The “idea” of combining the recorder with a choir is certainly nothing new; the recorder has joined the human voice in song for almost as long as the instrument has existed. The recorder is in a sense the closest instrument to the human voice, producing a pure sound without mechanisms, reeds or elaborate mouthpieces to alter the tone. However, until recently, few contemporary composers have explored the expressive potential that this combination can deliver.
A recurring theme of each of the four highly personal and distinctive works on this program is a contemplation of nature and humanity. Beginning with Latvian composer Ugis Praulins magical adaptation of Andersen’s beloved fairy tale, we traverse the darker realms of the human heart in Sunleif Rasmussen’s setting of Inger Christensen’s confessional response to Wallace Steven’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” Young Danish composer Peter Bruun provides us a glimpse into Gerard Manley Hopkins secretive mysticism while Daniel Börtz, dean of Swedish composers, holds us rapt in adoration as his celestial angel-bird soars above the extraordinary virtuoso singing of the Danish National Vocal Ensemble.
Once again, Michala Petri has proven herself not only the unquestioned master of the recorder, but her visionary approach to programming and commitment to expanding her instrument’s repertoire into the 21st century make this an absolutely essential disc for fans of Michala, choral music, Nordic composers, and contemporary music with a HEART as well as with a “system.”
“It also goes without saying that Michala Petri has no peer today as a master of her instrument, and she wrings more color and expressive intensity from the recorder than you ever believed possible.”
- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com