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OUR Recordings: Lars Hannibal Profiles his Label
Martin Anderson, Fanfare Magazine
August Issue
The recording of choral music by Messiaen constitutes something of a change of direction for its label, the Danish independent OUR Recordings, whose principal focus is the music-making of the Danish recorder-player Michala Petri. Its founder, the guitarist and lutenist Lars Hannibal, is an old pal, and we recently settled down to a relaxed video conversation via Skype.
 
            In today's crowded market CD labels have to do their best to maintain an individual profile, and you've been fairly careful about the identity of OUR Recordings so far. What's the impulse that lies behind this apparent additional direction?
 
The Messiaen doesn't really fit the label profile, except that I consider the Danish National Vocal Ensemble as part of our recording family—and in the future I will extend the range of our recording family a bit. We made an agreement with the Vocal Ensemble to make five CDs, three of them with Michala and two of them with their own stuff. We had Poulenc as the first one [Half Monk, Half Rascal: Chœurs a cappella, 8.226906; 36:1]; that was already recorded with Stephen Layton. Then we had to decide which composer, which repertoire, we would like to have as the second one. I've always been very fond of the music of Messiaen, and so I asked Ivar Munk, the manager of the Ensemble, if he would agree on Messiaen, and he said: "That was the one I had thought of myself!" It was so easy!
 
            What was the impulse that led to OUR Recordings in the first place?
 
After the all the years Michala was with RCA/BMG, and Phillips, and me at EMI, we decided not to be stuck with doing all the usual thing as an artist, playing the safe repertoire again and again. We wanted to develop our own thoughts and have the full responsibility for what we wanted to do.
 
            We need to step further back to explain the domestic as well as the professional arrangements. And it's a most unusual one, with you and Michala divorced and yet working together very happily.
 
We met in 1991, decided within a month that we wanted to get married, and then we married the year after because Michala had only ten days with no concerts! We had to get married in July. We decided that if we wanted to have a few days' honeymoon afterwards, it would have to be in this period, because that was the only chance of getting ten days in a row. She was so busy, traveling ten months a year playing concerts. So, yes, in '92 we got married. And we started to play together in '92. Michala was doing a lot of recordings with BMG and I was with EMI, and it was getting more and more difficult to record contemporary music. There's no money in it; I can understand the labels—they want to release what they can make a little money from, or at least break even.
 
            Were you still married when you started OUR Recordings?
 
We were still married but at that time we did not live together any longer.
 
            It's rather an unusual position to find you separated and yet so deeply involved professionally and working very harmoniously together.
 
Well, what always worked quite well was our love for the music, and also playing together, discussing music, setting up projects—this was working; why throw it away just because we were not married? The music is more important, in a way! We're servants of music, and we still are. And we both like to expand the repertoire, especially for Michala for the recorder, asking composers to write music for her and record it, for coming generations to have music on larger scales for the recorder. There's lots of Baroque music, which is fine, and also pieces of chamber music, but also with huge orchestra, because it is possible, and Michala has shown that—especially when we heard Thomas Koppel, Moonchild's Dream, which he wrote for Michala in '90. It is a wonderful orchestration for recorder and full orchestra. It works, definitely. The recorder has another color than you find it the orchestra, so it's adding something. There are no recorders in a symphony orchestra, so the sound of the recorder adds something to the orchestra that you don't get from other instruments. The accordion does the same, adding something to the sounds of the orchestra. We think it's worth it, working in this direction, and so we have commissioned a lot of pieces, and we're still doing it; we still record a lot of pieces for recorder and orchestra. I think that will be our contribution to music history—like Evelyn Glennie with percussion, commissioning a lot of pieces. It's a good idea to have it recorded, of course. It was difficult for us to record it on BMG, because it was better for them to have the standard repertoire. So we had to struggle, and it was difficult for us to decide exactly what we would like to do, and that's the reason why we started, basically.
 
            When did you decide you were going to have to do it yourselves?
 
It was in late 2006 that we finally decided. We had been thinking about it for years, and now we thought: Let's do it! I'm still a musician who plays concerts, and I consider myself still a musician, even if I don't do the large-scale things any longer because I don't have time for it. And I'm doing everything myself, from the idea, raising money, marketing, so we have a limitation on what we do, which is Michala's recordings and then the things we do together and then some of the things I am doing if we find it has the standards it needs to have. So it is an artists' label and not a label with another profile, like contemporary or Baroque. It is, basically, "our recordings"—what we are recording and would like to record ourselves—that we support in this way; a showcase, you could say, especially for Michala.
 
