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currently showing records for:
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

Michala Petri, recorder
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Siesta
Recorder and Guitar
All Music Review on Siesta
All Music Guide
26 June 2007
Review by James Manheim 
This recording, a new manifestation of the increasingly common trend that has seen virtuoso performers issuing new material on their own labels, looks as though it should be almost impossible to pull off, and recorder player Michala Petri and guitarist Lars Hannibal execute it so smoothly that you forget they're doing anything unusual. The program consists mostly of music originally written for flute and guitar, with a few other transcriptions including two from vocalises (Ravel's Pièce en forme de Habanera and Cantilena from the Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5). Many are full of quick runs that are much more difficult on the recorder than on the flute, yet they are smoothness itself in Petri's hands. As the Siesta title suggests, the music has a Latin tinge and a consistent relaxed mood. All of it is from the twentieth century, and it contains one unfamiliar but worthwhile find — the Tango Catalá or Catalan Tango of Joan Albert Amargós. Petri accomplishes some of her technical wizardry by switching from recorder to recorder according to the music's range, even among movements of the four movements of the Astor Piazzolla Histoire du tango. (The Castelnuovo-Tedesco Sonatina, Op. 205, is all played on a single alto recorder.) The result is not a jarring diversity of tone but rather greater homogeneity as Petri uses the instruments' differences to bring the music more comfortably under her fingers. This album might even fulfill the relaxation function the title suggests, and for recorder players it's a more or less mandatory look at what the instrument can accomplish. For any listener it's a superb example of light music, which at its best always carries an element of surprise.

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

Fabelhafte Flötentöne
Eckehard Uhlig, Porzheimer Zeitung
26 June 2007
Michala Petri war die bejubelte Solistin beim 6. Abokonzert des Südwestdeutschen Kammerorchesters Pforzheim

Formulierungen wie „filigraner Flötenzauber" oder „atemberaubende Brillanz" überbieten sich in den Feuilletons, wenn von der Blockflötenspielerin Michala Petri die Rede ist. Vom Pforzheimer Konzert der Solistin im Jahre 1999 schwärmen noch heute die Musikfreunde. Kein Wunder also, dass das 6. Abokonzert des SWDKO mit der Ausnahme-Flötistin im CongressCentrum nahezu ausverkauft war.

