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Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Fantastic review on The Nightingale in Daily Classical Music
Daily Classical Music
07 March 2012
At various intervals this bewitching CD brings to mind compositions by twentieth century composers from England, Germany and Hungary; viz -- William Walton (1902-1983), Mike Oldfield (born 1953), Carl Orff (1895-1982) and György Ligeti (1923-2006).
Much of the music evokes desolate, glaciated, taiga-tundra landscapes -- Karelia, northern Minnesota.. Equally it (unintentionally?) suggests limitless interstellar voids, as in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
Avian life (nightingale, blackbirds and skylark) is visited in sparse, isolated, aerial settings yet joyfully injected via Petri's pure, filigree sopranino and treble imput.
First published (Copenhagen, 1843) in New Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Andersen's yarn is believed to have been inspired by the author's unrequited love for diva Jenny Lind (1820-1887), the 'Swedish nightingale'. 'The Nightingale' has been adapted for opera, ballet, musical play, TV drama and animated cinema.
The first few seconds took me back to 1968 and episodes from Stanley Kubrick's mind-expanding deep-space conundrum 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Listen -- Ugis Praulins: Introduction (The Nightingale)
(track 1, 0:00-1:00) © 2011 OUR Recordings:
However 'The Nightingale' settles down and though much within its length (tracks 1-9) is austere, The Danish National Vocal Ensemble (DNVE) perform with the unanimity and beauty of a precise, finely tuned instrument.
Track 2, 'Nightingale Theme' is part sung, part spoken, and tracks 3 and 4 illustrate the vocal agility/versatility of the Danish (DNVE) singers. Listen for Petri's extraordinary, immaculate solos on tracks 5 and 7, and Praulin's mastery of consistent and instantly accessible vocal writing.
Listen -- Ugis Praulins: The Artificial Bird (The Nightingale)
(track 7, 2:41-4:00) © 2011 OUR Recordings:
His setting of The Nightingale (Danish: 'Nattergalen') by Andersen (1805-1875) tells the fable of an emperor who prefers the tinkling of a bejeweled robotic bird to the song of a real nightingale. As the Emperor lies dying the nightingale's song restores his health.
The 'Reprise' (track 9) takes us back to an unsullied yet otherworldly conclusion.
Ligeti works in the Kubrick (1928-1999) movie are (a) Atmosphères, (b) Lux Aeterna, Requiem and Kyrie, and the electronically altered version of (c): Aventures (for 2001's abstruse final scenes).
Somewhere in the 58+ minute Petri/Layton Norse/Faroes experience I believe I caught a ghostly vibration of Tubular Bells (1973), a debut record album of Mike Oldfield, and the first album released by Virgin Records.
Nemesis divina by Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) reveals a little-known side of the great natural historian. A classic of Swedish literature it influenced Stockholm-born playwright, novelist, poet and essayist August Strindberg (1849-1912) and his contemporaries.
A guide to divinity, the book explores the occult operation of a Theologia experimentalis, a 'pragmatic theology', for men and women, Linnaeus' friends and acquaintances.
In retrospect an award-winning poet, scholar and commentator has revised Linnaeus' fascinating and eloquent work in a broad literary and philosophical context, linking it to disparate studies; viz New England Transcendentalism, the subculture of Norwegian Black Metal, ancient Icelandic sagas and contemporary Swedish poetry.
Consequently Nemesis divina is a source of lasting intrigue for scholars in the arts and humanities.
Listen -- Daniel Börtz: Nemesis divina (text: Carl von Linné)
(track 10, 9:23-10:47) © 2011 OUR Recordings:
With Börtz's Linnaeus setting we find passing likenesses to Belshazzar's Feast by William Walton (1902-1983), first performed at the Leeds Festival on 8 October 1931 and echoes of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) utilizing music of György Ligeti (1923-2006). Petri's solos are distantly subsumed into the work as a whole.
Rasmussen's I is the setting of a text by Inger Christensen (1935-2009), a Danish poet, novelist, essayist and editor considered her country's foremost poetic experimentalist. (See the Newsletter from Gehrmans Musikförlag & Fennica Gehrman, Autumn 2006).
In this bleak, contemplative, inward-looking lyric Christensen responds to the austere Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (1917) by American poet and lawyer Wallace Steven (1879-1955).
I is prefaced with the words 'A man and a woman are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird are one'.
Listen -- Sunleif Rasmussen: I
(track 11, 1:08-2:36) © 2011 OUR Recordings:
During the late 1970s Sunleif became aware of 'spectralism', a composition practice where decisions are often informed by the analysis of sound spectra. To some degree it is computer-based using tools like DFT, FFT and spectrograms. The approach focuses on manipulating the features identified through this analysis, interconnecting them, and transforming them.
The approach originated in France in the early 1970s. Its singularly dedicated proponent Tristan Murail (born 1947, Le Havre) describes spectral music as an aesthetic rather than a style, not so much a set of techniques as an attitude -- that 'music is ultimately sound evolving in time'.
Hints can be found at the turn of the nineteenth century; consider traces in Hermann von Helmholtz's On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music. In 1907 Busoni published Entwurf einer neuen Ästhetik der Tonkunst (later translated as 'Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music') with references to microtonal music. Similarities occur in Henry Cowell's New Musical Resources (1930), establishing a relation between acoustics, perception and composition.
Educated at Balliol College, Oxford, Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89), poet, Roman Catholic convert, Jesuit priest and professor of Classics, is represented in settings by Peter Bruun, ie The Sea and the Skylark and The Caged Skylark (1918).
Listen -- Peter Bruun: The Sea and the Skylark (Two scenes with Skylark)
(track 12, 3:38-4:46) © 2011 OUR Recordings:
Manley Hopkins achieved posthumous twentieth-century fame establishing him among the leading, traditional Victorian poets. His experiments in prosody (Notably sprung rhythm) and a kaleidoscopic use of imagery distinguished him as a daring innovator in an era of largely regular verse.
OUR Records has captured this winning release with striking fidelity, and recorders with the vocal ensemble are a rarity, realized here with consummate artistry. This is pure magic seemingly bathed in the glow of an aurora borealis. Unmatched recorder; deliquescent choruses. Don't miss it.
Copyright © 14 February 2012 Howard Smith,


Daily Classical Music

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great review in German magazine Klassisk.com on The Nightingale
Klassisk.com
21 February 2012
Christian Vitalis, 23.01.2012

Werke von Praulins, Börtz, Rasmussen u.a.: Die Nachtigall
Label: Our Recordings

Interpretation: 4 stars
Klangqualität: 5 stars
Repertoirewert: 4 stars
Booklet: 4 stars       
   
   
   



