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Michala Petri, recorder
Kremerata Baltica
Michala Petri's 50th Birthday Concert
German Klassik Heute on Michala Petri 50 Years Birthday Concert
Klassik Heute Magazine
18 August 2008
Details (22.06.2009)
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Im Juli vergangenen Jahres (2008) feierte die dänische Blockflötenvirtuosin Michala Petri ihren fünfzigsten Geburtstag mit einem großen Festkonzert im Kopenhagener Tivoli, das live vom Dänischen Rundfunk übertragen wurde. Der Mitschnitt dieses Konzertes liegt nun als CD vor und vermittelt einen lebendigen Eindruck von der besonderen Atmosphäre des Ereignisses. Gerade diese hörbare Aura – jenseits gewöhnlicher, steriler Studio-Perfektion – macht den Reiz dieser Produktion aus und lädt den Hörer ein, die Begeisterung des Publikums „vor Ort" zu teilen.

Mitstreiter an Michala Petris Seite ist das von Gidon Kremer initiierte Ensemble Kremerata baltica, mit dem sie schon seit vielen Jahren eine glückliche Zusammenarbeit verbindet.

Das Programm ihres Geburtstagskonzertes spiegelt die musikalische Entwicklung wider, die Petri in den vergangenen Jahren gemacht hat.

Der Schritt, gemeinsam mit ihrem Mann und Duopartner Lars Hannibal ein eigenes Plattenlabel zu gründen und zukünftig nur noch Musik aufzunehmen, die ihr selbst am Herzen liegt, mag die Initialzündung für eine Wende in Petris Musikerkarriere gewesen sein und ging mit einem klaren Wandel ihres Selbstverständnisses einher: weg vom virtuosen „Wunderkind" und einem Repertoire, das stets zu beweisen suchte, welcher Virtuosität das so unscheinbare Instrument Blockflöte doch fähig ist. Nicht, dass Michala Petri an Brillanz eingebüßt hätte – seit einigen Jahren aber hat ihr Spiel an Reife gewonnen, ihr Repertoire fokussiert sich mehr und mehr auch auf die Musik unserer Zeit. Neue, beeindruckende Instrumentalkonzerte sind in Zusammenarbeit mit bedeutenden zeitgenössischen Komponisten entstanden (Börtz, Amargós, Stucky) und auf einer Grammy-nominierten CD dokumentiert (Movements. OUR Recordings 6.220531).

Auch wenn sich Petris Geburtstagsprogramm an den Eckpfeilern ihres Repertoires orientiert, so überrascht doch ihre konkrete Auswahl: zwei Konzerte des italienischen Barocks, zwei zeitgenössische Konzertstücke, Mozarts berühmtes C-Dur-Andante, Nino Rotas Concerto for Strings und als Zugabe einige Geburtstagsvariationen von Peter Heidrich. Keine platten Reißer also, sondern ein absolut stimmiger, fein abgestimmter Reigen auserlesener Musik.

Tomaso Albinonis d-Moll-Konzert op. 9 Nr. 2 eröffnet das Programm. Es entstammt der 1722 in Amsterdam veröffentlichten Sammlung von 12 Oboenkonzerten des venezianischen Meisters und steht qualitativ weit über der routinierten Massenproduktion italienischer Provenienz: Punktierte Figuren verleihen dem ersten Satz unwiderstehlichen Drive, gefolgt von einem innigen Adagio. Petri spielt das Konzert wegen des spezifischen Tonumfangs zwar auf einer Sopranblockflöte, verleiht ihm aber dennoch ein edles, samtenes Timbre. In eine exotische Klangwelt entführt Die Musikerin ihr Publikum mit den Three Ancient Chinese Beauties für Blockflöte und Streicher der bekannten chinesischen Komponistin Chen Yi. Chen Yi, seit langem in den USA lebend und lehrend, gelingt es in ihrem Petri gewidmeten Konzert, die Gefahr folkloristischer Stereotypen zu umschiffen und eine ansprechende Musik von lichter Textur zu schreiben, die den charakteristischen Charme chinesischer Melodik mit eingängiger Motorik, Glissandi und Pizzicati à la Bartók verbindet. Licht charakteristiert auch das folgende C-Dur-Andante KV 315 Mozarts. Die Ausführung mit einer Blockflöte gibt dem Stück eine ganz spezielle Note von – im positiven Sinne – fast kindlicher Reinheit. Eine Atempause für die Solistin verschafft Nino Rotas Streicherkonzert. Rota war ja durchaus nicht nur der geniale Komponist von Filmmusik für Fellini, Visconti oder Coppola, sondern hat auch eigenständige Musik für den Konzertsaal geschaffen. Sein viersätziges Konzert für Streicher knüpft harmonisch an die klassische Klarheit Mozarts an und gemahnt insbesondere im Finalsatz ein wenig an Prokofieffs Symphonie classique.

Höhepunkt des Programms ist für mich Valere iubere des jungen russischen Komponisten Artem Vassiliev, ein viertelstündiges musikalisches Epitaph, das zwischen irisierenden Klangflächen der vielfach geteilten Streicher, dramatischen Ausbrüchen, Tango-Elementen und intimen kammermusikalischen Episoden changiert. Ein Werk von meisterhafter Faktur – sowohl in der souveränen Behandlung des Streicherapparates als auch im delikaten Umgang mit dem Soloinstrument.

Einen wirklichen "Klassiker" für die Blockflöte konnte sich Michala Petri zum Schluss doch nicht verkneifen, immerhin das Konzert, das sie laut eigener Bekenntnis am häufigsten aufgeführt hat: Antonio Vivaldis C-Dur-Konzert RV 443.

Ein ganz klein wenig merkt man der Aufführung diese Routine denn auch an: die Verzierungen des zweiten Satzes wirken zwar schön ausgedacht, in der Ausführung aber keineswegs wie "in italienischer Manier" gleichsam improvisiert, sondern eher etwas brav buchstabiert. Für einen Largo-Satz gerät auch das Tempo viel zu rasch. Eine gewisse Statik vermeidende Flüssigkeit bekommt dem Satz durchaus; Petri bewegt sich aber schon sehr nah an einem Andante …

Dem begeisterten Publikum und der Jubilarin selbst konnte man eine augenzwinkernde Zugabe nicht verwehren: mit einigen Ausschnitten aus den brillanten Happy Birthday Variationen Peter Heidrichs (im Stile rührseliger Filmmusik, als Walzer, Tango und Csardas) beschloss die Kremerata baltica das Programm und ließ Michala Petri auf diesem Wege noch einmal musikalisch hochleben.