            According to your website, you've made 25 recordings in the eight years you've been running OUR Recordings; is that right?
 
Yes, 25; and this year we will make a few more, which is too much work. Basically, there are three releases every year.
 
            You talked about your recording family; who are the family members? You and Michala, obviously, but who else?
 
We've included, at least for a certain period, the Danish National Vocal Ensemble. The reason we're doing it is that we started a collaboration with the Vocal Ensemble. Michala had a work written for her by Daniel Börtz for choir and recorder, and when she came back from Stockholm after doing it with the Swedish Radio Choir, she said: "This is so wonderful, I want to continue working with choir." Then I asked the Vocal Ensemble, which I like very much, since the conductor, Stephen Layton, did some great things with this choir, and they were interested in working together, so we commissioned some more pieces. For example, I asked [the Latvian composer] Uģis Prauliņš to set [H. C.] Andersen's "Nightingale"—which I had been thinking of for many, many years—because I thought he was the right person to do it. And it turned out that he was—it's a great composition he made there.
 
            To the point, indeed, where it got two Grammy nominations. The CD (6.220605) was reviewed in 35:4.

So we would like to continue there. We commissioned a CD of Danish songs, arrangements of old and new Danish songs, which works very, very well, and the next we will do is with old European Christmas songs in the medieval and Renaissance style, especially songs from the Piae cantiones, in arrangements. These are the three with Michala, and then we have the Poulenc and the Messiaen; when we've worked through those, we'll have done the five choir recordings with the Vocal Ensemble.
 
            Although there is a strong Danish element in the OUR Recordings catalog, there is also a clear emphasis on international partnerships—with Chinese musicians, for example.

 
Yes. The Chinese: I think we'll continue with this when we get a little more time. It really needs time to work with the Chinese because of the distance and the difference in culture, and also to find out in which direction it might go. The project is dialog-based, so it's not just a question of us going over there and playing some Chinese music with a Chinese orchestra; we have to have a kind of dialog between the Chinese and the western music tradition—otherwise it's not interesting enough for me and I'd rather stay here doing a lot of nice European stuff. I have some ideas I would like to do within the next five years, so it's a question of time and priority—and money, basically.
 
            I was going to ask you about money. How are you funding it all?
 
This is a problem, as you can well understand. It's through funding by Danish private sponsors. The Augustinus Foundation has really been supporting us a lot; actually, they have supported almost all of the releases. Then there's the Oticon Foundation. The law allows some possibilities for big companies to put some money into foundations, and then they can give it away for social or artistic projects, and we can apply to them for recording expenses. But it's only possible because I earn my money from playing concerts; I do not get any money myself from OUR Recordings. We all work free, otherwise it's not possible. We have to earn our money in another way, and we are doing it by playing concerts. And sometimes we have to put in a little amount of money ourselves. It is tough, but it's worth it, because I think the result is good. I consider it as part of the marketing for Michala, to show the new directions she is working in, to show the repertoire that is possible. I can go to orchestra managers and tell them: "Here's a new piece; this is what she is doing right now."  So it's part of the management for Michala, and since I coordinate her management, it's OK as long as this is working.
 
            Is there a clear trade-off, with managers accepting for concerts the pieces she is recording?
 
Not at the tempo I would like, but in the next years I will harvest what I have been working with for a long time now. It could be much more. We see that when Michala is playing with orchestras, it is always sold out. People simply love it.
 
            Even with contemporary music? Is Michala's own name enough to overcome the fear factor when audiences see a name they don't recognize?
 
Well, it helps. Actually, next week we have to upload two new recordings, with contemporary Danish pieces, one with Thomas Koppel again, and now we've got it—it's the third time we have recorded it, but we were never satisfied with the recording. This one we are very happy with. And then Sunleif Rasmussen, Territorial Songs, and a piece by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Chacun Son Son. Then we will have a tribute to Axel Borup-Jørgensen with five new compositions with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Clemens Schuldt, conductor. We will release two new pieces for recorder and orchestra. It's hard work for Michala to study all the pieces.
 
            I hope the Danish Composers' Union is grateful for all the commissions coming to its members!
 