Die dänische Blockflötistin Michala Petri ist nicht nur eine technisch versierte Interpretin, sondern – und das unterscheidet sie von so manchem Virtuosen – stets neugierig und bereit, unbekannte Wege zu beschreiten und Neues zu entdecken. Bisweilen wirkt sie überhaupt erst anregend. Davon gibt die aktuelle Platte, die wieder beim Label OUR Recordings als klangtechnisch perfekt gestaltete SACD erschienen ist, beredtes Zeugnis ab, denn gäbe es Michala Petri nicht, gäbe es nicht nur diese Aufnahme nicht, sondern wohl auch nicht die eingespielten Werke. ‚Normal' ist hier nichts; allein die Besetzung kündet von Außergewöhnlichem: Blockflöte und Vokalensemble. Dass viele Blasinstrumente, insbesondere aber die Blockflöte, der menschlichen Stimme nahe stehen, ist bekannt. Unproblematisch ist die Kombination jedoch nicht, und meist wird das Instrument zum bloßen Beiwerk degradiert. Von diesen Schwierigkeiten zeugen auch die vier zeitgenössischen Kompositionen, die es hier zu entdecken gilt.
Vom Einzelwerk zum Projekt
Den Ausgangspunkt für das ganze Projekt bildet Daniel Börtz (geb. 1939) mit 'Nemesis divina', das 2006 komponiert und ein Jahr später mit Michala Petri uraufgeführt wurde. Der schwedische Komponist hat in seinem Werk Teile aus dem gleichnamigen Text des Naturforschers Carl von Linné vertont, der um theologische Fragen kreist. Die ungewöhnliche Besetzung regte nun zu weiteren Kompositionen verschiedenen Zuschnitts an. Der Lette Ugis Praulins (geb. 1957) hat 2010 eine neunteilige Vertonung von Hans Christian Andersens Märchen von der Nachtigall, das bereits Igor Strawinsky in Musik gebracht hat, vorgelegt. Von Sunleif Rasmussen (geb. 1961), einem Komponisten von den Fär-Inseln, stammt das 2011 komponierte 'I' auf schwierige, philosophisch durchdrungene Verse von Inger Christensen, deren Zahlenspiele Ausgangspunkt des kompositorischen Materials wurden. Es erleichtert das Verständnis nicht, dass die Verse Christensens selbst ein Reflex auf ‚Eine Amsel dreizehnmal gesehen' von Wallace Stevens darstellen. Ebenfalls 2011 schrieb der dänische Komponist Peter Bruun seine '2 scenes with skylark' auf Gedichte von Gerard Manley Hopkins. Es sind also Texte verschiedensten Inhalts und Stils, die als Ausgangspunkt zur Komposition dienten. Es fällt jedoch auf, dass in drei von vier Fällen ein Vogel eine wesentliche Rolle spielt; das ist sicher kein Zufall, bietet sich die Blockflöte doch perfekt an, die Vogelstimmen zu imitieren, von denen im Text die Rede ist. Da sind wir bei der eingangs erwähnten Problematik, denn in allen vier Stücken spielt die Blockflöte eine untergeordnete Rolle. Gesungen werden alle Texte übrigens in englisch, und auch das großzügig gestaltete und reich bebilderte Booklet bietet lediglich englischsprachige Einführungstexte.
Musikalisches Märchen
Dass vier verschiedene Komponisten zu vier verschiedenen Themen eine je eigene Musik schreiben, liegt auf der Hand. Hauptwerk der Platte ist Praulins 'Nachtigall' mit ca. 25 Minuten Dauer. Das Stück hat eine in dieser zwingenden Form unerwartet unmittelbare Wirkung und ist der beste Beweis für das Potenzial, das in dieser Besetzung liegt. Der Komponist verlangt insbesondere dem Chor einiges ab; das Stück lebt vom blitzschnellen Wechsel verschiedener Stimmungen und Stile, um dennoch einen ungemein geschlossenen und ‚stimmigen' Eindruck zu hinterlassen. Das mit hervorragenden Stimmen ausgestattete Danish National Vocal Ensemble meistert diese Partitur unter der Leitung von Stephen Layton mit Bravour. Während Andersens Märchen im Fernen Osten spielt, gibt es im vertonten Text keine Hinweise auf Nationalitäten, und in der Musik fehlt zum Glück das für Komponisten früherer Generationen zweifelsohne unvermeidliche Lokalkolorit. Praulins fängt die märchenhafte Atmosphäre auf ‚universell' klingende Weise perfekt ein: die Stimmung des ‚es war einmal' wird durch Versatzstücke wie z. B. Kadenzformeln alter Vokalpolyphonie evoziert. Die Tonsprache der anderen Werke ist dem jeweils schwierigeren Sujet angemessen; diese Werke entfalten zwar keine so unmittelbare Wirkung, sind gegebenenfalls aber – im Detail betrachtet und analysiert – substanzieller.
Hervorragende Leistung aller Beteiligten
Die Leistung des dänischen Vokalensembles wurde bereits gewürdigt. Es verdient Anerkennung, in welch treffender Weise dieser Chor zwischen verschiedenen Stimmungen und Gesangstechniken changieren kann, wie unmittelbar sich der Klang vom homogenen Chorklang wandeln kann zu einem aufgefächerten Panorama, in dem jede Einzelstimme klar vernehmbar ist. Michala Petri, der – wie bereits angedeutet – unterm Strich weniger Aufgaben zufallen, als man von einem reinen Soloprogramm erwarten würde, meistert selbige mit der von ihr bekannten Bravour. Vieles in dieser Musik entfaltet angesichts der süß-traurigen, wunderschön gesungenen Vogelstimmen erst seine volle Wirkung.


Klassisk.com

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
Great review in International Record Review on Virtuoso Baroque
International Record Review
21 February 2012
This nis a most beautifuly recorded and presented SACD.It contains a selection of largely very familar Baroque masterpieces, but heard in unusual transcriptions for recorder and archlute.The performers are the celebrated recorder virtuoso Michala Petri and lutenist Lars Hannibal and, as the bookelt notes explain, with this release they celebrate two decades of collarboration as a duo.
These artist are unquestionably masterful throughout but for all the excellence of their playing, the appeal for this disc seems to be fairly limited. The principle drawback with this issue might seem to be pretty self-ecident. Thst is the somewhat limited idiomatic range and expression potential of the recorder itself, a particular concern given that so much of the music recorded here was originally devised for other instruments, including the violin.
Vitalis labyrinthine Chaconne in G minor for example, is best known as a virtuoso showpiece for the violin, and excist in countless recordings with both piano and orchestral accompaniment. Petri and Hannibal certainly give a pritty astonishing reading of the piece. Petri's virtuosity in particular is often incredible. Another violin stable. the "Devil's Trills Sonata by Tartini, arguable works rather better in the version here, because the registral requirements and expressive range of the music are by no means so extreme; in an case, the work falls into three distinctive sections, the last of which leads into a break to a brisk final Allegro. Though spirited and polished in every way, this performance nevertheless lacks the required Faustian resolve that the piece ideally needs, and if you are familar with it in its customary farm, you'll find this seriously wanting in weight and rhetoric.
Of this remaining works here, sonatas by Telemann, bach, Vivaldi and Händel seems better suited for this partnership, whose playing is adroit and sophisticated. Interestingly, though, Corelli's 24 variations oan atheme, known as "La Folia", No 12 from his hugely influential set of Op.6 Violin Sonatas, another cornerstone of the violin repertoiry, is heard here in a version for recorder and keyboard accompaniment made by the English publisher John Walsh in 1702, indicating Corellis's groundbreaking violinworks had already morphed into other instrumental genres quite early on in their history. Here, as is the case throughout this release, Petri's recorder playing is stunning. There are useful insert notes from Joshua Cheek, too. For all that, it's still hard to know quite which sector of the market this is intended for. Michael Jameson
International Record Review

