It is only fitting that Michala and Hannibal have decided to return to their roots as one of the preeminent early music duos, and have selected a truly baroque program – in every sense of the word – for this very special 20th anniversary album titled Virtuoso Baroque. More than a mere program of showstoppers, they have used their talents to hold up a mirror to our own time and redefine masterworks that will both delight their fans and invite all of us to listen to these astonishing works with new ears.
The Baroque would usher in many innovations that would resonate through the centuries: the development of functional harmony, the birth of opera, the concerto and the multi-movement sonata, and the cult of the virtuoso. Finally, the Baroque was also an age of true internationalism – Handel, German-born and Italian trained would become one of England’s greatest composers; the cosmopolitan Telemann, was an enthusiastic aficionado of Polish and Gypsy folk music; the Italians Corelli and Vivaldi, were famous throughout Europe and even Bach, who while no globetrotter kept thoroughly abreast of the latest international musical developments. All were beneficiaries of this unique pan-European exchange of ideas.
In an period rife with such extremes and prodigality it ought not come as a surprise that even the circumstances surrounding the origins of the music presented here is as “baroque” as the designation might imply. Disputes regarding the authorship of both the Bach Sonata and the Vitali Chaconne have engaged musicologists throughout the 20th century. Tartini’s Faustian fantasy and the deft forgery of the ambitious Chédeville all speak to an age as colorful and media savvy as our own. Only the works of Corelli, Telemann and Handel have come down to us without controversy.
This album was recorded with generous support from Dansk Solist Forbund, Solistforeningen af 1921 and Henrik Eckholdt.
Michala Petri – Recorder & Archlute
Lars Hannibal – Guitar
Total time: 01:07:37
|Analog to Digital Converter||
Digital Audio Denmark DAD AX24 at DXD (352.8 kHz)
Paul Thomson, Bristol, England 1993
|Digital Audio Workstation||
Pyramix, Merging Technologies
Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal
Recorded with generous support from Dansk Solist Forbund, Solistforeningen af 1921 and Henrik Eckholdt.
Digital Audio Denmark DAD AX24
DPA 4006TL, DPA 4011 & Neumann KM84
|Original Recording Format|
Moeck, Ehlert and Mollenhauer
OUR Recordings Studio in Kokkedal, Denmark on March 2. 3. and 4. 2011
|Release Date||May 20, 2022|
Fans of Michala Petri will need little persuading to acquire this album. Lars Hannibal is also a known quantity for his fine recordings. With this release the Petri/Hannibal duo celebrate twenty years of music-making, having given their first appeared on stage in 1991. The highly virtuoso playing of Michala Petri soars unrestrained over lightly plucked harmonies.
Beautifully recorded in general, this is also a well chosen program of pieces. The famous variations of Corelli’s La Folia are a central masterpiece of the repertoire, and the bravura display in this piece echoes that of Vitali’s Chaconne in G minor, which is a stunning opening to the album. Both movingly expressive and technically impressive both as a composition as in performance.
Petri mixes up her instruments to a certain extent. So there is variation in color of sound to be had in the lower instruments used for instance in the Grave of Telemann’s Sonata in D minor, and the Vivaldi Pastorale from the Sonata in G major. This latter work is now known to be a forgery by Nicolas Chédeville, a well known musician and instrument-maker, whose subterfuge resulted in ‘Vivaldi’s’ Il pastor fido Op. 13. This is fine music, and fits in well with the other pieces despite being something of a Cuckoo’s egg in terms of authenticity.
Familiar flute pieces like J.S. Bach’s Sonata in F major BWV 1033 work very well here, with the chains of sixteenth notes of the Presto something of a tour de force. Petri improvises some extra ornamental lines in the Adagio, but is effective within the idiom, and not going beyond the boundaries of believable contemporary practice. Another familiar piece is Tartini’s “Devil’s Trill” Sonata in G minor, more specifically for violin, but with some touches of expressive vibrato and superb dexterity very effective on Petri’s recorder, in particular in the literally breathtaking central Allegro. Handel’s urbane Sonata in B flat is a perfect close to a very fine recital.
This is a fine album which will provide great pleasure to recorder fans, showing us all the standards to which we humble amateurs can merely aspire.
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