They like to write for Michala, and when we ask composers, they generally say yes. They like it, and normally also they like the results. And the moment anyone cannot do it, we have a waiting list for years! And we have some commissions out there to be made in the next years, too. And we try to establish good relations with publishers—for example, Wilhelm Hansen and Edition S (the old Samfundet), who have a lot of young Danish composers as well as some older ones, and also some international publishers, too. If we could make a triangle between orchestra management, labels, and publishers, we could do much more, but the managers don't seem so keen on working with labels.
 
            You'll always find the managers the weak link in that triangle—they'll naturally prefer to put on a Vivaldi concerto to a work by Borup-Jørgensen or Gudmundsen-Holmgreen and fill the house more easily.
 
But I think it's very easy. In Michala's case and with lots of other musicians, to find for them to play Vivaldi or Mozart or Beethoven, but then one more. You can make a theme, you can make so many other interesting programs for a concert than just having a soloist play one piece. That's so old-fashioned! They're so conservative—we have to push them!
 
            OUR Recordings is an independent company but operates under the aegis of Naxos.
 
Yes, I'm very happy to have this arrangement for my basic distribution and do anything else specific from within the Naxos family. There are alternatives out there, of course, but Naxos is good for us.
 
            Are there any other plans for the future that you would like to discuss?
 
The basic thing is the repertoire for Michala. We're doing something this month, actually, with German recorder concertos. The composers are Markus Zahnhausen, Fabrice Bouillon (a Frenchman who lives in Germany; the piece he has written is a tribute to Genesis, the rock band from the '80s, on a specific album, The Lambs Lies Down on Broadway, and Michala is using loops and a lot of electronic things—it's an amazing piece), and an East German composer who died about ten years ago, Günter Kochan, great, great composer. He was performed a lot in the former East bloc but when in '89 when the Wall was taken down, he said: "Well, basically, I'm a socialist"—and that was not the right thing to say at that point, and he was sort of abandoned after that and not much played. But he's a great composer. And then we will have American recorder concertos next year: Sean Hickey is one of the composers, and the Canadian Gary Kulesha, and we are negotiating with someone else. For '17 we are planning a Japanese one. And then we will have a South American one also, with Brazilian, Argentinian, and Chilean recorder concertos. This is really one of the paths that we are working on.

We are also working on a project promoting the music of the late Axel Borup-Jørgensen. We did two recordings of his music already, and the music of Axel Borup-Jørgensen will continue to be part of OUR Recordings. We are coordinating with Dacapo—they are doing some of the releases and we are doing some. Now that the music is free and he's not controlling it any more, we can make it come out in the world, and so we are putting a lot of effort into getting this composer heard.
 
            Did he sit on his own music, then, and restrict its availability?
 
Yes, he did. He really wanted to control everything. But now his daughter really wants to let his music free, and so that's what we're doing. The next CD is a tribute to Axel Borup-Jørgensen by Bent Sørensen, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Mogens Christensen, Thomas Clausen, and Sunleif Rasmussen. Then we will have piano works played by Erik Kaltoft, who is the master of contemporary music in Denmark. And then we will do a recording next year with Thomas Søndergaard conducting the Danish National Orchestra in his Marin, a huge symphonic piece he wrote. We will even make an animated film for this project—I just came back from Paris yesterday, where I had a meeting with the art director for the film. So these are the next things.
Martin Anderson, Fanfare Magazine

New interview with Michala Petri in US Music Magazine Fanfare
James Reel, Fanfare Magazine
29 January 2015
Major classical labels may be in decline, but the CD business is booming for individual artists (and orchestras) operating their own labels. These aren't just minor players funding small-scale vanity products, but major performers taking chances that would not be possible in the current major-label environment. Recorder soloist Michala Petri (she pronounces her first name MEE-ca-la, by the way) and her frequent recital partner, guitarist/lutenist Lars Hannibal, have launched their own label, called OUR Recordings. The name could hardly be more specific about their emphasis. Each of the releases features one or both of the label's principals; some are collaborations between Hannibal and his other longtime recital partner, violinist Kim Sjøgren (together they appear as Duo Concertante).