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Wright Music on The Nightingale
Wright Music Magazine
21 February 2012
MICHALA PETRI, recorders, Danish National Vocal Ensemble, Stephen Layton. Our Recordings 6.220605

Distribution by NG Naxos Global Logistics  (59.22)

UGIS PRAULINS The Nightingale
DANIEL BORTZ  Nemesis divina
SUNLEIF RASMUSSEN  " I "
PETER BRUUN Two scenes with skylark

This is a very interesting CD.Let us first introduce the composers.

Ugis Praulins was born in Latvia on 17 June 1957 and studied with Paul Dambas and Gederts Ramans from 1963 - 1974. He then studied at the Academy of Music in Riga. He has been a sound engineer, and, as a keyboardplayer , been a rock musician in the group Salve in the 1970s and  in a progressive folk- rock band called Vecas Majas in the 1980s. His orchestral works include a Festive Prelude and a Concertino for piano and strings. There are choral and vocal works, some of which use instruments associated with pop groups.

Daniel Bortz is the most gifted composer on this CD who writes in traditional forms . He was born in Osby , Sweden in 1943 and studied violin with  Jean Fernstrom and composition with the great Hilding Rosenberg and then with Karl-Birger Blomdahl, Ingvar Lidholm and electronic music with Michael Koenig. Bortz has written four operas, an oratorio and concertos for trumpet, violin, clarinet, piano and recorder respectively.

Why is it that most contemporary composers avoid symphonies and concertos and have fanciful titles for their works?

Sunleif Rasmussen  was born in the Faroe Islands on 19 March 1961. He studied in Norway and then became a music teacher and a jazz pianist in the Faroe Islands. He then studied at the Royal Danish Academy under Ib Norholm. Rasmussen became interested  in spectral music and composers such as Tristan Murail. His biggest work to date is his Symphony no. 1 Oceanic Days. There are choral and vocal works with orchestra , a String Quartet and other chamber works, a saxophone concerto and other works.

Peter Bruun comes from Aarhus is Denmark being born in 1968. He studied philosophy at Aarhus University before he took up composition. Some of his works are concerned with water, the orchestral pieces Moon Water and The Same Fountain. There is also Letters to the Ocean for large ensemble. Other works advocate world peace. There is a fine Concerto grosso. His work Miki Alone for mezzo and orchestra , which lasts about 55 minutes, won  a prestigious award.

As to the performers, Stephen Layton is very well known as a fine choral conductor. Michaela Petri was born in Copenhagen on 7 July 1958 and won the Danish Young Musician of the Year in 1968. She introduced us to the recorder as a serious instrument whereas most people  regard it as an easy instrument played by primary school children.  She has premiered works by Arnold, Jacob, Bortz, Koppel, Holmboe, Michael Berkeley, Bentzon  and others.She is a first class player.

Her contribution to this CD is in a secondary capacity. There are no concertos, for example, or works involving her as a soloist.
Praulins'sThe Nightingale is taken from Hans Christian Andersons' text and is in four sections. It is a curious work involving many styles from folk music to hints of Renaissance music. The vocal ensemble are first class and the soloists are admirable. The work last about half an hour.

There is a magical start which is eerie, effective with  a tremendous crescendo. The high recorder represents the nightingale with its fluttering wings and , later, its song. Some of the text, in English, is spoken and throughout the piece, the music is inconsistent. There are some very fine moments but not always. Often the music is static. The third section with the repeated What's That is impressive. The soprano glissandi are out of place. This is a fairy tale and the music lacks childhood innocence. Section 5, There She Is contains some of the best music as does section 6, At The Palace.. Section 7, The Artificial Bird is the most 'modern', but the many styles in this work can be worrying. One passages owes to Tallis 's Spem in alium , but sometimes the vocal writing has too many layers and the work outstays its welcome although the singing is second to none and there is some thrilling recorder playing.

Bortz's Nemesis Divina works better. It has a mysterious opening but, as it develops it is impassioned and coherent. the vocal writing is superb with much variety. The style is consistent and the writing for voices is exceptionally good. Even in the strange whispers there is a profound poignancy. perhaps it is a little too long to maintain the material.

Rasmussen's work starts with a somewhat Arabic prelude on a recorder. I did not find anything outstanding in this piece but the Paul Bruun works is the most accessible and is often lovely.

To listen to this CD in one go is not recommended. Most of the music is slow and , occasionally, ponderous.

But it is a fascinating an important CD and I add a few more comments

The Praulin work is supposed to be a fairy tale but the music is very grown up.

The Bortz is the more unified work to a text by Carl von Linne which seems to pose doubts in God.

The question is What is God

Who sees, hears, knows

I don't see God

No wonder I don't see God

When I do not see the ego living in me.

What is life ?

Our God lights us and every soul with fire.

Rasmussen's "I" seems to be a meditation on human life based on Inger Christensens modern text and as a  consideration of Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

Two Scenes with Skylarks by Paul Bruun has a text by Gerald Manley Hopkins and his typical complex mysticism.
It is a CD that deserves hearing and invites you to make your own assessment. First hearings may not prove to be valid.

COPYRIGHT David C F Wright DMus 2011.