Michala Petri ist eine besondere Erscheinung im Konzertbetrieb und trotz ihres unscheinbar kleinen Instruments auf faszinierende Weise präsent. In den Solopausen, wenn das Orchester allein musiziert, steht sie hochkonzentriert aufgerichtet und nahezu regungslos vor dem Ensemble. Und selbst wenn sie spielt, sind eigentlich nur ihre Hände, der Mund und die leuchtenden Augen bewegt. Nun tanzen und wirbeln die Finger geheimnisvoll über die Grifflöcher ihrer Flöte hinweg, die in vorbildlicher Haltung zwischen Mund und Handflächen arretiert zu sein scheint. Was sich dabei an atemtechnischen Finessen zwischen den Lippen der Spielerin und dem Labium des Flötenkopfes abspielt, kann man nur ahnen. In der Verbindung von hoher Tonkunst und virtuosem Spiel liegt das Geheimnis ihres Erfolgs. Detailbesessen sind die kleinen Formeln und Figuren ausgearbeitet. Jede Phrasierung scheint bedacht und so wirkungskräftig in den Zusammenhang gesetzt, dass sich beim Zuhören die Sinne schärfen. Die Beweglichkeit ihrer Finger lassen Widerstände vergessen und bieten ein Bild schierer Mühelosigkeit. Es gibt Momente, in denen klanglich und spieltechnisch die Grenzen der Flöte überschritten scheinen, egal welches Instrument aus der Alt- und Sopranflötensammlung gerade genutzt wird. Freilich weisen die schwarzen aus Ebenholz andere Klangfärbungen auf als die rotbraunen aus Tiroler Ahorn oder die dunklen aus Zeder. Und natürlich kommt das behände Musizieren mit dem ganz hohen, auch als „Flautino" bezeichneten „Garklein"-Flötlein einer Sensation gleich. Den ganzen Reichtum ihres solistischen Könnens spielte Petri in der Wiedergabe der Suite für Blockflöte und Streicher des Engländers Gordon Jacob (1895–1984) aus, ein Stück, das moderne Kompositionselemente und folkloristischen Charakter sehr eng auf barocke Traditionen bezieht. Sanft schwebend und perfekt mit dem Duktus des Streichorchesters verzahnt, wurde das „Prelude" gegeben. Mit rhythmisch markanter Rasanz der folgende „English Dance", wobei auch der Humor des Komponisten zum Ausdruck kam. Impressionistisch, an Debussy erinnernd, wirkte die klagende „Lament", ausgelassen der Flötensopran in der amerikanischen „Burlesca alla rumba". Lyrisch-Elegisches steuerte die „Pavane" bei, ein versiertes Flötensolo hatten „Introduction and cadenza" zu bieten. Die erregende „Tarantella" sorgte mit unerhörtem Tempo für den Abschluss. Auch die Interpretation von Telemanns Suite a-Moll für Blockflöte, Streicher und Generalbass zeichnete sich durch draufgängerische Tongebung aus. Punktierte Rhythmen wurden federnd leicht genommen, geschlungene Kantilenen mit einer tonlichen Geschmeidigkeit ohnegleichen, die „Gespräche" zwischen Solistin und Orchester fein ausbalanciert. Vor allem in den rasanten Tempi der Allegro-Sätze sprudelten die spitzzüngigen Stakkati der Flautino-Läufe wie glockenhelle Silbertöne und zauberhafter Vogelgesang.

Das Südwestdeutsche Kammerorchester unter Sebastian Tewinkel meisterte seine Ensemble-Aufgabe mit Bravour und glänzte zudem in Händels Concerto Grosso G-Dur op. 6 Nr. 1, in Ottorino Respighis „Antiche Danze ed Arie und in Igor Strawinskys „Concerto en Ré" mit klaren Konturen, Transparenz und vor allem dynamischer Beweglichkeit. Da wollte der Beifall des begeisterten Pforzheimer Publikums kein Ende nehmen.
Eckehard Uhlig, Porzheimer Zeitung

Michala Petri, recorder
Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Movements
Peter Grahame Woolf on Etudes
Peter Grahame Woolf
25 May 2007
An exemplary production which brings back to notice the virtuoso recorder player Michala Petri, who used to be heard a lot in UK when she burst onto the scene in the already distant past. Now there are many dedicated soloists, who have raised the standard for this once humble instrument to dizzy heights.

        These three ambitious concertante works composed for her are ideally contrasted and show Michala Petri now at the height of her powers. I have listened through twice, the second time in reverse order, which I prefer and adopt here.

        The American Steven Stucky's Etudes are sharp, clear and effective, with instrumentation which sets off the solo instrument perfectly. Initially concerned that its range of expression and dynamics would be limiting, he was soon persuaded otherwise, and this is a highly viable work, live or recorded, which deserves widest currency.

        Daniel Bœrtz is a significant Swedish composer who sets the variously sized recorders, using their extended techiques possibilities, against spare but highly effective backgrounds, carrying considerable emotional force. This is the piece I shall return to most often.

      Amargós' Northern Concerto is eclectic and colourful, the skilled musician's "aesthetic multiplicity" tending towards the populist, but far from simplistic. A relaxing, hedonistic work that is ideal for ending a listening session.

        The folding-type packaging (far more attractive than jewel cases) is enhanced by beautiful and intriguing paintings (Lars Physant) and good graphic design. Recording quality and balance can be taken for granted and this is a CD which should enjoy great success.