There's something at least a little unusual about each disc. The most "ordinary" among them is a collection of not exactly obscure but certainly not over-recorded works for violin and guitar by Mauro Giuliani, recorded back in 1988 (8.226904). A fairly mainstream disc with a twist contains the Mozart Flute Quartets, reworked for recorder (Petri) and strings on a lovely sounding SACD (6.220570). Even better known music arrives in an unexpectedly small package: Lalo's Symphonie espagnole and Norwegian Fantasy in versions for violin and guitar that work surprisingly well (8.226903). There's a steamy Latin-tinged collection of duos for Petri and Hannibal called "Siesta" (8.226900), and two contemporary collections: works for recorder and orchestra by Joan Albert Amargós, Daniel Börtz, and Steven Stucky ("Movements," 6.220531); and violin-guitar duos by Palle Mikkelborg, Herman D. Koppel, Jørgen Jersild, and Vagn Holmboe ("Journey," 8.226902). Finally (for now), Hannibal accompanies bamboo flutist (or xiao player) Chen Yue in a program of traditional pieces from around the world ("Spirits," 8.226901), which comes with a DVD as well as a CD. Arriving soon will be Hannibal's traversal of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Platero y yo , with Danish narration, and a collection of Chinese and Danish duets for bamboo flute and recorder.

I e-mailed Petri some questions about her label, which she managed to answer quite fully between stops on the concert circuit.

          You've had what appears to have been great success with Philips and BMG in the past. Why is this the time for you to go your own way with your own label?

I have had wonderful years with working both with Philips and RCA/BMG, and have through them been fortunate to work with many great musicians, orchestras, and composers. To this it must be added the friendships made with some of the people working at the labels, some of whom I am still close friends with. Working in music is not just work—you are one big family, with the family feeling that comes with it towards all involved in the working process.

However, the situation in the recording industry has changed radically in recent years, and the companies are now more concerned about what will sell in large numbers more quickly than before, so it is not easy to get enthusiastic support to record, for instance, contemporary music, or music that has not already proven itself to sell well. I somehow think that the marketing approaches of many of the big labels have become opposed to the nature of music, which is to bring out and inspire individuality in the listener as well as the performer. Also it is different today from 15 years ago in that everybody can now connect immediately via the Internet, so I think that people's "cultural" needs tend to be more targeted to what will suit them individually, rather than having a "consumer product" which in some ways has acted also as a uniting factor between people, which is now taken care of in other ways.

In having our own label I am able to continue and expand the way I think in my life and career, where I have always tried to be a pioneer for my instrument, and to promote individuality. We have the freedom to decide what we want to do—or follow what we feel is right—to record. The consideration (and challenge) is of course to find the money to finance the recordings, but as a small company we have better chances to keep the cost low, and I also believe in the "togetherness" of things—and feel somehow confident that if I follow my intuition rather than calculations of corporate accountants, the practical side will ultimately take care of itself. But then I am also good at not setting unrealistic goals, of course!

          What does OUR signify? Is it more than the plural possessive in English?

We have chosen the name OUR Recordings with a little tongue in cheek hint to the big companies and their consumer-driven way of thinking, indicating that we personally stand up for the content, more than merely focusing on wanting to sell a lot of CDs. We only release recordings where either Hannibal or I, or both of us, are involved as musicians. We have been asked by several musicians if we could release their recordings, but since we are musicians first of all, and it is very time consuming to have your own label, we have chosen to limit ourselves to this singular focus.

          How do you divide or share the various duties of operating the label?

Hannibal is very much the creative force who gets the ideas in the first place, and carries them through, where I more like to get lost in the music! Hannibal is doing all the label work, but we discuss all issues, and inspire and balance each other's ideas, much the same way as when we are performing together. I am also involved in the cover-art decisions, both graphic and booklet notes, and we have a graphic designer who is also a partner in OUR Recordings! And we are fortunate to have partners in China and the U.S. who are extremely wise, nice, and helpful co-operators; for us it is just as important to be on the same wavelength with co-workers in this as with fellow-musicians when we perform.

          Do you personally have direct control over every element?

We are both involved in all major decisions, such as the label profile, and in smaller things, like deciding which of our many projects shall be the next! On the musical side I am also getting increasingly involved in the editing process with the producers. I have been working with so many top producers in my career, which has given me some knowledge, although I know my limits. I find the interplay between my ears and the producer's suggestions and experience very inspiring. As a musician you are the one who knows what you want, what you have been feeling when studying the music, and sometimes you are the only one that hears the microscopic details that make the difference!

