UK DK (2015)

Arnold, Christiansen, Jacob, Holmboe, Kidane, Britten, Borup-Jorgensen

Michala Petri

Nothing in life falls precisely into neat boxes, despite our best efforts to make things “fit”. Consider the two featured instruments on this recording. First, the recorder, which despite its relatively simple design, enjoyed near-universal popularity from the Middle Ages to the Baroque, played by prince and pauper alike. Then, there is the harpsichord, a marvel of engineering for its time; an extraordinary canvas upon which generations of composers wrote tone poems and toccatas, crafting contrapuntal mazes and virtuoso displays that still challenge the most skillful interpreter. But times and tastes change, and eventually, these quintessential representatives of the musical arts (along with most of their repertoire) were packed away, together with the powdered wigs and knee breeches for a long slumber during the 19th century.

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Michala Petri

Michala Petri has performed more than 4000 concerts in the worlds leading festivals and Concert Halls,and has broken down the boundaries of her instrument, the recorder. 

Her repertoire spans works from the Baroque, Classicism, Romanticism and extends into contemporary and improvised music. It is precisely this versatility that lies behind her special appeal as an artist. 

Her collaboration in the 90s on two cds with Keith Jarrett, gave her a latent interest in the art of improvisation, which is partly required in Baroque music, though within the narrow borders of the rules of that time. The collaboration was initiated by Keith Jarrett, who heard Michala play in concert at New Yorks Lincoln Centre and suggested that they at some point played something together - which let to two albums of Bach Sonatas and Handel Sonatas. Recently she has taken up playing fully improvised concerts, amongst others with Benjamin Koppel and Carsten Dahl. 

She has received the Leonie Sonning Music Prize, Europa Musicale Soloist Prize, three times the German ECHO KLASSIK Award, amongst others. She has recorded more than 70 cds, several having been Grammy-nominated. 

Artists with whom she has collaborated include Keith Jarrett, Sir Neville Marriner, James Galway, Gidon Kremer, Heinz Holliger, Henryk Szeryng, Pinchas Zukermann, Maurice Andre, Joshua Bell, Mahan Esfahani and Claudio Abbado. Among composers having composed for her are Sir Malcolm Arnold, Gordon Jacob, Per Nørgaard, Vagn Holmboe, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Olav Anton Thommessen, Sunleif Rasmussen, Bent Sørensen, Steven Stucky, Joan Albert Amargos, Chen Yi, Bright Cheng, Ander and Thomas Koppel and Daniel Børtz. 

photo: Søren Solkær, from booklet

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UK DK (2015)

Arnold, Christiansen, Jacob, Holmboe, Kidane, Britten, Borup-Jorgensen

Michala Petri

    Agora Classica -

"An inspired follow-up to the same artists’ recent Corelli disc, this pairs Arnold, Jacob and Britten with Vagn Holmboe and younger, lesser-known compatriots Henning Christiansen and Axel Borup-Jorgensen. Petri is as appealing as ever and Esfahani convinces utterly. Lovely sound."

Guy Weatherall[read full review]

    Presto Classical

During the height of the Greek economic crisis, the 13th International Pharos Chamber Choir Music Festival on the island of Cyprus was in jeopardy of being cancelled due to the sudden loss of funding. Were it not for the passion and commitment of those artists who waived their performance fees, the festival would only have been remembered as another casualty of the austerity programs across Europe. But for two of the artists, adversity fuelled a performance so compelling, that English Music critic Norman Lebrecht would describe their recital as a “A match made in heaven”. The artists from that now legendary concert were rising star of the harpsichord Mahan Esfahani and reigning queen of the recorder, Michala Petri. So successful was their collaboration that they immediately set about planning future recordings and recitals. The idea for this album and its unusual programme immediately suggested itself: “Michala is a Dane and Mahan lives in UK!" explains producer Lars Hannibal. And what better way to showcase their talents than with music from their respective homelands? Focusing exclusively on 20th century repertoire – much of it composed especially for Michala, including a newly commissioned work from Daniel Kidane as well as CD premieres of works by Vagn Holmboe and Henning Christiansen – the duo offer a wide-ranging recital that fully exploits the expressive possibilities these two typically 'Baroque' instruments offer contemporary composers."