Nicht nur Blockflötenfreunde werden an dieser Zusammenstellung ihre Freude haben. Allein die beiden großartigen zeitgenössischen Werke Chens und Vassilievs lohnen den Kauf!

Heinz Braun (22.06.2009)
Künstlerische Qualität:
  9
Bewertungsskala: 1-10
Klangqualität:
  8

Gesamteindruck:
  9
 

Klassik Heute Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Kremerata Baltica
Michala Petri's 50th Birthday Concert
Review on Michala Petri's 50 Years Birthday Concert in Luxumbourg Magazine "Pizzicato""
Pizzicato Magazine
08 August 2008
- Michala Petri debütiert als Konzertsolistin Anfang 1969 im Konzertsaal des Kopenhagen Tivoli. Dorthin kehrte die dänische Blockflötistin zurück für ihr Konzert zum eigenen 50.Geburtstag. Es beginnt mit einer sonnig-beschwingten Interpretation von Albinonis d-Moll-Konzert und zeigt dann gleich, dass Michala Petri die ganze Musik beherrscht, von Barock bis zum Zeitgenössischen: sie spielt das dreisätzige Stück "Ancient Chinese beauty" von Chen Yi mit packender Intensität. Und so wechselt das Programm von gestern zu heute und zurück, wunderbar inspiriert dargeboten, meisterhaft gespielt von der Solistin, brilliant begleitet von der exzellenten Kremerata Baltika. Der Hörgenuss wird leider immer wieder durch Saalgeräusche gestört. Die Aufnahme is hallig und zielt auf Klangbrillianz.
RéF
Pizzicato Magazine

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
Great, great 5 star Review on Virtuoso Baroque in German Magazine for Chambermusic Ensemble
Ensemble
01 August 2008

Repertoirewert: 4 stars
Klang:                4 stars
Interpretation:    5 stars (maximum)

Es war David Munrow, der nach dem Krieg die Blockflöte aus dem Kinderzimmer auf das Koncertpodium holte und das atemlose lauschende Publikum mit barock Werken in Entzücken versetzte, die man noch nicht gehört hatte – so jedenfalls erlebte ich es in den 1960er Jahren. Mit Frans Brüggen begann eine ganze Dynastie solcher Virtuosen, Michala Petri ist schon Lange einen von Ihnen. Sie erweiterte das Repertoire in vielen Richtungen, in die Moderne, gar ins Fernöstliche, macht Cross-Over-Ausflüge und spielt eigens für sie Komponiertes. Zur Feier eines 20-jährigen Duo-Jubiläums mit Lars Hannibal, ihrem Lautenpartner, kehrt sie zu ihren Wurzeln zurück, zu den grossen Barockkomponisten. Alle Werke dieser CD sind Wohlbekannt und trotzdem klingen sie ganz neu; denn die filigrane Lautenbegleitung anstelle eines Cembalos schafft einen wunderbar durchsichsichtigen Klangraum , in dem sich die Flötenstimme in allen Schattierungen entfalten kann, auch weil die Musikerin manchmal für nur einen Sonatensats ein anders mensuriertes Instrument benutzt. Bravourös nutzt sie geschickt ausgewählten Werke zur Demonstration ihrer uneingeschränkt hochvirtuosen Technik nicht nur mit der berühmten Vitali  „Chaconne" oder der Corelli „Folia", sondern auch in der spektakulären Vivaldi-Bearbeitung Chédevilles oder gar in Tartinis „Teufeltriller"- Sonate, deren Violin eskapaden sie so atemberaubend auf ihrer Blockflöte exekutiert, dass man´s  nicht glauben mag – Gratulation und Bravo!
Diether Steppuhn, January 2012

Ensemble

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Café Vienna
19th Century Café Music
Klassik Heute on Café Vienna
Klassik Heute Magazine
24 June 2008
In angenehmem Cafe-latte-braun präsentiert sich die neueste CD des Duos Petri/Hannibal, ganz passend zum Inhalt: Wiener Musik für (Block)flöte und Gitarre um 1800. Um die Jahrhundertwende vom 18. zum 19. Jahrhundert war zwar die hochbarocke Blockflöte längst nicht mehr in Verwendung, aber es gab (insbesondere in Wien) den Csakan, eine Spazierstock-Blockflöte, die sich zu dieser Zeit einer gewissen Beliebtheit und Verbreitung erfreute. Einige virtuose Spieler komponierten auch selbst dafür, der bedeutendste von ihnen mag Johann Ernst Krähmer (1795?1837) gewesen sein, aus dessen Feder wir eine ganze Reihe durchaus niveauvoller Kammermusikstücke besitzen.


Von den eingespielten Stücken stammen jedoch nur drei (Krähmer, Mayseder, Scheindienst) aus dem eigentlichen Csakan-Repertoire; Küffner, Giuliani und Carulli wurden ursprünglich für die damals sehr beliebte Besetzung Flöte bzw. Violine und Gitarre komponiert. Beethovens zwei Sonatinen letztlich sind im Original für Mandoline (sic!) und Klavier gesetzt. Allen Werken ist ein gewisser „unterhaltsamerì Ton gemein. Mehr als Giulianis umfangreiches Gran Duetto concertante überzeugen mich die kleineren Formen, etwa Carullis originelle Fantasie oder Küffners Potpourri (mit dem damals ebenso wie heute wirksamen Wiedererkennungseffekt populärer Weisen). Überraschend gut wirken auch die beiden Beethoven-Sonatinen in der Transkription. Krähmers charmantes Opus 32 ist ein veritables Virtuosenstück, das seine Wirkung nicht verfehlt, ebenso wie Carl Scheindiensts, die CD beschließenden Variationen über Gestern Abend war der Vetter Michel da (ein langjähriges Highlight der Konzertprogramme des Duos).