          You have been associated with Lars Hannibal for many years, and he has known and performed with Kim Sjøgren for a very long time. The three of you are the core artists on the first seven discs, with the addition of Chen Yue on "Spirits." Will the label continue to focus on the work of the three of you? Do you anticipate showcasing many guest artists like Chen Yue?

The focus of the label is just that the two of us, Hannibal and myself, are in one way or another involved musically—apart from that we have no borders. This thinking is in line with my constant attempt not to have any limits on my possibilities! Which is not the same as being uncritical—rather the opposite, since having no borders forces you to think hard in every case if this is really the right thing to do. The three recordings where Hannibal plays with Kim Sjøgren are all re-releases, having only been available in Denmark before. I personally have always loved those CDs very much, because of the sense of true musicianship they radiate, as well as the example they set in showing how transcriptions can attain a high level of artistic quality. If Hannibal and Kim will record again in the future, it would be obvious to have the recordings released on OUR Recordings. The recording of "Spirits" with Hannibal and the Chinese xiao virtuoso Chen Yue is only the first release with her. The next release on OUR Recordings will be a program of 10 duets composed especially for this project especially for Chen Yue and me by five young Chinese composers and five young Danish composers.

          You seem to be avoiding re-recording works you've recorded before. Do you anticipate revisiting any works you recorded years ago, or are you striving to issue only music that is new to your discography?

I would love to re-record some of the standard repertoire at some point. However, before that there are so many new things to record, especially repertoire which has not been recorded before, and which very much deserves to be better known. There are some new pieces for recorder and full symphony orchestra that work very well. The artistic and commercial possibility of works like this was confirmed for me by the Grammy nomination of the Northern Concerto by the Spanish composer Joan Albert Amargós. Also for re-recording, I would like to make sure that I can at least try to add something to my older interpretations—some of which are not bad at all, I have to admit when I happen to hear them. So in some cases I would like to re-release some of my older recordings that still have a communicative factor that outweighs that they clearly are played by a younger and humanly less experienced person than I am today. We have been negotiating for a while with Sony/BMG to see if we can reach an agreement on terms, so I hope that in the near future additional recordings can be made available again.

          What, in fact, are your criteria for selecting repertoire to record?

An impossible question to answer! Although I am never in doubt. Somehow my only criteria is the vague one that I feel that this is the right thing to do next, and that I feel that I can do it with a certain kind of conviction I have learned to recognize in myself over the years. So far we have had a "theme" for each CD, like "Kreisler Inspirations," featuring music originally composed for violin, "Siesta" with music with a "Latin" touch from the 20th century, or contemporary concertos written for me. But one day I might like to just have a theme called "as mixed and varied as possible!"—a musical kaleidoscope—maybe. Again I draw parallel to my way of making music, where I just do the single details the way I feel is right—and not until afterwards do I get an idea of the whole picture, of what my criteria were. Actually, my creative process is in this way closer to that of improvising musicians and composers than to a great deal of concert musicians, I have realized.

          Jordi Savall is releasing new material on his own label, but he is also gradually re-releasing the 70 recordings he made for another label earlier in his career. Do you anticipate reissuing any of your 70-some older recordings?

I find it very good to have earlier recordings available—you can never tell which are meaningful to some people, and I have very often had enquires for out-of-print CDs. I understand totally what Jordi Savall—whom I admire very much, by the way—is doing with his label, and I often look for older recordings myself to find inspiration. The newest is not always best.

          Do you have a particular philosophy of audio quality?

If it is possible, we like to work in SACD. It gives the possibility to have an extraordinary experience with the right audio equipment, which I found unique when I heard it the first time. It is great to create the feeling of being close to the musicians, to use these modern possibilities!

          Two of the discs are SACDs, and one CD includes a DVD. How great a presence will SACDs and DVDs have in your catalog, and for what reason?

We would like to have as many SACD recordings as possible, and in the future we will also release some additional DVDs. It is expensive, so far, but also a very interesting issue. We are all generally getting more visually oriented, and opposite to my thinking years ago, I find that seeing the performer can enhance your experience of the music. Some experienced listeners can understand just as much without pictures, but seeing a performance never diminishes the listening experience, I think, and it may make the music more accessible to more people. However, DVD is an art form in itself, especially if you want to also add something to the music with other pictures than of just the performers, so you have to find the right film directors to work with. In this field we have some plans that we have been working with for five years, which I hope will come true in the next couple of years.
James Reel, Fanfare Magazine

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

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
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