Presto Classical[read full review]

    Gramophone Magazine

“Although Malcolm Arnold wrote several pieces for Petri, ironically she and Esfahani play the engaging Sonatina (1962, with piano accompaniment originally). As with Britten’s Alpine Suite (1955), written as a recorder trio for an injured friend on a skiing holiday but given here in an arrangement by the performers, this is lighter music emphasising the recorder’s brightness. It is the Jacob Sonatina that hints at greater depth, while Henning Christiansen’s charming vernal diptych avoids the inconsequentiality of the Britten. The warm heart of this superbly played programme is the Sonata (1980) by Holmboe, who, like Arnold and Jacob, wrote several works for Petri. Like all late Holmboe, light and peace are the pervading features of the three movements. A wonderful advert for this instrumental pairing and for virtuosity in general. Superbly engineered sound.”

Guy Rickards of Gramophone Magazine[read full review]

    BBC Music Magazine

"Michala Petri, fondly remembered by many as a child prodigy on the recorder, has formed a duo with the Iranian-born harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. Their second album, as its title suggests, consists of music from Esfahani’s adopted country, the UK, and Petri’s native Denmark – nearly all of it written in the later 20th century as part of the recorder revival. The exception is a recent piece by Daniel Kidane, Tourbillon, which is named after a component of a watch and moves with mechanical precision before running down at the end. Britain is also represented by Malcolm Arnold’s well-crafted Sonatina of 1953, Gordon Jacob’s fluent Sonatina (and an Encore for Michala exploiting her ability to sing one tune while playing another), and an arrangement of Britten’s unassuming Alpine Suite. The Danish works are Henning Christiansen’s fresh and lively It is Spring, with hints of birdsong on sopranino recorder, Vagn Holmboe’s Sonata, idiomatically written for both instruments, and Axel Borup-Jørgensen’s Fantasia, mildly modernist in its textures and gestures. Throughout the programme, well recorded in a Copenhagen church, Petri plays with immaculate tuning and finger technique, crisp tonguing and well-shaped melodic lines; Esfahani matches her with well-judged colours and phrasing."

Anthony Burton from BBC Music Magazine[read full review]

UK DK (2015)

Arnold, Christiansen, Jacob, Holmboe, Kidane, Britten, Borup-Jorgensen

Michala Petri

Microphones: DPA4006,4011
Producer: Preben Iwan
Recording Engineer: Preben Iwan
Recording location: Garnisons Kirke, Copenhagen
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DXD

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6220611: UK DK
01:05:40   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Recorder Sonatina, Op. 41 - I. Cantilena
Arnold
00:02:29   Select quality & channels above
2.
Recorder Sonatina, Op. 41 - II. Chaconne
Arnold
00:02:42   Select quality & channels above
3.
Recorder Sonatina, Op. 41 - III. Rondo
Arnold
00:01:57   Select quality & channels above
4.
It Is Spring, Op. 56 - I. Allegretto
Christiansen
00:05:21   Select quality & channels above
5.
It Is Spring, Op. 56 - II. Andante
Christiansen
00:01:33   Select quality & channels above
6.
Sonatina for Recorder and Harpsichord - I. Allegro
Jacob
00:02:27   Select quality & channels above
7.
Sonatina for Recorder and Harpsichord - II. Tempo di menuetto
Jacob
00:02:46   Select quality & channels above
8.
Sonatina for Recorder and Harpsichord - III. Adagio
Jacob
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9.
Sonatina for Recorder and Harpsichord - IV. Allegro vivace
Jacob
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10.
Recorder Sonata, Op. 145 - I. Allegro spianato
Holmboe
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11.
Recorder Sonata, Op. 145 - II. Andante
Holmboe
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12.
Recorder Sonata, Op. 145 - III. Allegro scherzando
Holmboe
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13.
Tourbillon
Kidane
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14.
Alpine Suite - No. 1. Arrival at Zermatt
Britten
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15.
Alpine Suite - No. 2. Swiss Clock
Britten
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16.
Alpine Suite - No. 3. Nursery Slopes
Britten
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17.
Alpine Suite ) - No. 4. Alpine Scene
Britten
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18.
Alpine Suite - No. 5. Moto Perpetuo: Down the Piste
Britten
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19.
Alpine Suite - No. 6. Farewell to Zermatt
Britten
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20.
Fantasia, Op. 75
Borup-Jorgensen
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21.
An Encore for Michala
Jacob
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