Wright Music Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
American magazine AllMusic.com on The Nightingale
AllMusic.com
21 February 2012
by James Manheim
Veteran Danish recorder virtuosa Michala Petri gets top billing here, but the Danish National Vocal Ensemble, under the direction of British conductor Stephen Layton, deserves at least equal billing. The main attraction is The Nightingale by Latvian composer Ugis Praulins, a work related to Pärt's minimalist style but with a more expansive and varied treatment of the choir. It's called upon to produce a variety of odd effects, dissolve in conversation, and execute smooth notes at extremes of range. Petri's recorder plays a variety of roles, introducing a medieval tinge but also a cool, almost electronic-flavored sound, and also embodying the Nightingale of the text: the one from Hans Christian Andersen's texts that have been so often set. It's a pleasing, slightly haunting work. The other three composers, Daniel Börtz, Sunleif Rasmussen, and Peter Bruun, are from Sweden, the Faroe Islands (an amazingly fertile place musically, all things considered), and Denmark; they are more systematically structured than the Praulins work. The combination of recorder and choir is unique, and the concept, a collaboration between Petri and U.S. producer Joshua Cheek (who wrote the informative booklet notes), merits praise for sheer originality. But the best audience for this release might lie among those who enjoy the British choral sound and are looking for something connected but completely different

AllMusic.com

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great review on The Nightingale in UK Magazine Classic Music
Classic Music Magazine
21 February 2012
The Nightingale: New Nordic Music for Recorder and Choir Michala Petri, Danish National Vocal Ensemble/Layton (OUR Recordings)
You don't find many discs of music for recorder and a capella voices. Veteran Danish virtuoso Michala Petri joins forces with a crack Danish choir in a fascinating selection of new works. The delight lies in hearing just how well the unadorned clarity of Petri's tone blends with the vocals. Perhaps it's less of a surprise when you're reminded of the recorder's purity – no valves, reeds or mouthpieces stand in the way of sound production. The main attraction here is Latvian composer Ugis Praulins' English setting of Andersen's The Nightingale. Praulins' eclectic compositional style is readily accessible, encompassing fierce dissonance, speech-like chant and warm diatonic simplicity, over which Petri's lyrical nightingale song can effortlessly soar, contrasting with the shrill staccato squeaking of the bird's mechanical replacement. Wonderful stuff, with a radiant conclusion.
Daniel Börtz's Nemesis divina sets words by an 18th-century botanist. Most effective is the close, with the text reduced to hushed detached syllables punctuated by chirruping recorder. Faroese composer Sunleif Rasmussen's "I" is harder to assimilate, though it's impossible not to marvel at the fearless accuracy of the Danish National Vocal Ensemble's singing. Peter Bruun cites his first musical influences as Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran. There's little trace of either in his Two Scenes with Skylark, a contrasted pair of poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Petri excels when playing a softer-toned tenor recorder accompanying The Caged Skylark. Stephen Layton directs with style, and the disc is spectacularly engineered.
Graham Rickson
Classic Music Magazine

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
All Music Guide on Virtuoso Baroque
All Music Guide
20 February 2012
by James Manheim
This release by Danish recorder virtuosa Michala Petri has a couple of points of interest for those looking for a fun introduction to the world of Baroque recorder music. The pieces, originally from the closely related repertories of recorder, flute, and violin, are a sort of rogue's gallery of works that were transmitted before Baroque music was commonly played. The Sonata in G major, RV 59, for example, has its Ryom-Verzeichnis catalog number and was long taken as a genuine Vivaldi work; in fact it was an artful forgery by French composer and instrument builder Nicolas Chédeville. The booklet tells the interesting stories of some of these works. But the biggest attraction is the playing of Michala Petri herself. There are lots of young players with inventive ideas in the recorder repertory, but few that could handle the crushing transcription of Tartini's "Devil's Trill" sonata on offer here, and few capable of the mixture of tonal control and musicality that she manages throughout. The accompaniment is provided by the solo archlute of Lars Hannibal, a nice change from the usual keyboards and a richly resonant sound that defines a large musical space when paired with a recorder in its upper reaches. This in turn is captured effectively in the engineering of producer Preben Iwan in the OUR Recordings studio in Copenhagen. An unusually satisfying collection of recorder music even for those who think they don't like the recorder.
All Music Guide

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
UK Magazine Musical Pointer on The Nightingale
Musical Pointer Magazine
02 February 2012
New Nordic Music for Recorder and Choir

Börtz: Nemesis divina
Bruun: Scenes with Skylark
Praulinš: The Nightingale
Rasmussen, S: "I"

Danish National Vocal Ensemble/Stephen Layton with Michala Petri (recorders)
OURrecordings 6.220605
The latest release by Michala Petri, masterminded by Lars Hannibal, is in many ways her best. An extraordinary selection of Nordic commissions, each one is completely riveting in its unique way.
Praulins' nightingale decorates a Hans Christian Andersen tale about two nightingales, the real one (Michala) eclipsing the monotonous repetitions of an artificial one. Börtz's Nemesis divina treats a quite extraordinary text by the botanist/thereotician Linnaeus; broken up in such a way that the text is essential to follow it. Likewise for Rasmussen's modernist "I", in which "A man and a woman and a blackbird (Michala) are one". Finally, the younger Peter Bruun's G M Hopkins settings involve the "breathy, human tessitura of the tenor recorder" as the poet's Caged Nightingale.
Tremendous texts and marvellous music for each one. Lavishly produced in a fully illustrated glossy booklet.
Peter Grahame Woolf
Musical Pointer Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Enthusiastic review on The Nightingale in Musical Pointer
Musical Pointer Magazine
24 January 2012
The latest release by Michala Petri, masterminded by Lars Hannibal, is in many ways her best. An extraordinary selection of Nordic commissions, each one is completely riveting in its unique way.
Praulins' nightingale decorates a Hans Christian Anderson tale about two nightingales, the real one (Michala) eclipsing the monotonous repetitions of an artificial one. Börtz's Nemesis divina treats a quite extraordinary text by the botanist/thereotician Linnaeus; broken up in such a way that the text is essential to follow it. Likewise for Rasmussen's modernist "I", in which "A man and a woman and a blackbird (Michala) are one". Finally, the younger Peter Bruun's G M Hopkins settings involve the "breathy, human tessitura of the tenor recorder" as the poet's Caged Nightingale.
Tremendous texts and marvellous music for each one. Lavishly produced in a fully illustrated glossy booklet.
Peter Grahame Woolf
Musical Pointer Magazine

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
Great review on Virtuoso Baroque in US Magazine Fanfare
Fanfare Magazine
07 January 2012
BAROQUE VIRTUOSO  Michala Petri (rcr); Lars Hannibal (lt) (period instruments)  OUR RECORDINGS 6220604 (SACD: 67:48)
VITALI Chaconne. TELEMANN Sonata in d, TWV 41:d4. BACH Sonata in F, BWV 1033. VIVALDI/ CHÉDEVILLE Sonata in G, RV 59. CORELLI La Folia, op. 5/12. TARTINI "Devil's Trill" Sonata. HANDEL Sonata in B, HWV 377