Michala Petri verwendet vorwiegend neu entwickelte moderne Blockflöten, die einerseits einen größeren Tonumfang und eine größere Dynamik besitzen, sich im Klangcharakter aber erstaunlich dem Csakan nähern. Ihr Spiel ist brillant wie eh und je; in langsameren Episoden hätte ich mir allerdings manchmal ein flexibleres Vibrato und eine breitere klanglich-dynamische Palette gewünscht. Lars Hannibal begleitet auf hohem Niveau, je nach musikalischer Situation und Rollenverteilung stets das richtige Maß an Präsenz findend.


Man darf von den Werken dieser CD sicher keinen musikalischen Tiefgang erwarten, eines aber ganz sicher: gute Unterhaltung.

Heinz Braun (22.07.2010
Klassik Heute Magazine

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
Pizzacato on Virtuoso Baroque
Pizzicato Magazine
06 June 2008
Die Blockflöteistin Michala Petri und der Guitaristen Lars Hannibal sind ein Eingespieltes Duo, das sich blind versteht. Ihr Zusammenspiel ist makellos, technish steht Michala Petri über den Schwierigkeiten. So hat sie auch kein Problem, die Vorgaben des CD.Titels zu erfüllen: Wir erleben virtuos gespielte Werke von Vitali, Telemann, Bach, Vivaldi, Chédeville, Corelli, Tartini und Händel. Abgesehen davon, dass Tartinis Teufelstrillersonate auf der liebkichen Blockflöte nichts Dämonisches mehr hat, ist diese Einspielung zwar sehr nett, unterhaltsam - musikalisch allerdings nichssagend. February 2012
Pizzicato Magazine

Chen Yi, violin
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Melodies
Romantic Music for Violin and Guitar
Pizzicato Magazine review on Melodies
Pizzicato Magazine
03 June 2008
4 out of 5 notes.
Sweet classic hits by Massenet "Meditation", Kreislers "Liebestod", Händels "Largo", Schuberts "Ave Maria" to "Gymnopedié"  by Eric Satie., arranged for violin and guitar, and played with grace and great technically precision by Chen Yi, whose seductive violine sound is supported by Lars Hannibals empatic guitar sound.
Pizzicato Magazine

Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Virtuoso Baroque
Great review in Music Web International on Virtuoso Baroque
Music Web International
22 May 2008
Fans of Michala Petri will need little persuading to acquire this disc, and Lars Hannibal is also a known quantity for his fine recordings, including his contribution to duo works by Mauro Giuliani (see review). With this release the Petri/Hannibal duo celebrate twenty years of music-making, having given their first appeared on stage in 1991. I wasn't quite so keen on Petri's Mozart Flute Quartet recording (see review), if only because the nature of the recorder seemed less suited to ¼ membership of a string quartet when compared to the arguably more flexible flute or traverso. Given the transparency of accompaniment from the archlute there are no such issues here, and the highly virtuoso playing of Michala Petri soars unrestrained over lightly plucked harmonies.

Beautifully recorded in general, this is also a well chosen programme of pieces. The famous variations of Corelli's La Folia are a central masterpiece of the repertoire, and the bravura display in this piece echoes that of Vitali's Chaconne in G minor, which is a stunning opening to the disc: both movingly expressive and technically impressive both as a composition as in performance. Petri mixes up her instruments to a certain extent, so there is variation in colour of sound to be had in the lower instruments used for instance in the Grave of Telemann's Sonata in D minor, and the Vivaldi Pastorale from the Sonata in G major. This latter work is now known to be a forgery by Nicolas Chédeville, a well known musician and instrument-maker, whose subterfuge resulted in 'Vivaldi's' Il pastor fido Op. 13. This is fine music, and fits in well with the other pieces despite being something of a Cuckoo's egg in terms of authenticity.

Familiar flute pieces like J.S. Bach's Sonata in F major BWV 1033 work very well here, with the chains of sixteenth notes of the Presto something of a tour de force. Petri improvises some extra ornamental lines in the Adagio, but is effective within the idiom, and not going beyond the boundaries of believable contemporary practice. Another familiar piece is Tartini's "Devil's Trill" Sonata in G minor, more specifically for violin, but with some touches of expressive vibrato and superb dexterity very effective on Petri's recorder, in particular in the literally breathtaking central Allegro. Handel's urbane Sonata in B flat is a perfect close to a very fine recital.

Sumptuously printed in glossy colour, the booklet has substantial and informative notes by Joshua Cheek, and the whole production has a deluxe feel. In plain stereo I do detect some slight restriction in the recorder sound on high sustained notes – that or a dampening effect the balance has on the lute, something of which the SACD layer is also not entirely free. This is however a very minor point, picked out through highly analytical headphones. As far as I can tell the SACD layer is also stereo rather than surround audio. This is a fine disc which will provide great pleasure to recorder fans, showing us all the standards to which we humble amateurs can merely aspire.

Dominy Clements
Music Web International

Lars Hannibal, guitar
Chen Yue, bamboo flute (xiao)
Spirits
East Meets West
Another AMG Review on Spirits
American Record Guide
20 May 2008
OUR Recordings' Spirits features Danish guitar virtuoso Lars Hannibal in duet settings with a virtuoso of a kind not widely familiar in the West: soloist Chen Yue plays the Xiao, a bamboo flute as endemic to China's traditional music as rice is to its diet. The program is sub-titled "East meets West" and the program, made up of short pieces, is sort of a goulash of a lot of different kinds of tunes, not only Chinese melodies but bits of Bach and Vivaldi and tunes native to Denmark, Hungary, Japan, Catalonia. .. despite the wide variety of the material, Spirits and its perhaps unprecedented combination of Xiao and guitar, maintains a strikingly homogenous sound. The program is varied through occasional solo turns taken by both artists; Chen Yue's pieces are especially lovely, as her control of the Xiao is as natural as breathing. Hannibal's solo contributions are a good example of a facility not many virtuosi truly master; the Kreisler-like ability to play something relatively simple very well, even though you have chops to burn. As a whole, Spirits maintains a quiet, even-keel approach that makes for very pleasant listening, perhaps with a glass of burgundy and crackling flame in the fireplace.
Some may feel this is too New Agey for their tastes. Traditional Chinese music has sounded this way for a long time, well before the whole concept of either World Music or New Age came about in the West, and in China, anything that does not sound Chinese is automatically foreign. One might try re-tuning their ears a bit and dropping pre-conceived notions before approaching Spirit; those who cannot do so will miss a satisfying, and certainly relaxing, recital on an instrument that Chen Yue brings to life with her quiet and low key, though in its way astounding, artistry and seamlessly fluid tone.
American Record Guide

Michala Petri, recorder
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Siesta
Recorder and Guitar
MusicWeb Review on Siesta
MusicWeb Review
15 May 2008
The combination of recorder and classical guitar is popular and familiar to commercial recording. Another recent addition to the catalogue is Song Without Words (ABC Classics 476 5249), featuring guitarist Karin Schaupp and recorder player Genevieve Lacey.
 