        Do consider it in conjunction with Dan Laurin's equally innovative and successful 21st-century music for recorder.
Peter Grahame Woolf

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great review in US Magazine Choral Journal on "The Nightingale"
Choral Journal
30 April 2007
.

    The…disc reveals the stunning variety and vitality of North European choral music today.     Praulins's The Nightingale rightly leads off the program. 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.     The other…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…     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. One can only hope that the music will be more widely performed… © 2012 Choral Journal Lawrence Schenbeck

Choral Journal

Michala Petri, recorder
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble
The Nightingale
Great review on the Nightingale in american internet magazine PS Audio
PS Audio
07 March 2007
And here is another recording worth checking out: Michala Petri, recorder superstar, teamed with the Danish National Vocal Ensemble and conductor Stephen Layton (another Brit!) in four works composed especially for her. The result is The Nightingale from OUR Recordings, another multichannel must-have. Just listen to the first cut:



"My word! That's lovely!" These books went all over the world / and so in course of time / some of them reached the Emperor / there he sat in his golden chair reading: / "But the nightingale is really the best of all." (After Hans Christian Andersen)

The rich invention of The Nightingale (music by Ugis Praulins, b. 1957), based upon Andersen's beloved tale of the emperor and the nightingale, is matched—at least—by the other standout work on this SACD, 2 Scenes with Skylark, on texts by Gerard Manley Hopkins.



On ear and ear two noises too old to end . . . Left hand, off land, I hear the lark ascend, / His rash-fresh re-winded new-skeinèd score / In crisps of curl off wild winch whirl, and pour / And pelt music, till none's to spill nor spend.

Danish composer Peter Bruun (b. 1968) lists Duran Duran, Simple Minds, and Spandau Ballet among his first musical influences. Since completing conservatory training he's written in many genres, but he obviously keeps the audience in mind, easily melding pop-culture moments with sophisticated harmonies and counterpoint. In the second of the 2 Scenes, he mates the breathy, dark sound of Petri's tenor recorder with Hopkins' meditation on the finitude of human life:



Both [man and lark] sing sometimes the sweetest, sweetest spells, / Yet both droop deadly sometimes in their cells . . . / Not that the sweet-fowl, song-fowl, needs no rest / Why, hear him, hear him babble and drop down to his nest, / But his own nest, wild nest, no prison. / Man's spirit will be flesh-bound when found at best, / But uncumbered: meadow-down is not distressed / For a rainbow footing it nor he for his bónes rísen.
PS Audio

Petri og Hannibal brød muren
Lars Zachariassen, Fredericia Dagblad
01 November 2005
Humor og alvor i skøn forening. I godt fem kvarter tryllebandt Michala Petri og Lars Hannibal i aftes en stuvende fuld Hannerup kirke. Ja, så mange havde fundet vej, at rummets arkitektoniske pryd, den halvcirkel formede mur, blev brudt af klapstole, der måtte sættes op ekstra. Også oppe bag muren. Musikerne og ægtefolkene Petri og Hannibal er et tip-top begavet og samtidig dejligt uhøjtideligt par. Fliden og talentmassen er så mageløs, at vi i selve jantelovens Danmark ikke ville løfte så meget som et øjenbryn, hvis parret skulle få den ide, at ville sætte sig selv op på en piedestal. For der hører de hjemme. Men på intet tidspunkt under hele koncerten gav de udtryk for at have nok i sig selv. De delte rundhåndet ud af gaverne og gav os et løft, vi vil kunne trække på, helt indtil lyset kommer igen.

Afslappet nærvær De forløser musikken med integritet og loyalitet, som i sig selv gør blød. De træder begge tilbage for musikken, men optræder samtidigt med et både dybt koncentreret og afslappet nærvær præget af charme og varme. Musikken klingede af højtid. Det kommer den til, når den sættes i klang med et så funklende teknisk overskud som i aftes. Tilsammen nåede de to at sætte så mange toner an, som der er stjerner på himlen. Michala Petri ophævede tyngdeloven med sine fløjter. Vi svævede afsted med lysets hastighed, eller vi drev for vinden som et dun fra et af dyrene i de mange tonelandskaber, som fløjterne skabte for vort indre.