My first encounter with Michala Petri was in 1980 on a Philips CD of Vivaldi's op. 10 flute concertos played on recorder. Uneducated at the time in the burgeoning period instrument and historical practice movement, I didn't question Petri's choice of instrument, not knowing that in all likelihood Vivaldi wrote his concertos for the new transverse flute, not the recorder. But I'm not sure it would have mattered even if I had known, for I was so transfixed by Petri's amazing virtuosity and the performance of my speakers' tweeters that I reveled in the sound.
The present release is a sampler of Petri and Lars Hannibal's Baroque favorites, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the duo's first appearance in 1992 at the Monastery La Cartuja de la Sierra in Andalusia, Spain. For the occasion, OUR Recordings was formed and the program at hand was newly recorded for this state-of-the-art SACD.
If you're familiar with Michala Petri—perhaps you've seen her play, as I have in a TV special a few years ago—you will already know that she is a real phenomenon. Perhaps more than any other single player, she has made the recorder into an instrument to be taken very, very seriously.
Purists may frown at this release, for as I've said before, simply performing on period instruments does not automatically lend historical legitimacy to the realization of the works in question. It could be argued that not one of the pieces on this disc was written for recorder and that one or two of the works that flute and recorder players have regularly taken up may not even have been written by the composers they're attributed to. Well-known pieces like Vitali's Chaconne, Tartini's "Devil's Trill" Sonata, and Corelli's "La Folia" were conceived for violin and contain double-stops (impossible on recorder) and arpeggio-like string-crossing figuration that don't adapt naturally to a wind instrument.
Bach, of course, did write a number of flute sonatas, but they were almost certainly written for the transverse flute, not recorder. Curiously too, Petri chooses the one sonata among the lot, BWV 1033, that is of doubtful authenticity.
Handel did write the Sonata in B Major, HWV 377; of that, there's no doubt. But it's only assumed to be for recorder because of its range. Handel did not actually specify a solo instrument, and the Adagio of this sonata turns up as the third movement in the composer's Organ Concerto in F Major, op. 4/4.
Still more curious is the case of the Sonata in G Major, RV 59, allegedly by Vivaldi. This hoax of the 18th-century was perpetrated by French composer Nicolas Chédeville (1705–1782), in collusion with publisher Jean-Noël Marchand who put out a collection of Chédeville's own works as Vivaldi's Il pastor fido, op. 13. To this day, recordings of "Vivaldi's" non-existent Il pastor fido sonatas for flute and continuo still abound. The only real question about these rather convincing 1737 "fakes" is whether Chédeville was writing them for recorder or transverse flute. As noted by Lisa Beznosiuk in her Hyperion recording of Bach's flute sonatas, after about 1725 compositions specifically for or including recorder became increasingly rare. So, when we're talking about Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and in this case, Chédeville, the transverse flute was the more likely target.
Lo and behold, it seems that Telemann's D-Minor Sonata, TWV 41:d4 is the only work on the disc not clouded by questions of authenticity or transplantation from another instrumental medium of questionable compatibility. The sonata comes from Telemann's compilation of trios, sonatas, and suites collected under the title of Essercizii Musici dating from approximately 1740. The late date suggests once again though that the transverse flute rather than the recorder was the designated instrument.
None of this, however, is really going to matter other than to the absolutists. Petri's playing is so riveting one could listen to her play anything and make music of the gods out of it. The combination of recorder and archlute lends a timeless quality to these performances that transports this listener into the intimate setting of an 18th-century drawing room, and the SACD recording enhances that ambiance. Petri makes these pieces her own, whether they belong to the recorder or not. So just listen and enjoy. Strongly recommended.    Jerry Dubins             
Fanfare Magazine

Kim Sjøgren, violin
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Journey
Contemporary Danish Works
Musical Pointer UK on Journey
Musical Pointer Magazine
07 January 2012
WWW  MUSICALPointer
 

Mikkelborg, Koppel, Jersild & Holmboe

Journey

Palle Mikkelborg Everything matters
Herman D Koppel Duo for violin and guitar op.116
Jorgen Jersild 10 Impromtu
Vagn Holmboe Duo Concertato op.167

Kim Sjogren (violin) Lars Hannibal (guitar)

OURRECORDINGS 8226902 [TT:59 mins - remastered; earlier release on Danish EMI LP 7496791]

Lars Hannibal is highly regarded for his mastery of musical literature from the lute music of the 16th century to the contemporary scores composed especially for him. Violinist Kim Sjøgren became concert master of the Royal Danish Orchestra at 22; he is also active as a composer. As Duo Concertante they celebrated their 10-year anniversary concert at Wigmore Hall in London, having performed together in a wide variety of genres and performing situations.

This disc demonstrates firstly that violin/guitar makes an attractive combination. The duo's chosen late-20 C music dates from 1987/88 and mostly it is far from forward looking "cutting edge" (Berio composed his Sequenza XI for guitar in exactly the same years!).

Koppel & Jersild offer pieces that would go down well in recital, but don't stretch the guitarist unduly. The prolific Holmboe knows the guitar well and this is a pleasing little duo that would always be welcome. The most interesting work is the first, Palle Mikkelborg's sequence of linked little pieces, nearly half an hour long, with a spicing of electronics and recorded children's voices added (Mikkelborg may be better known to some readers as jazz trumpeter and composer/producer of a famous Miles Davis album AURA).

"Everything Matters" is poetic music inspired by a little essay by a Danish dancer, Erik Bruhn, in which he recalls sitting up in a tree as a child, ignoring his family's calls from below "because I knew that I was the only one who knew that I was not there!" This "zen-buddhist way of thinking" inspired music of a timeless atmosphere "with its own language, never heard before or since" (Lars Hannibal) which needs a somewhat passive (zen?) mode of listening to enter its world. It became a successful Christopher Bruce ballet which was filmed by Danish Radio/TV in 1991, and soft-focus stage photos from it adorn Charlotte Bruun Peterson's delightful artwork. The whole presentation is alluring, and Lars Hannibal provides all the information you need.

Recommended for something different, and Journey should certainly find a place in all college guitar department libraries.

Peter Grahame Woolf
Musical Pointer Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great Review in US Music Magazine Fanfare on The Nightingale
Fanfare Magazine
22 December 2011
THE NIGHTINGALE  Stephen Layton, cond; Michaela Petri (rcr); Danish Natl Vocal Ens  OUR RECORDINGS 6.220605 (59:22)

UGIS PRAULINS The Nightingale. DANIEL BÖRTZ Nemesis divina. RASMUSSEN "I" BRUUN 2 scenes with Skylark.