Michala Petri is one of today's leading instrumentalists.  The amazing capabilities of the recorder in the hands of a virtuoso are admirably demonstrated in Ms. Petri's rendition of the Albert Lorentz variations for solo recorder (Philips 6514199).
 
Lars Hannibal is a musician well qualified to partner Ms. Petri in this recording of duets.  He studied guitar at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and lute with Toyohiko Satoh in The Hague.
 
On the review disc the highly complementary nature of the two musicians is immediately evident. The guitar playing, essentially accompaniment, is never dominant; neither is it unnecessarily subdued or secondary. Mr. Hannibal manages the right balance between attack and empathy for his partner.
 
It was once suggested that to obtain the technically perfect face, all one must do is create a collage of separate features each individually considered to be perfect. The results of such endeavours are invariably disappointing and fall short of that anticipated.
 
On this occasion the collage of outstanding individual musicianship, fine duet playing and excellent programme music produces less than that anticipated on several of the tracks; in the Piazzolla I was unable to feel at ease with some of this music played on the recorder.
 
This same uneasiness emerges in the slow section of the Villa- Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No 5 (13). Interestingly arrangements for classical guitar and saxophone fare no better in this particular piece of music.
 
With no recollections of similar reactions to the Schaupp/Lacey recording I again reviewed their disc. The programme is all from late eighteenth and nineteenth century classical composers, which may in part explain the ease with which the recording garnered appeal.
 
This may be a reaction paralleling that experienced when listening to the saxophone playing classical music having enjoyed it predominantly in a jazz context. When considering arrangements/transcriptions of music and the instrument or combinations of instruments on which it is to be played, personal preferences are invariably a dominant factor.
 
It is interesting to note that five different recorders are used on this recording; the guitar played by Lars Hannibal is a fine Ignacio Fleta made in 1961
 
My overall impression of the review disc is one of outstanding musicianship, great duo playing and a most enjoyable programme.
 
That said, some may require a period of adjustment before full appreciation of the recorder's role in interpreting certain of the programme items is realised; others may have no problem with this combination.
 
Greater editorial care would have avoided the incorrect listing for tracks 9 and 10, which on both the CD and cover should be reversed.

Zane Turner

To read this review online, click here.
MusicWeb Review

Chen Yi, violin
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Melodies
Romantic Music for Violin and Guitar
Great new review in American Magazine Fanfare on Melodies
Fanfare Magazine
14 May 2008
MELODIES • Chen Yi (vn); Lars Hannibal (gtr) • OUR 6.220602 (SACD: 62:08)

MASSENET Thaïs: Méditation. KREISLER Liebesleid. Schön Rosmarin. HANDEL Xerxes: Largo. Violin Sonata in b: Larghetto. SCHUBERT Ave Maria. MOZART Ave verum corpus. PARADIES (arr. Dushkin) Sicilienne. LALO Symphonie espagnole: Andante. BIZET Carmen: Entr'acte. GRIEG Cattle Call. Lullaby. GLUCK Dance of the Blessed Spirits and Air. PAGANINI Cantabile. SATIE 3 Gymnopédies

Guitarist Lars Hannibal adapted all the pieces in this program with violinist Tina Chen Yi for violin and guitar—with the exception of Paganini's Cantabile, originally conceived for that combination of instruments. But whatever the performing medium, the program continuously pours out melodies, each of which has become familiar to aficionados of the violin's salon repertoire. The program's having been recorded in Karlebo Church in Denmark may explain its reverberant atmosphere (possibly not entirely natural)—I listened in the CD format. But no amount of extra reverberation, real or artificial, could create the warmth of Chen's soaring sound on the E string in Massenet's popular Méditation (she plays a Chinese violin made by Shen Fei in 2004, which sounds suave in all registers, particularly in the highest and lowest ones).

Kreisler's Liebesleid sounds almost too richly characterized by the atmosphere the recorded sound has created (so does Schön Rosmarin, perhaps to an even more pronounced degree), but in the popular Largo from Xerxes, Hannibal's bewitching accompaniment provides a foil to Chen's understated, subtle performance. In Schubert's Ave Maria, a chestnut made popular for the violin in a ubiquitous arrangement by August Wilhelmj and Jascha Heifetz, Chen doesn't take the second statement in octaves, repeating it instead on the G string; the recorded sound makes the performance sound almost as though it had been given underwater, especially at the beginning. The same holds true, at least of the recorded sound, in Mozart's similarly religious Ave verum corpus. By the time the program has reached Paradies' Sicilienne, the similarities of the pieces' tempos will most likely have begun to take its toll on many listeners. The opening tutti of the Andante from Lalo's celebrated Symphonie espagnole demonstrates just how vibrantly Hannibal re-creates accompaniments written for other instruments or even ensembles. Here, in a part exceptionally well written for the violin, Chen makes a stunning effect together with her accompanist, playing with all the fiery Spanish flavor the work itself suggests and at the same time projecting the big personality of a concerto soloist even in the intimate surroundings she and Hannibal have chosen. Coming immediately after this reading, Chen's playing of Bizet's Entr'acte seems more restrained by the bounds of its slower tempo and cooler temperature. Handel's Larghetto, however, taps a richer interpretive vein—as may, for many listeners, Grieg's haunting Cattle Call. Gluck's Dance has become a violinistic chestnut in Fritz Kreisler's arrangement, and it's effective in Hannibal's as well, providing Chen many opportunities for heartfelt expressivity. Much of the interest in the duo's reading of Grieg's Lullaby arises from Hannibal's sensitively wrought accompaniment (seemingly both in conception and performance). Chen and Hannibal, once again, step more confidently to the fore in Paganini's Cantabile, in which they raise Paganini's soaring melody to an Italianate bel canto life, replete with violinistic touches that keep it consistently fresh despite its familiarity. The concluding Gymnopédies, creating a static though somewhat hypnotic emotional ambiance, reverts in these performances to the more reverberant, lower-voltage playing that characterizes so much of the program.

