Classical Guitar Magazine, UK -Classical Guitar Magazine, UK
It`s somewhat immodest title, but long before Vitali`s action-packed Chaconne has run its 9:54, course it becomes abundantly clear that Petri and Hannibal, whose two decades as a team this recording celebrates, are much to be immodest about. Having, by accident of birth, been raised in a neck of the woods where recorder-centred chamber gatherings featured the indefatigable John Turner are a frequent occurrence. I`ve been fully aware since preadolescence that there`s much more to this instrument than battalions of seven-year-olds squeaking their way through Bobby Shaftoe.
But even so, I could hardly fail to be wowed by the sheer brilliance displayed by Michala Petri in the Vitali and elsewhere. And although Lars Hannibal`s role is, by nature of his chosen instrument, that of accompanist, the range of textures emerging from a magnificent Paul Thomson archlute he proudly brandishes on the cover is extraordinary. For every routine series of block chord backdrops, there`s a full-on active bass-line of the type Hannibal provides for the much of the central Allegro in The Devil`s Trill.
Here and elsewhere, the duo treads a mostly familiar path, the greater part of the material being drawn from flute and fiddle sources. The notable exception is RV 59 which, according to Joshua Cheek`s extensive programme notes, forms part of an elaborate hoax perpetrated by Nicolas Chédeville (1705-1782), whose agenda was to borrow the name of a big-hitting composer in order to give greater kudos to a series of sonatas he`d written for his own instrument, which was the musette. Given that the musette had by that time become little more than what Cheek terms “an exotic novelty”, few would now blame Chédeville for doing what he allegedly did. And RV 59 is a wonderfully engaging baroque middleweight, whoever wrote it. Are there any musette recordings out there?
But until someone answers the above question, Classical Guitar Magazine, UK
Paul Fowles, April 2012