Would that all "concept albums," particularly those of new music, come out as well as this. Recorder player Michaela Petri, a veteran of at least two decades' worth of performances around the globe, was absolutely thrilled with 2007 the world premiere of Daniel Börtz's Nemesis in Stockholm, so much so that she began to think of doing an album of modern music including the recorder with a vocal choir. A year later, composer Ugis Praulins was asked to write a similar piece, and he chose Hans Christian Andersen's famous tale of the Nightingale. When they told conductor Stephen Layton of their plans, he surprisingly suggested not his own group, Polyphony, but the newly established Danish National Vocal Ensemble. Serendipitously, the ensemble's director, Ivar Munk, told them that he had been thinking of working with Petri for some time, and so gave his full support to the project.
This disc is the result, and I don't think it is going too far to say that more than half of the record's success is due to Layton's greatness as a choral director. Those who have read my few reviews of his group know that I am a huge fan of Polyphony and, by inference, of Layton. He really knows how to get the best out of a choir, not only the usual things like good blend and phrasing but also the unusual things like rhythmic acuity, flawless diction, and a deep knowledge of how to get the most and best out of all of his singers.
Praulins, a Latvian composer, is one of those whose developing years were spent listening to as much rock as classical music, particularly King Crimson and Gentle Giant. He also formed his own rock band, Vecas Majas. According to the notes, the surge of Latvian cultural nationalism that arose from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led him to delve into the music and traditions of pre-Christian Latvia, which deeply influence his work. While rejecting formalism, Praulins nevertheless seeks to seamlessly join folk songs, Renaissance polyphony, and "a confident theatricality to create music that entertains and uplifts." The Nightingale is both an unusual piece and an appealing one, using the chorus in a highly virtuosic manner, ranging from the bass low D to soprano D above high C. Of course, Petri's recorder is the nightingale, and her "voice" is heard signaling the most important events and changes in the story.
Börtz is known for his writing of film scores for Ingmar Bergman, and like the filmmaker he uses an intuitive and modern approach to matters of structure and form. As a result of working with Bergman, Börtz has also absorbed what the notes call "the metaphysical darkness" of Bergman, which he then processes through his music. His earlier works were strongly influenced by the Polish avant-garde, composers like Penderecki, but beginning in the 1980s he changed to a more melodic and linear style. This led to his operas Bacchanterna and Marie Antoinette, and oratorio And His Name Was Orestes. Nemesis divina is based on two texts by 18th-century botanist-physician Carl Linnaeus, Respiratio diaetetica (The dietitics of respiration) and Nemesis divina, a lengthy treatise on theodicy, written to help his son. The composer describes the setting of Linneaus's words as largely episodic, with the recorder working as an auditory form of "theatrical lighting." To this end, Petri moves step-by-step from the dark sound of the tenor recorder to the piercing sound of the sopranino. I found Börtz's choral writing absolutely fascinating, breaking their sound into little shards of color by using neutral syllables. The rather enigmatic nature of Linnaeus's text, questioning the existence of God because it cannot be seen or touched yet can be intuited like the ego itself, lends itself perfectly to Börtz's musical panorama. The choir continues to divide itself until it is in eight parts, singing the words in a rhythmically complicated, hocket-like style. The music becomes chromatic, spiked with tritones, gradually emerging as a sequence of three chords. (The notes say this, but so do my ears.)
Sunleif Rasmussen's "I" is the musical setting of Danish modernist poet Inger Christensen's self-reflective response to Wallace Stevens's Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. Rasmussen uses Christensen's verse as a reflection on the human condition, intimacy, freedom and creativity. The music starts with Petri playing mournfully on a bass recorder before the chorus enters, singing, "A man and a woman are one" (and here, as unfortunately elsewhere, the Danish choristers' inability to properly enunciate English comes to grief). I won't quote more of the poem in detail here, but suffice it to say that Rasmussen's music matches it in mood and structure. All through the piece, Rasmussen puts the sopranos opposite the rest of the choir, sometimes in call and response patterns but more often in imitative passages while the recorder never really stops, but continues to play an unfolding and developing melody. As in Börtz's work, Petri keeps moving up through different ranges of the recorder, eventually sounding a shrill note in the section "Grasping the bird's speech / Calling am I woman." I found the composer's masterful use of glisses through the chromatic scale particularly arresting in that they often obscure the actual pulse of the music.
The album concludes with Danish composer Peter Bruun's Two Scenes with Skylark, based on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. The first, "The Sea and the Skylark," opens with overlapping melodies that create a rich yet turgid texture reminiscent of the ocean. Petri gives us the rhapsodic song of the skylark through rippling arpeggios that provide gentle dissonance with the chorus. As Hopkins's poetry turns to humanity's inability to truly appreciate nature's beauty, Bruun make the music even more dissonant. In the second part, "The Caged Skylark," stuttering rhythms and fragmented textures depict the plight of the caged bird, which is compared to the plight of the soul.
Much of this music, but especially the Börtz piece and parts of The Nightingale, put me in mind of Pēteris Vasks's Plainscapes, broadcast on St. Paul Sunday in 2005 by the Seattle Chamber Players with a wordless choir, that has still never been commercially recorded (according to Arkivmusic, anyway). I was mesmerized by Plainscapes, and I was similarly mesmerized by much of the music on this CD as well. Highly recommended. Lynn René Bayley



Fanfare Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
Great US Magazine Fanfare review on English Recorder Concertos
Fanfare Magazine
20 December 2011
US Magazine Fanfare

This is one of the best CDs of recorder music that I have ever heard.
HARVEY Concerto incantato. ARNOLD Recorder Concerto. JACOB Suite for Recorder and Strings • Michala Petri (rcr); Jean Thorel, cond; City CO of Hong Kong • OUR 6.220606 (SACD: 59:06)
Titled English Recorder Concertos, this release presents three works of that genre, the first being a premiere recording by its original performers, who gave the first public performance of it in October 2009. The Concerto Incantanto of Richard Harvey (b. 1950), who is primarily known as a composer of music for films and television, is touted as "a new concerto for the Harry Potter generation." Scored for the solo protagonist and a chamber orchestra of strings, woodwinds, piano, celeste, and percussion, its five movements (in an alternating fast-slow-fast-slow-fast sequence) sketch musical portraits of magic and spirits. Fortunately, it is mostly much better than what such an advertisement might lead one to expect; while definitely lighter fare, it is tuneful, atmospheric, and thoroughly enjoyable. As part of both the mood coloration of each of the movements and a display of virtuoso pyrotechnics, the soloist switches off at various points between sopranino, soprano, treble, and tenor recorders. The opening "Sortilegio" (Sorcery) requires use of the first three of those, with the soloist whooshing about in rapid runs and similarly tricky passagework. In the succeeding "Natura Morta" (Still Life), the composer turns to the deeper-toned tenor instrument and draws upon chiffs and other sounds and techniques from folk instruments such as the end-blown flute of North American Indians and the Chinese xiao. This is the one movement I do not care for, as portions of it sound too much like clichéd film music accompanying shots of African savannahs or dawns in East Asia and the western American plains settings. "Danza Spiriti" (Dance of the Spirits) is a scherzo that returns to both the use of sopranino and soprano recorders and to the flitting strains of the opening movement. The quiet "Canzone Sacra" (Sacred Song) that follows employs the lower register of the treble recorder and a stately hymnlike tune known as the "English Theme." Finally, the concluding "Incantesimi" (Spells) brings the proceedings full circle with the soprano recorder chattering away in double-tonguing articulations and exhilarating flight in double-time.
Malcolm Arnold likewise composed his three-movement concerto for Petri, albeit back in 1988. It is a terrific piece, and there is no mistaking its sturdy British contours. A slightly waggish first movement in sonata form alternates between major and minor modes. The subdued second movement, a passacaglia, has an air of mystery, but again somehow suggests that it not be taken too seriously. Skipping triplets and sextuplets dominate the march-like finale.
The 1957 Suite for Treble Recorder and Strings of Gordon Jacob, a sequence of seven movements modeled upon a Renaissance dance suite, was reviewed by me in Fanfare 34:5 in a version for string quartet. Having now heard it both ways, I actually prefer the fuller-bodied chamber-orchestra version offered here.
Michala Petri hardly needs any praise from me to add to her critical laurels. Given the subject of the first work, suffice it to say that her playing here is appropriately bewitching, and the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong and conductor Jean Thorel provide excellent support. The SACD recorded sound is exceptionally spacious and full-bodied; the booklet is lavishly illustrated with color photos of scenic English countryside, Stonehenge, and shots of the performers in Hong Kong. This enchanting disc has my spellbound recommendation.
FANFARE: James A. Altena, September 2012