Chen indulges an occasional portamento, but the effect of her musicianship doesn't depend on such devices. Nevertheless, it's hard to listen to such a long program of similar pieces without noting that earlier violinists (the same I so often mention—Heifetz, Milstein, Stern, Francescatti, Oistrakh, Kreisler, Szigeti, and so on) would likely have given it a more striking profile overall while differentiating the pieces more distinctly. It's in programs like these that they're most sorely missed; Chen, despite her clean and expressive musicianship, doesn't dispel the sense of nostalgia. Recommended primarily to those in search of this kind of playing in this kind of program. Robert Maxham

This article originally appeared in Issue 33:6 (July/Aug 2010) of Fanfare Magazine.
Fanfare Magazine

Lars Hannibal, guitar
Chen Yue, bamboo flute (xiao)
Spirits
East Meets West
All Music Review on Spirits
All Music Guide
14 May 2008
Review by James Manheim 
Seemingly in tandem with China's growth as an economic player, a steady stream of releases of Chinese music, often displaying some kind of interaction with the West, has been appearing on the market. The Western influence, of course, is not new. Anyone who remembers the Chinese folk music beloved by the Maoists cannot fail to have been struck by the degree of Western harmony present in many of the arrangements. (Of course, that shouldn't have been a surprise, either, given the origins of Communism itself.) This release from Denmark's OUR label is both highly listenable and fascinating in terms of the cultural meeting points it represents. Chinese bamboo flutist Chen Yue and Danish guitarist Lars Hannibal take as a point of departure the fact that, however inscrutable they may appear to each other, Chinese traditional music and European concert music meet in the emphasis each places on melody, greater than in most of the world's other musical traditions. The mixture of Chinese and European on this album, which seems simple at first, turns out to be quite subtle. The program is a mixture of Chinese and Western tunes. Some of the Western ones, drawn from both classical and traditional repertories, are familiar (The Last Rose of Summer); some much less so. The pentatonic scales of the Chinese pieces are reduced to Western scale degrees, while the Western melodies seem to have been chosen for intervallic content and melody shapes that are intelligible in Chinese terms. The paradoxical result is that the Western tunes, if you sit and listen to this album for a while, start to sound Chinese, and the Chinese ones start to sound Western. The booklet is a minor masterpiece in itself (When mystic plain Oriental music is mixed with a romantic Western classical style, what do you feel? This is our sincere love for beautiful music!). Highly recommended, whether you are interested in musical mixtures or just like the sound of the bamboo flute, beautifully played.

To read this review online, click here.
All Music Guide

Michala Petri, recorder
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Siesta
Recorder and Guitar
10/10/10 from Klassik Heute on Siesta
Klassik Heute Magazine
05 May 2008
OUR Recordings 8.226900
Siesta

Michala Petri • Lars Hannibal

1 CD • 54 Min. • 2006

Details (19.09.2008)


 

Nach drei Jahrzehnten Präsenz und über 70 Veröffentlichungen auf dem internationalen Plattenmarkt entschloss sich die Blockflötistin Michala Petri zusammen mit ihrem Mann, dem Gitarristen Lars Hannibal, eigene Wege zu gehen. Sie gründeten ein eigenes Label mit dem sinnigen Namen OUR Recordings.

Siesta ist der Titel einer der ersten Produktionen der gemeinsamen Firma und präsentiert einen Ausschnitt aus dem Duo-Repertoire für Blockflöte und Gitarre, das beide Künstler seit Beginn ihrer Zusammenarbeit 1992 einem breiten Publikum in aller Welt vorgestellt haben. Rein äußerlich schon wirkt die CD mit ihren angenehmen erdfarbenen Tönen entspannend, und der Inhalt löst das optische Versprechen ein: Bewährte Klassiker wie Astor Piazzollas Histoire du Tango, Iberts Entr'acte oder Ravels Pièce en forme de Habanera sind der Garant für das unwiderstehliche Flair südlicher Sonne. Drei Stücke aus Brasilien von Heitor Villa–Lobos, die bekannte Sonatine Castelnuovo-Tedescos und der eigens für das Duo komponierte Tango català von Joan Albert Amargós ergänzen das Programm. Es ist erstaunlich, welche Vielfalt an Klangnuancen Michala Petri ihrer Blockflöte entlockt, die man bisher wohl nur einer Querflöte zutraute: warm im Ton, selbst in der Höhe wendig, nutzt sie den Vorteil verschiedener Instrumente der Blockflötenfamilie und stellt so manches altvertraute Stück in ein neues Licht. Michalas Zusammenarbeit mit dem spanischen Jazz-Pianisten und Komponisten Joan Albert Amargós trug bereits reiche Früchte: neben dem hier eingespielten Tango catalá, einem leicht melancholischen Amalgam aus südamerikanischem Tango und andalusischem Flamenco, schrieb Amargós ein großartiges Blockflötenkonzert für Michala Petri, das auf der CD Movements ebenso bei OUR Recordings erhältlich ist und 2008 – als erste Blockflötenaufnahme überhaupt – für einen Grammy nominiert wurde. Ganz wunderbar gelingen beiden Künstlern auch Iberts spritziger Entr'acte und die herrlich atmosphärisch-evozierenden Stücke Villa Lobos'.

Michala Petri und Lars Hannibal ist genau das geglückt, was man sich zum Programm der Aufnahme gemacht hatte: eine CD zum Zurücklehnen und Genießen.

