cd reviews
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currently showing records for:
Michala Petri, recorder
Danish National Symphony Orchestra
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

Michala Petri, recorder
Lars Hannibal, guitar & archlute
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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