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BBC Music Magazine (UK) CHAMBER CHOICE February 2015,Performance 5 star (maximum)
Recording 5 star (maximum)-A vivacious partnership

February 13, 2015

Paul Riley

BBC Music Magazine
CHAMBER CHOICE February 2015
Performance 5 star (maximum)
Recording 5 star (maximum)
A vivacious partnership
Mahan Esfahani and Michala Petri play with captivating directness
Paul Riley enjoys Michala Petri and Mahan Esfahani`s take of Corelli
A decade after Corelli`s Op.5 Violin Sonatas were introduced to England, writer and musician Roger North observed, “ It is wonderful what a scratching of Corelli there is everywhere – nothing will relish but Corelli”. The set represented the defining moment of the early Baroque violin sonatas, and it wasn`t just violinists doing the relishing. Recorder transcriptions abounded, and Michala Petri addresses the “sonata de camera” leg of Op.5 in the company of a harpsichordist fast turning into a serial and lively collaborator: Mahan Esfahani. Not since Richard Egarr teamed up with Andrew Manze (Harmonia Mundi) has op. 5 enjoyed such vivacious and inventive continuo realization.
Petri and Esfahani`s is an invigorating ensemble effort, each sparking off the other to foster a captivating directness whether sparkling or soulful. Nothing is safe and reverential,- and yet there`s no iconoclastic agenda either. Preludious are ideally urbane; an almost Bachian dialogue invades No.8`s Giga, while La Follia emerges beautifully paced, artfully embellished and vividly characterized. Compared to the violin, there`s an inevitable chaste innocence to the liquid sound of Petri`s recorder – which Esfahani is able to subvert with sly humour. If the violin (as wielded by Manze) remains Op.5`s true home, the perspective provided by this newcomer undoubtedly relishes.

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