Heinz Braun (19.09.2008)
Künstlerische Qualität:
  10
Bewertungsskala: 1-10
Klangqualität:
  10

Gesamteindruck:
  10
 

Komponisten/Werke Interpreten
A. Piazzolla:
• L' Histoire du Tango

J.A. Amargòs:
• Tango Català

M. Castelnuovo-Tedesco:
• Sonatina op. 205

M. Ravel:
• Pièce en forme de Habanera

J. Ibert:
• Entr'acte

H. Villa-Lobos:
• Modinha
• Distribução de Flôres
• Aria (Cantilena)

Michala Petri
Blockflöte
Lars Hannibal
Gitarre


Klassik Heute Magazine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
A 10/10/10 in Klassik heute for Chinese Recorder Concertos
Klassik Heute Magazine
03 March 2008
Wertung: 10 / 10 / 10

Wie nur wenige andere Künstler hat sich die dänische Blockflötenvirtuosin Michala Petri um die Etablierung der Blockflöte als ernst zu nehmendes Konzertinstrument verdient gemacht. Abseits der Alte-Musik- und Blockflötenszene ist sie seit Jahrzehnten ebenso in den großen Konzertsälen der Welt wie auf dem Tonträgermarkt präsent und erfolgreich. Aus dem einstigen Wunderkind ist längst eine reife, eigenständige Künstlerpersönlichkeit geworden.
Für Michala Petri war auch die Zeitgenössische Musik immer eine Herzensangelegenheit. Bekannte Komponisten haben eigens für sie komponiert, darunter Konzerte mit Orchester, Solowerke und Kammermusik. So bedeutende Konzerte wie Thomas Koppels Moonchild's Dream, Amargos' Northern Concerto, Daniel Börtz' Pipes and Bells, die Konzerte von Vagn Holmboe und Malcolm Arnold verdanken ihr Entstehen der dänischen Musikerin. Seit einigen Jahren veröffentlicht Petri ihre Neuaufnahmen beim eigenen Label Our Recordings und genießt so die Freiheit, sich vermehrt Projekten zu widmen, die sie selbst wichtig findet. Dass dies durchaus nicht im Widerspruch zu kommerziellem Erfolg stehen muss, belegen die herausragenden Kritiken und der große Zuspruch, dessen sich die CDs erfreuen. 2008 bescherte dem Label sogar eine Grammy-Nominierung für Movements, eine CD mit zeitgenössischen Blockflötenkonzerten (OUR Recordings 6.220531).
Gleichsam als Fortsetzung dieser Reihe – und nach der Kammermusik-CD Dialogue (OUR Recordings 6.220600) als Teil des kulturübergreifenden East meets West Projektes, das Petri und ihr Mann Lars Hannibal selbst initiierten – stellt die vorliegende Produktion mit chinesischen Konzerten einen weiteren Höhepunkt dar. Mit Tang Jianping (VR China), Ma Shui-long (Taiwan) und den beiden mittlerweile in den USA beheimateten Auslands-Chinesen Bright Sheng und Chen Yi setzt Petri auf Komponisten der mittleren und älteren Generation, die sich in ihren Heimatländern größter Popularität erfreuen. Bis auf das 2008 in der Verbotenen Stadt in Beijing uraufgeführte Konzert The Ancient Chinese Beauty der Komponistin Chen Yi (in einer Live-Aufnahme bereits auf  OUR 8.226905 veröffentlicht) sind die Stücke von den Komponisten in enger Zusammenarbeit mit Michala Petri für Blockflöte eingerichtet worden (ursprünglich waren sie für die chinesischen Bambusflöten  dizi und bang di bzw. im Falle Shengs für moderne Querflöte gedacht). Michala Petri verwendet verschiedene Blockflötentypen und verleiht den Konzertsätzen damit eine ganz individuelle Note. Alle eingespielten Konzerte sind von großem Reiz: Fei Ge von Tang Jianping (ursprünglich für dizi und ein pan-asiatisches Instrumentalensemble komponiert) wurde vom Komponisten selbst für westliches Symphonieorchester und Blockflöte eingerichtet. Inspiriert u.a. von der Musikkultur der Miao schuf Tang ein farbenreiches, dramatisches Werk von mitreißend tänzerischem Schwung. Das Konzert seines taiwanesischen Landsmannes Ma Shui-long überzeugt durch die gelungene Verbindung chinesischen Kolorits mit westlicher Formstruktur, die Noblesse der Thematik und nicht zuletzt durch eine virtuose Solokadenz der Blockflöte. Flute Moon von Bright Sheng wird vielleicht am unmittelbarsten dem Motto East meets West gerecht: Das Werk verbindet in seiner Klangsprache die unwiderstehliche Motorik in der Nachfolge Strawinskys mit einer typisch chinesischen, delikaten Behandlung der Farbpalette des Orchesters. Ebenso Chen Yi, die es in The Ancient Chinese Beauty versteht, eine ansprechende Musik von lichter Textur zu schreiben, die den charakteristischen Charme chinesischer Melodik mit eingängiger Motorik, Glissandi und Pizzikati à la Bartók verbindet.
Einen besseren Anwalt für diese Musik als Michala Petri und das Kopenhagener Philharmonische Orchester unter Lan Shui kann man sich kaum vorstellen! OUR Recordings hat mit dieser in jeder Hinsicht überragenden Produktion einen Meilenstein gesetzt: Von der Aufnahmetechnik bis zum sehr informativen, ausführlichen Booklet und dem nicht zuletzt sehr ansprechenden Design. Ein wirklich großer Wurf!

Heinz Braun
(27.10.2010)
Klassik Heute Magazine

Chen Yi, violin
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Melodies
Romantic Music for Violin and Guitar
UK Reviews from Kevin Bryan, Lokal news papers (500.000 people)
Kevin Bryan, Lokal
03 March 2008
This evocative collarboration between Danish guitaris Hannibal and Chinese violinist Chen Yi fearures the former's arrangements of a string of melodic pieces from the classical repertoire. many of these works are normally heard as crowd-pleasing violin encores, with Kreisler's "Schön Rosmarin" and "Liebesleid" and Massenet's " Meditiation from Thais" emerging as the highlights og a gloriously tuneful recital.
Kevin Bryan, Lokal

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
Review in Braille Magazine on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Braille Magazine
03 March 2008
BRAILLE MAGAZINE