Fanfare Magazine

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
In a way it is a return to their roots as one of the best early music duos
John Sunier, audaud.com
13 Decmber 2011
This unusual duo has been around for a decade, having given nearly 1500 concerts of repertory from the late Renaissance to the present, including works especially composed for them. They have released five CDs so far, and in 2006 formed their own label, Our. This new release celebrates their 20th anniversary performing together, with a new program of their most requested Baroque selections as a gift to their fans around the world. In a way it is a return to their roots as one of the best early music duos, and an interesting alternative to the usual early music duo of harpsichord and recorder.
The Baroque was known for benefiting from a unique pan-European exchange of musical ideas. Some of these composers were very cosmopolitan, and all were influenced by developments in music outside of their particular areas. Some of the Baroque highlights of this program include the famous Vitali Chaconne in g, Bach’s Sonata in F Major BWV 1033—about which much controversy has engaged musicologists as to whether he in fact wrote it or not, Corelli’s 11-minute treatment of the famous early music theme La Folia, and Tartini’s notorious “Devil’s Trill” Sonata in g. Petri makes everything—especially the challenging Vitali Chaconne—sound so effortless. There is never the least concern that you might hear one of the ungainly squawks that can emanate from less-virtuoso recorder players.
Petri is one of the world’s top recorder artists, and Danish musician Hannibal is noted for his many guitar and lute recordings. The note booklet is very detailed, with information and background on each of the selections. The DSD/DXD format recording was made the Our studios in Denmark, and the sonics of both instruments on the soundstage are outstanding.
John Sunier, audaud.com

Kim Sjøgren, violin
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Journey
Contemporary Danish Works
MusicWeb Review on Journey
Music Web International
09 December 2011
A super disk and well worth investigating.

Twenty-five separate movements for violin and guitar might seem a bit of a challenge but it's nothing of the sort when the music is as enjoyable and varied as it is in these four works.

Sjøgren and Hanibal met when students at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Århus and from 1980 to 1994 performed as Duo Concertante, giving over 1,000 concerts and making recordings and radio and TV appearances. All the works on this disk were commissioned by them so they have the authority of composer-supervised performances.

Palle Mikkelborg is a major figure in jazz, having played with the Gil Evans Big Band, George Russel Big Band as well as with Jan Gabarek and Gary Peacock. His output is varied, to say the least, ranging from works for orchestra and choir to Aura, which was recorded by Miles Davis in 1984. Everything Matters is a nine movements set of pieces which range from the serious to the humorous. There's the smallest, and quite discreet, use of electronics and pre-recorded sounds - this latter of children playing - which add to the atmosphere of the music. It sounds as if the duo is actually performing directly to the children. At nearly half an hour this work doesn't seem a moment too long and it's very inventive, with its varied moods and sonorities.

Herman D Koppel was a pupil of Carl Nielsen who wrote in all genres, and as a performer was a passionate advocate for Nielsen's piano music; he made two valuable recordings of the complete works. His Duo is a serious work in three short movements. The language is terse and aphoristic, so fleeting are some of the ideas, and this is, probably, the most thought-provoking of all the works on this disk.

Jersild studied with, amongst others, Albert Roussel and the French influence can be seen in some of his works. His output wasn't large but we should be grateful for what there is. These 10 Impromptu are true miniatures - half of them play for less than 60 seconds - and they are serious and fun, by turns, and most enjoyable.

It's always good to welcome any music by Vagn Holmboe, not just because he was a fine composer, but because he was a friend of mine. It has been said that Holmboe never wrote any light music, and this is true - there's no Tam O'Shanter Overture, for instance - but some of his works are lighter than others. This Duo Concertato is a case in point. Although the outward appearance is of a serious composition in three movements, the outer, fast, ones are filled with fun and they surround a heart of gold. Truly a portrait of the man himself. I loved him and miss him.

Although it is not so stated, this must be a re-issue of a Danish EMI LP (7496791) which was issued in about 1989. The sound on that LP was excellent and the re-mastering for this CD is superb. There is a feeling of space in the acoustic and the two players are well balanced. The notes don't tell us anything about the works heard, but do give a potted biography of each composer and performer, complete with photograph, and there's lots of photographs of dancers in soft focus.

A super disk and well worth investigating.

-- Bob Briggs, MusicWeb International

To read this review online, click here.
Music Web International

Kim Sjøgren, violin
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Journey
Contemporary Danish Works
Danish Music Magazine (DMT) review on Journey
DMT
04 December 2011
This collection of world premiere recordings, as Lars Hannibal proudly announces in the liner notes, is very exciting when looking at the context.  All the pieces are especially written for him and Kim Sjøgren, which makes the collection just as homogeneous, as "Taking off souls" is tangled!

There is an advantage to both parts - in this case the program allowes you to observe how four long-established composers in the Danish tradition expressed themselves about twenty years ago ( the youngest is Palle Mikkelborg, 47 years old at that time).
Two of them - Koppel and Holmboe - are amongst the leading composers in the 20th century Danish music history, which makes one listen with great interest.

To begin with the end: in the long run I think that the combination of violin and guitar sounds a little too similar, but one cannot resist zooming in on the virtuoso treatment of the instruments, exactly as expected. It is highly enjoyable musically, but for the three elder composers the awareness remains with
the sound and the expected ways of expression.

The overall attention for me gathers around "Everything Matters" by Palle Mikkelborg, identically with the music for the ballet "Journey".