Æstetisk I de fleste af de programsatte værker stod æstetikken i højsædet. Skønheden som sandhed og overbevisende kraft. Med Petris svimlende virtuositet og krystalklare høreblik for alt, hvad der rørte sig i musikken, var det en smal sag for os som modtagere, at lade os fange ind af musikken. Og hendes fortælling blev understøttet på det fornemmeste af Hannibal på henholdsvis lut og guitar.

Dansk præg Hans fortolkning af Segovias' transkription af Albeniz' Asturias var nok mere præget af et dansk end et fyrigt sydlandsk temperament. Men det forhindrede ikke farverne i at eksplodere, som de skulle og flænge solens indædte flimren. Tonerne klingede frit fra guitarens klangkasse, og stykket blev spillet så virtuost, at detaljens myldren kunne fungere som dynamo i et musikalsk drama. Ideeen med at bryde programmet og sætte Michala Petris eget arrangement af variationer over Mads Doss ind efter Asturias var god. På den måde undgik den mere lavmælte guitar at skulle optræde lige efter fløjtens lidt skarpere tonefokus. Og også - viste det sig -at komme efter Petris totalt afvæbnende opvisning i alle tænkelige eller snarere utænkelige kuriøsiteter og effektfulde virkemidler på blokfløjten. Og selvfølgelig: Uden bare så meget som skyggen af en misser. Bachs Air blev spillet dårende dejligt på fløjten uden en eneste drop i vejrtrækningen og dermed i klangen i ydertonerne, og de fem miniaturer af Grieg stod både faste og fulde af karakter. Nu skulle koncerten slutte, men publikum ville ikke give sig. Det ville høre mere, og fik det. To ekstranumre af hvilken Asger Lund Christiansens visuelt herligt stimulerende stykke om vipstjerten ikke gjorde mindst lykke.
Lars Zachariassen, Fredericia Dagblad

Schier unglaubliche Virtuosität
Augsburger Allegemeine
21 March 2005
Michala Petri und Lars Hannibal spielten bei den Sommerkonzerten im Kongregationssaal

Einen Höhepunkt des diesjährigen Konzerterlebens in Neuburg an der Donau setzte Michala Petri mit ihrem Partner Lars Hannibal, Musik won Barock bis in die Gegenwart interpretierten die beiden auf Blockflöte und Gitarre mit hohem Einfühlungsvermögen und schier unglaublich scheinender Virtuosität. Das kammermusikalische Glanzlicht der Sommerkonzerte zwischen Donau und Altmühl begeisterte das Publikum im komplett ausverkauften Kongregationssaal über die Massen.

Schon mit den ersten Tönen zieht Herzensruhe ein. Michala Petri spielt die Altflöte mit derart beseeltem Ansatz, dass alle Hektik alltäflicher Sorge unmittelbar heiterer Gelassenheit weicht. Mit staunenswerter Virtiosität und sanftestem Gefühl intoniert sie Johann Sebastian Bachs Sonate für Altblockflöte und Basso Continuo nach BWV 1033.

Lars Hannibal brilliert an der Laute wie nach der Pause an der Gitarre mit empathischer Zuordnung und idealer Kongruenz der Begleitung. Michala Petri ist hörbar keine Jüngerin der streng genommenen historischen Aufführung. Ihre Flöte strömt nur so von samtener Emotionalität, die in weiträumig gebundener Phraisierung eine hohes Mass an Wärme und sinnlicher Klangschönheit vermittelt. Blockflöte und Gitarre:die beiden wohl am meisten verbreiteten Instrumente, erstere ausserhalb des Kontextes historischer Aufführungspraxis meist nur gewürdigt alt "pädagogisch wertvolles, leicht erlernbares Schulinstrument" für Kinder und Jungendliche, wie die Instrumentenkunde zu vermelden weiss.