This is the Third Instalment of "Dialogue - East Meets West" series. Chinese Recorder Concertos offers four contemporary works by Chinese, Chinese-American and Taiwanese composers. The diversity of material includes: richly scored folk-inspired; fluid pentatonic romanticism; re-interpretations of Ancient China. The technical demands are considerable and those with an interest in Chinese music and the recorder may well wish to experience a fusion of cultures.
- Roger Firman, Nov 2010
Braille Magazine

Chen Yi, violin
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Melodies
Romantic Music for Violin and Guitar
Leading German Chambermusic Magazine Ensemble on Melodies
Ensemble
03 March 2008
Romantish verträumt:
The opening Text for this CD discribes the chosen repertoire as " a soundtrack for a daydream, or twillight accompaniment for a romantic dinner". It could not have been better formulated and all the works are romantic with focus on the Melodie.
The compilation of works includes expected works such as Shuberts Ave Maria, Händels famous Largo, Massenet Meditaion and Paganinis Cantabile, and when you get use to the many transcriptions, like Mozarts Ave Verum Corpus, it works well. The focus group of buyers for such a production would certainly not mind the transcriptions when it is is done so musical conviencing, with beautiful tone, clear lines and great dynamic like here all the way through!
Detlev Borg
Ensemble

Michala Petri, recorder
Lan Shui, conductor
Chinese Recorder Concertos
East Meets West
5 Star Review for Chinese Recorder Concertos in Audiophile Audition
Audiophile Audition
27 February 2008
All four recorder concertos are fascinating, most enjoyable, and quite different from one another.

Published on October 24, 2010

Chinese Recorder Concertos "East Meets West" - TANG JIANPING: Fei Ge; BRIGHT SHENG: Flute Moon; MA SHUI-LONG: Bamboo Flute Concerto; CHEN YI: The Ancient Chinese Beauty - Michala Petri recorder/Copenhagen Philharmonic/Lan Shui - OUR Recordings multichannel SACD 6.22603, 71:29 [10/26/10] *****:

Michala Petri may be the top classical recorder virtuoso in the world.  She has made many recordings for RCA and EMI in the past and in 2006 formed with guitarist Lars Hannibal her own record label, OUR Recordings. She has an amazing repertory, ranging from early music to the contemporary music world, and a number of commissioned works especially for her performance. She has performed with other classical guitarists as well as Hannibal. Conductor Shui is with both the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and also the Copenhagen Philharmonic. As with some other artists who have launched their own labels, Petri believes in offering the highest fidelity to those who appreciate it, and therefore this release is a hybrid SACD.

All four recorder concertos are fascinating, most enjoyable, and quite different from one another. The three-part Fei Ge is translated Flying Song, and it was originally created for the Chinese bamboo flute accompanied by a Pan-Asian group of instruments. The composer rearranged it for recorder and western orchestra. The title comes from the melodies of the improvisatory opening section being reminiscent of some Chinese Flying Songs.  Flute Moon, by well-known Chinese composer Bright Sheng, was a commission of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. Its inspiration came from the Chinese unicorn, which is also known as the "dragon horse." The first and shorter of the two movements is in a Stravinskian style. The second movement is based on an art song by a Song Dynasty poet and composer.

The Bamboo Flute Concerto, also known as the Bang Di Concerto, is the best-known composition of Chen Yi, and a successful musical synthesis of East and West. The Bang Di is the sopranino member of a family of Chinese flutes which have an extra hole drilled in the flute body, covered by a square piece of bamboo membrane to add resonance and amplify the flute's sound. Though the melodies often come from Chinese folk music, the composer has followed the conventions of the western classical concerto. I found these three-movement concerto less tonal and melodic than the other three. 

The closing concerto is a lovely work inspired by various elements of Chinese culture, including Han Dynasty clay figurines, ancient totems, and the script style of the Tang Dynasty. She specifies the use of the alto recorder for the first and third movements and the tenor recorder for the second movement. The tenor is intended to invoke the sounds of both the large bamboo flute and the Xun, an ocarina-type of instrument. The wide-range frequency spectrum of the excellent SACD surround preserves the often extended and expressive highest timbres of the various recorders, which are beautifully set off against the orchestra.

-- John Sunier

Audiophile Audition

Michala Petri, recorder
Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Movements
Classic Today's Review on Movements
Classic Today
27 January 2008
Anyone who claims that the recorder's tiny dimensions cannot possibly compete in a solo capacity against a full-sized 21stcentury
orchestra should investigate these three dazzling and inventive concertos, written for and tailored to Michala Petri's singular virtuosity.

Spanish composer Joan Albert Amargós' three-movement Northern Concerto provides the recorder with limber, jazzy melodies that effortlessly float in, around, and above an orchestral canvas that allows all participants to shine, collectively and individually. The brass and percussion get particularly invigorating workouts, while the finale features unexpected yet delightful solo turns from the bassoon and muted trumpet.
By contrast, Swedish composer Daniel Börtz's Pipes and Bells is a dark, snarling opus, filled with tension-inducing trills, obsessive ostinatos, long notes stretched to the edge of sanity, and the occasional lyrical oasis.

Each of the three movements in Steven Stucky's Etudes goes way beyond merely addressing specific technique. In the first, for example, the orchestral instruments eagerly take up the recorder's scale patterns more-or-less at tempo, only to slow them down and scrutinize them as soft, sustained chords hover in the background. The second movement "Glides" features falling glissandos that are more about melodic nuances and expressive gestures than sound effects. The piano, harp, and percussion set off, complement, and sometimes compete with the recorder's witty arpeggios throughout the third movement.

The sheer musicality and sense of character Petri brings to these works almost make you take her extraordinary technique and tone control for granted. Lan Shui's brilliant leadership inspires the Danish National Symphony Orchestra/SR to convey all of the color and vivacity that these scores demand, helped by the Danish Broadcasting Production team's breathtaking engineering.