In addition to Lars Hannibal and Kim Sjøgren, Palle Mikkelborg himself plays the keyboards - a  pre-recorded tape. The music is inspired from an essay by ballet dancer Erik Bruhn, and was later the point of origin for the ballet by coreographer Christopher Bruce. The composition takes almost half an hour, and in that sense dominates the cd. One can say that the cd comes in two parts, in which the first part, as I hear it, is the most interesting.
DMT

Kim Sjøgren, violin
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Journey
Contemporary Danish Works
ARG Review on Journey
American Review Guide
04 December 2011
"Each of these pieces is really good music-expressive, interesting, inventive, beautiful!"
JOURNEY: Contemporary Danish Works for Violin & Guitar
Palle Mikkelborg: Everything matters (1988)
Herman D. Koppel: Duo for violin and guitar op. 116 (1987)
Jorgen Jersild: 10 Impromptu (1987)
Vagn Holmboe: Duo Concertato op. 167 (1987)
Kim Sjogren, Violin
Lars Hannibal, Guitar
Catalogue Number: OUR Recordings 8.226902
This issue brought two recordings by Sjogran and Hannibal, one of the works of Giuliani and this one of four contemporary Danish composers. The Giuliani was quite fine, but this is a revelation. Of these composers, only Holmboe was known to me, but Palle Mikkelborg's Everything Matters is a multimedia work for guitar, violin, tape, and dancer. The music has the haunting spirituality of Tavener's work-I'd love to see the choreography. It is set in nine movements, alternating between an ethereal atonality and mundane waltzes. The mood is mostly quiet and contemplative. It is very moving.
Herman Koppel's Duo is a three-movement sonata-like structure with echoes of Bartok and Walton. Jorgen Jersild's 10 Impromptus is a delightful set of brief vignettes, most shorter than a minute. This is magical music - fairies dancing, elves singing. It has been a while since I heard new music with such affecting simplicity, such comforting purity.
Vagn Holmboe is, after Nielsen, Denmark's best known composer. The Duo Concertante has some folk influences and also recalls Bartok but is gentler.
The players have collaborated for three decades. Each is a fine player with an excellent technique and tasteful elegance. They clearly love these works. You will, too. - KEATON
American Review Guide

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
Great review in cjklassisk of English Recoder Concertos
cjklassisk
01 December 2011
Fornem anmeldelse at John Christiansen af English Recorder Concertos:

Opdagelse af en blokfløjtekoncert:

**** "Michala Petri har indspillet tre koncerter for blokfløjte af britiske komponister. Igen spiller hun funklende, elegant, lyrisk og fornøjeligt, når det er på sin plads. Og det mærkværdige sker. Det er ægte engelsk musik, og alligevel er det på en måde også sommerdansk. Først i Richard Harveys "Concerto Incantato", et prisvindende værk, som Michala Petri uropførte i Hong Kong. Der er fem spændende satser af tilpas længde, som man får lyst til at genhøre. Der er ikke en takt for meget og ikke en takt for lidt. Det er vital og liflig musik, som Michala Petri forståeligt nok er faldet for.

I to omgange går man derefter tilbage i to generationer til Malcolm Arnolds blokfløjte-koncert fra 1988 og til Gordon Jacobs suite fra 1957 for blokfløjte/recorder og strygere. Det er ægte britisk, det er  rapsodisk nuanceret musik, men sandelig om man ikke aner Carl Nielsens skygge i Arnolds koncert.

Cd'en er også blevet indspillet on location med City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong dirigeret af Jean Thorel. Preben Iwan tog også turen til Hong Kong og har ansvaret og æren for fylden og klarheden i den nærmest fuldendte tekniske velklang. Der er gode, fyldige noter på engelsk. CD'en er udgivet af Michala Petris og Lars Hannibals eget pladeselskab OUR Recordings. Jeg vender tilbage til flere af OUR Recordings udgivelser "(4 stjerner: Recordings 29901).jcklassisk 18.juni 2014
cjklassisk

Kim Sjøgren, violin
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Journey
Contemporary Danish Works
The Musician, Review on Journey
The Musician Magazine
21 November 2011
Two of the outsanding figures on the Dansh music scene, Kim Sjøgren and Lars Hannibal have joined forces in the interpretation of some of the most important Danish composers Palle Mikkelborg, Vagn Holmboe, Jørgen Jersild and Herman D. Koppel.

Wonderful Danish music in an equally great performance;  anything else would, frankly said, have been a surprise....
The Musician Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
English Recorder Concertos
The Recorder Magazine on English Recorder Concertos
The Recorder Magazine
16 November 2011
Described in the liner notes as " A new concerto for the Harry Potter generation", Richard Harvey's "Concerto Incantato" certainly cast a musical spell from its opening bars. It was composed for Michala Petri and commisioned by Leanne Nicholls  for the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong's tenth anniversary concert in 2009. It is a substantial Work in five contrasting movements about 30 minutes and is firmly in the harmonic and melodic mainstream. Harvey is a recorder virtuoso in his own right and an award-winning composer for film and television. It is therefore no surprise that this work not only contains testing yet perfectly idiomatic writing for recorder, but also a wealth of colourful and appealing music. The first movement, "Sortilegio" (Sorcery), in which the sopranino, soprano and treble recorder interplay with the orchestra are an integral part ot its sparkling textures, leads into the very contrasting "Nature Morta" (Still Life) where the tenor recorder sings a rather wistful song over the husted accompaniment. This atmosphere is abruptly dispersed by the third movement " Danza Spiriti" ( Dance of the spirits), a will-o'- the wisp scherzo of considerable energy. The fourth movement "Canzone Sacra" (Sacred Song) restores a contemplative mood and features a haunting humn-like melody for treble recorder. Soprrano recorder arpeggios introduce the fifth movement "Incantesimi" (Spells) before a lively Renaissance-style dance emerges, the course of which is interrupted by touching restatement of the previous movement's melody. However, a return to the dance brings this spell-binding concerto to a brilliant conclusion.
Sir Malcolm Arnold's "Concerto for Recorder and Orchestra" OP.133 was written for Michala Petri in 1988 in a final period of compositional activity. Some of his late works display a sparseness of texture which in the case of the Recorder Concerto is a distinct contributory factor in achieving a balance between soloist and the orchestra containing brass and woodwind in additiion to the strings.The first and third movement of the three movements are virtuosic yet scherzo-like, and it is the Lento middle movement that carries the emotional weight of the work. It takes the form of a passacaglia and captures a very semilar mood to that of the Chaconna in his Sonatina for recorder composed thirty-five years earlier, a perfect foil to the music of the outer movements, particularly the march-like character of the finale.
Composed for Carl Dolmetsch towards the end of 1957 and first performed by him in January 1958, Gordon Jacob's Suite for treble recorder and strings received immediate critical acclaim. In a period of changing musical tastes it is a Work that has retained its place in the recorder repertoire and rightfully so - it is a masterpiece, perfectly written for the instrument. The sheer ebullience of its quick movements and the yearning yet warm music of the "Lament" and "Pavane" continue to captivate players and audience alike. It was during the early 1980s that Michala Petri took the Suite into her repertoire (and memoroable recorded it) and contacted the composer to seek his advise on performance. Their meeting inspired Jacob to compose and dedicate his last Work for recorder, the "Sonatina" to her.
This is a first-rate disc; recording and visual presentation are impressive, the orchestral playing decisive yet sympathetic and the three Works form a wonderfully contrasted programme. Michala Petri's playing, it goes wothout saying, is impaccable and her music interpretation vivid.
Andrew Mayes,- May 2013
The Recorder Magazine
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