Weit gefehlt: Michala Petris Vortrag von Corellis "La Follia" in der von Corelli selbst publizierten Flötenfassung straft solche Naivität Lügen. Die 24 Variationen schöpfen kompositorische, technische und emotionale Möglichkeiten bis zur Neige aus. Michala Petri und Lars Hannibal widmen sich ihnen mit hingebungsvollem Blick auf die Schönheit einer Perle, die von allen Seiten betrachtet schimmert in unerschöpflichem Glanz.

Zuvor schon hatte die Flötistin Bachs Cello Suite Nr. 1 in einer transkribtierten Flötenfassung in einen neuen solistischen instrumentalen Kontext gestellt, der wohl bekannten Satzfolge ganz neue klangliche Aspekte abgewonnen. Dabei mögen die Gelehrten streiten, ob Bach so wiel emotionale Hingabe verträgt. Zum Hören im Hier und Jetzt kann diese Frage wohlgemut bejaht werden.

TartinisTeufeltriller-Sonate lässt wiederum die Virtuosität von Petri in den Vordergrund treten. Der Kontrast von Traum und Teufelsritt im 3. Satz wird unterstrichen durch den Wechsel von Alt- und Sopranflöte und wirbelt nur so in rasanter Fingerfertigkeit. Das sind freilich Kabinettstückchen, mit denen frau glänzen kann. Bei Petri jedoch kommt nie der Eindruck auf, die Virtuosität sei zur Schau gestellte Artistik. Es geht ihr spürbar darum, dem eher sparsamen Timbre der Flöte und ihrer scheinbaren Simplizität möglichst viel Ausdrucksmöglichkeiten abzugewinnen.

Das gelingt in einen erstaunlichen Klangspektrum um so differenzierter, je selbstverständlicher auch die anspruchsvollsten Passagen bewältiigt werden. Nicht einmal Glissandi oder schwierigste schromatische Läufe scheinen Mühe zu bereiten. Die zweite Konzerthälfte wechselt zwischen facettenreich funkelnden Glanzstücken wie Mauro Giulianis Gran Duette Concertante aus der fast blockflötenlosen Zeit um den Beginn des 10. Jahrhunderts, temperamentvollen Impressionen in den Zigeunerweisen von Pablo De Sarasate oder den Tangos von Astor Piazzolla und schwelgerischer Melodiosität in Jules Massenets Meditation aus der Oper Thäis und der eingängigen Fantasie Norwègienne von Edouard Lalo. Fast zu schön um wahr zu sein.
Augsburger Allegemeine

Michala Petri, recorder
Lars Hannibal, guitar & archlute
Air
FINE American Record Guide on Petri-Hannibal Duo
American Record Guide
29 January 1998
Michala Petri is one of the finest instrumentalists making recordings today. This is her second recording with Lars Hannibal, who proves to be as flexible and multi-faceted a musician as she. They present the music (all in transcriptions by Petri and Hannibal except for the Faurè, which is by Laurindo Almeida) in an interesting manner: the three Gymnopedies by Satie are separated and spread around, offering a bit of lyrical repose and relief from Petri's dazzling virtuosity. Every record that Petri makes seems to be better than the last, and the piece that I am currently hearing on one of her recordings always seems to be my favourite. I play this recording over and over again, and am still awed by her musicianship and virtuosity. The transcriptions are excellent. Petri makes Tartini's Devil's Trill Sonata sound like it was written for the recorder, translating breathtaking violin virtuosity into breathtaking recorder virtuosity. Just to add variety to the riches, Petri uses different recorders for each of the Grieg pieces, and Hannibal uses an archlute for his excellent continuo in the Bach and the Tartini. When life is difficult it is nice to know that I can always listen to Michala Petri and feel renewed strength and optimism.

FINE American Record Guide
American Record Guide
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