration (sans Perl) on a disc of Corelli sonatas reviewed in 2015. Esfahani played a different instrument there. As I have written several times, my reaction to harpsichord recordings depends at least as much on the instrument as it does on the instrumentalist.
                      Reservations aside, this disc is a very good argument for performing these works on a recorder instead of a flute. If another recorder player surpasses what Petri has done here, I will be surprised. That said, this SACD does not clearly supplant her earlier release with Jarrett, which stimulates me just a little bit more.
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare USA

Five stars: Ensemble playing of the finest quality.
Dave Saemann, Fanfare
14 October 2019
                      Playing Bach’s flute sonatas on the recorder is a most satisfying idea. It’s just the sort of change in instruments that the ever practical Bach would agree to. And who wouldn’t want to hear Michala Petri play Bach? This in fact is her second recording of these works. The earlier version featured the great jazz pianist Keith Jarrett on harpsichord. What Jarrett does on that recording is fascinating. As a composer himself, he hears things in the continuo part that most harpsichordists would gloss over. Petri is very good on the previous album. There are places, particularly in BWV 1030 and 1031, where she doesn’t seem entirely comfortable with Jarrett’s pacing. In BWV 1032 and 1033, Petri plays the soprano recorder. There’s no doubt that her mastery of it is tremendous, but I prefer the tenor recorder on the new CD in these works. Even if you possess Petri’s recording with Jarrett, I believe you’ll want to hear this new CD. Petri’s conception has matured, and she truly is the dominant force on this album. The continuo players here blend excellently with her. Having a viola da gambist in addition to a harpsichordist gives the continuo richness and inspiration. Gambist Hille Perl is a serenely beautiful player, and her tone complements Petri on alto and tenor recorders superbly. Perl and Mahan Esfahani on harpsichord mesh their sounds elegantly and with great heart. Here is formidable Bach playing that wears its laurels lightly.
                      Three of the sonatas have been transposed into new keys to accommodate the recorder. They sound just fine. In the three sonatas played on tenor recorder, Petri uses one type of recorder in slow movements for its expressivity and tone color, while using different tenor recorders for the fast and, as she says, “light running” movements. Mahan Esfahani’s harpsichord is copied after a 1710 model, but with a carbon fiber composite soundboard for more stable tuning and increased volume. The opening Andante of BWV 1030 is the longest movement on the disc. Its scope is truly symphonic, as the textures from wind, string, and keyboard instruments present an orchestral range of sound. Perl’s pizzicato playing here is delectable, presenting a creamy plucked tone that offers Petri an elegant background. The Siciliano of BWV 1031 may remind you a little of “Sheep May Safely Graze.” Esfahani’s playing here is especially elegant, providing a noble context for Petri’s warm rendition. The Allegro of BWV 1032 shows the performers really cooking, sending the listener’s heartbeat racing while espousing the lightest touch. In the two minuets of BWV 1033, the players choose stately tempos that recall the French Baroque. For me, BWV 1034 is the highlight of the album. In its opening movement, Perl and Petri have what’s virtually a duet accompanied by Esfahani, stressing the autumnal nature of the two ladies’ instruments. The third movement begins with a ravishing plucked solo by Perl, changing to bowed notes discreetly accompanied by Esfahani, leading to Petri’s warm yet plaintive playing alongside Perl’s heartrending sounds. BWV 1035’s Siciliano features affecting duets for Petri and Perl, displaying a kind of empathy for each other that almost is sisterly.
                      The stereo sound engineering is beautifully blended and slightly recessed, presenting a gorgeous chamber music atmosphere. I was unable to listen to the surround sound program. My favorite performance of these works on the modern flute is by Laurel Zucker. Michala Petri’s artistic maturation is strongly on display here. This is Bach you will return to over and over. Highly recommended. Dave Saemann, October 2019
 
Five stars: Ensemble playing of the finest quality.
Dave Saemann, Fanfare

Bach - 6 Sonatas for recorder
11 October 2019

Fornemt Bach-spil
John Christiansen, JC Klassisk
06 October 2019
Fornemt Bach-spil
Johann Sebastian Bach: Seks fløjtesonater, BWV 1030-1035. OUR Recordings 8.220673. 74 minutter.
Så til en cd, som ikke behøver mange linjer for ar skulle blive en ”sællert”. Den evigt inspirerende mester på blokfløjte, eller recorder, Michala Petri har endnu engang slået sig sammen med den fantastiske Mahan Esfahani ved cembaloet i Johann Sebastian Bachs seks fløjtesonater, Bach Werk Verzeichnis 1030 til 1035. Hvor der også skal være en ægte barok-stryger som viola da gambaen, der ideelt gengiver den menneskelige stemme, som skrevet står, træder Hille Perl fint ind. Fuldendt Bach-spil i seks pragtfulde værker udgivet med omhu på Lars Hannibals og Michala Petris eget pladeselskab.
Google Translation:
Great Bach Playing
Johann Sebastian Bach: Six Flute Sonata, BWV 1030-1035. OUR Recordings 8.220673. 74 minutes.
So for a CD that does not need many lines for scars should become a "seller". The ever-inspiring master of recorder Michala Petri has once again joined forces with the amazing Mahan Esfahani at the harpsichord in Johann Sebastian Bach's six flute sonatas, Bach Werk Verzeichnis 1030 to 1035 which also include the baroque string instrument viola da gamba, which ideally reproduces the human voice as written, Hille Perl enters nicely.Perfect Bach play in six wonderful works, published with care on Lars Hannibal's and Michala Petri's own record label.
John Christiansen, JC Klassisk

Five stars – Bach as it should be played.
David Reznick, Fanfare
24 September 2019

This release is a treat for the eye even before you play it and a treat for the ear (and the heart) while you’re listening. The harpsichord player, Mahan Esfahani, wrote the introductory essay; he sounds as if he’s recently been in a fight with someone who thinks that Bach’s music should be played only by the instruments he had in mind, and whose view should be changed. But he can uncurl the lip and dim the glare in his eyes: There’s hardly anybody on the other side of the argument. Bach belongs to the world, and the world can do whatever it wants. I mean, if he survived what Stokowski did to him in Fantasia, he can survive anything. The beef presented here stems from someone who apparently complained that these works were written for the flute and therefore should not be played on the recorder (as they are in this performance). Aw, come on.

There are other things to point out here. For example, I know not whether the three musicians on this CD knew each other, or have been playing together for years, or just happened to walk into the room at the same time. The fact is that these three people were fated to play Bach together. This is clearly the reason they’re all on this planet. They have that magic something-or-other that allows three people to make music with one voice. And it’s really thrilling to hear. The lead instrument is the recorder (sometimes alto, sometimes tenor). Michala Petri plays the recorder with such virtuosity, such command, such beauty of tone that I’ve never heard on records. I’m not making a study of it, but I’d wager that no one else could play these sonatas any better. Her colleagues on the harpsichord and viola da gamba are doing exactly what they should be doing, and with great distinction. They have also recorded extensively on their own, with excellent results, so this release is no surprise.

This is the sort of performance that humanizes Bach. You may not be familiar with these flute sonatas. They’re not musical monuments, the kind that Bach produced so easily. But if you want to acquire more Bach chamber music, this should be your next purchase. Rest assured you have bought the best. 
David Reznick, Fanfare