Don't miss this stunning release!
--Jed Distler
Classic Today

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
5 Star review in SA-CD.net for "The Nightingale"!
SA-CD
15 January 2008
(Following is an excerpt from my review for Choral Journal, published by the American Choral Directors Association:) Danish recorder virtuoso Michala Petri had collaborated with a choir several times during her career, but she found her 2007 experience with Swedish composer Daniel Börtz (b. 1943) especially rewarding. Following the Stockholm premiere of Börtz's Nemesis divina, Petri and guitarist  Lars Hannibal, who produces her recordings for their own label, actively began to seek out further choral collaborators. First to join them was Latvian composer Ugis Praulins (b. 1957), who proposed a text drawn from Hans Christian Andersen's beloved tale The Nightingale, and drew in conductor Stephen Layton. Layton was then directing the newly formed Danish National Vocal Ensemble, which seemed a good match for the project. They were eventually joined by composers Sunleif Rasmussen (Faroese) and Peter Bruun (a Dane), both recent winners of the Nordic Council of Music award. The resulting disc reveals the stunning variety and vitality of North European choral music today.

Although all four composers here offer choral works of the highest quality (and technical difficulty), the music of Praulins and Bruun stands out. Praulins' The Nightingale rightly leads off the program. Its eclectic, dynamic character will remind some listeners of works like Eric Whitacre's Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine. The composer's background in progressive and heavy-metal rock bands, Latvian folk music and ritual, film and television scoring, and Renaissance counterpoint has enabled him to produce a continuously changing tapestry of sound that nevertheless hangs together remarkably well, effortlessly expressing the fancy in the Andersen fragments. And it all sounds quite "vocal," including the phenomenal part for solo recorder, which is woven throughout the score, often sharing material with the singers.

In his Two Scenes with Skylark, Peter Bruun (b. 1968) relies on more traditional long-form poetry, in this case two of Gerard Manley Hopkins' "skylark" poems. As Joshua Cheek writes in his excellent program notes, "Rising above the earth and soaring through the skies, Hopkins' birds are metaphors for the soul . . . leading mortals to contemplate supernatural realms that lie beyond ordinary experience." The first poem, "The Sea and the Skylark," celebrates the power and freedom of nature and its least land-bound creatures; here the soprano recorder easily assumes the role of the ascending lark, "his rash-fresh re-winded new-skeinéd score" appearing to "pour / And pelt music, till none's to spill nor spend." In contrast, the second setting, "The Caged Skylark," meditates on humanity's futile, earthbound existence; Petri switches to tenor recorder, breathy, somber, closer to the human voice. Bruun's choral style is more traditional, and he has managed the difficult feat of complementing Hopkins' poetry without offering unwelcome competition to the poet's incomparable reinventions of English.

The other two selections more than hold their own in this distinguished company. Börtz's Nemesis divina, based on philosophic writings by the eighteenth-century botanist Carl Linnaeus, pays homage to the composer's countryman and sometime collaborator, filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. Börtz "has [often] engaged the metaphysical darkness found in many of Bergman's films" (Cheek) and does so here, but the outcome is never less than engaging, because Börtz's sense of drama always informs his sure control of musical structure. Likewise I, by Sunleif Rasmussen (b. 1961) provides an engrossing examination of Wallace Stevens' Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, as deconstructed by Danish poet Inger Christensen. Petri's bass and soprano recorders blend seamlessly with the expert singing of the DNVE.

Everything was recorded in the resonant space of Copenhagen's Christianskirken, but fortunately the acoustic enlivens the sound of the twenty-voice choir and the soloist rather than swamping them in sonic mud. The vocal soloists are drawn from the choir and do a superb job, as did conductor Layton. This was probably the single most enjoyable choral recording I encountered in 2011. I see that it has been nominated for a couple of Grammy Awards. One can only hope that the disc sells well, and that the music will be more widely performed; perhaps the composers will be persuaded to offer editions with the recorder part modified for a flutist. Not everyone can call upon a soloist as skilled as Michala Petri, and it would be a shame if these glorious pieces were consigned to oblivion because the "star" was not available to render her lines.
SA-CD

Michala Petri, recorder
Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Movements
All Music Guide on Movements
All Music Guide
12 October 2007
To get a canary to stop singing, you put a blanket over its cage; the recorder family was a whole group of instruments that had the proverbial blanket thrown over it from the time the transverse flute appeared in about 1720 until Arnold Dolmetsch built his first good recorder in 1919. Two hundred years of sleep is a long time, and the recorder's long eclipse certainly hasn't aided it in the development of a sizeable concerto repertoire, especially as the recorder disappeared just as the very idea of a solo concerto became common. Arch recorder virtuoso Michala Petri is helping to rectify this situation through commissioning contemporary composers to fill in the gap, and thus to gain pace on the recorder's arch-enemy, the flute, and her Our Recordings release, "Movements", is an outstanding example of the very good work that Petri has done on behalf of the instrument.

These are three very different concerti penned by three very carefully chosen composers; what they have in common is that they can create music that is solid and dynamic, yet is neither so sycophantic to the audience that they seem nostalgic nor so academic and dry as to seem forbidding and cold. Spanish composer Joan Albert Amargos has stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with his Northern Concerto (2005), it is dramatic, bold and exciting with plenty of appealing, even lush, musical passages – among "northern" concertos, Albert Amargos' is perhaps the most tropical sounding ever. 

Swedish composer Daniel Bortz' Pipes and Bells (2002) is made of somewhat tougher stuff, but is no more alienating than what one might encounter in a typical modern movie soundtrack; Pipes and Bells maintains an excellent sense of dramatic form and employs the widest range of instrumental effects here. Steven Stucky's Etudes are a bit more rigorous and straightforward than in his usual modus operandi, and are certainly no worse for that. As one might deduce from the movement titles – "Scales", "Glides" and "Arpeggios" – Stucky's work is largely given over to patterns of various kinds, most of which reside in the domain of Petri. Stucky's colorful orchestration effectively punctuates these patterns and overall, it is an intriguing, rather zany work.

Conductor Lan Shui cracks the whip and never allows the Danish National Symphony Orchestra get out of line and the recording, made by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, is astonishingly realistic – you almost hear the percussion sounding behind your head. As one can imagine, Michala Petri is very much on her game here, easily earning and even exceeding even the accolades given her by the composers whose works are represented on this outstanding recording.

The blanket is off the cage, and in OUR Recordings' "Movements", the time has come for the canary to sing in the musical language of our time.

Uncle Dave Lewis
All Music Guide
  OUR Recordings
Esromgade 15, opg.1 3.floor, room 1315
2200 Copenhagen N
Denmark
Tel: +45 4015 05 77
E-mail: hannibal@michalapetri.com
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