Fanfare US 5 stars: This is beautiful, often haunting music, fabulously recorded, and fully worthy of investigation.
October 1, 2020
In 2017, Fanfare reviewed a disc called Garden Party that celebrated 25 years of the musical partnership of Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal as a recorder and guitar duo. Reviewed in 41:2, that disc included some compositions by Hannibal: here is a complete disc of his works and folksong arrangements. The two are linked in Hannibal’s output, though, in that he has always sought to invite dialogue between the two. To make this a family affair, the two other musicians also happen to be Petri and Hannibal’s daughters (Agnete was born in 1994, Amalia in 1996).
It would be impossible in imagine finer performances than these. Listening carefully to the simplicity of expression of the music itself reveals the art behind it. The title of the disc, [BLUE}, refers to the mood of melancholy, and indeed the gentle melancholy of Autumn Rain is a case in point as regards that concealed art. There is also a kid of concealed virtuosity in Sunset Dance, in that one only notices it retrospectively.
How beautiful, too, the vocal items Amalie Hannibal Petri’s beautiful voice perfect (the absence of vibrato enables us to experience that beauty full force). The homeliness of The Magic of Thoughts, too, with its easy flow and its invocation of an idealized world, acts as a perfect close to the first part of the disc. In contrast, the one piece for solo recorder, The Moor, (inspired by Danish Himmerland) offers a lonely call; this piece also requires the player to sing to create “interference tones” that add a curiously wistful aspect. The technical challenge here cannot be easy, but again it is delivered with consummate mastery. In Hannibal’s music, simplicity of utterance meets modal inflections meets grounds. Further exposure to this music would doubtless yield many further rewards.
The disc also offers a sequence of some eight Danish songs arranged for recorder and guitar by Hannibal; it seemed the logical way to present the fruits of both his output and the partnership of Hannibal and Petri. The music here was an integral part of Hannibal’s youth. Lovely to have a guitar solo to balance out the recorder earlier (a very nuanced Nielsen’s I know a lark’s nest); but it is perhaps the other Nielsen song, Wond’rous air of evening) that offers the greatest sense of intimacy, a piece that happens to exude inspiration at the same time. There are some gems in here: Franz Gebauer’s Just where the way beats a bay is utterly charming.
The recording is impeccable, as is the documentation. This is beautiful, often haunting music, fully worthy of investigation. Colin Clarke, October 2020
Five stars: This is beautiful, often haunting music, fabulously recorded, and fully worthy of investigation
Fanfare Magazine Archive of CD Reviews: BLUE (Lars Hannibal) (fanfarearchive.com)