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The Consort, UK - This recording celebrates Michala`s twenty-year collaboration with the distinguished archlutenist Lars Hannibal,- a remarkable a achievement.

May 31, 2012

Margareth Rees

The Consort, UK

The recorder has an ancient and honourable history. Bone flutes survive from Neanderthal context, and a wonderfully preserved set of six flutes from Jiahu in China, some 9.000 years old and made from hollowed wing-bones of the red-crowned crane – each with seven holes carefully tuned to a scale remarkably similar to our Western 8-nate scale – might almost be considered the earliest prototype of the recorder consort.
This recording celebrates Michala`s twenty-year collaboration with the distinguished archlutenist Lars Hannibal,- a remarkable a achievement. The CD begins with Vitali`s Chaconne in G minor, originally composed for the violin, and first brought to the attention of the modern world by the virtuoso violinist and friend of Mendelsohn, Ferdinand David. In his hands the piece was transformed into so improbably romantic a work that its authenticity was in doubt until recently, but it appearance in a Dresden manuscript dating from before 1730 confirms the the work is by Tomaso Vitali (or Vitalino): his imaginative divisions and sometimes surprising harmonic adventures provide us with a captivating introduction to Michala Petri´s programme.
It continues in more conventional recorder territory, with the Sonata in D minor taken from the set of 12 published by Telemann in Der Getreuer Musikmeister; with its gentle opening Affetuoso and joyful final gigue, Telemann provides plenty of scope for the archlute to contribute creatively, especially in the sonata`s quierter moments.
Bach`s enchanting flute sonata BWV 1033, originally written in C major for traverse flute, is here transposed to F major, and works delightfully well on the recorder; Petri makes light of the usual problem with bachs woodwind music, in that being himself a keyboard player he tends to forget that the flautist has occasionally to breathe. This sonata comes downto us in six early manuscripts, including one from 1731 in the handwriting of Bach`s son, Carl Philipp Emanuel who, some scolars believe, may have collaborated in the composition of this work.
This is followed by the Sonata in G major RV 58 from Il Pastor Fido, which comes with its own problems of authorship. For more than 200 years the music was attributed to Antonio Vivaldi, but Il Pastor Fido turns out to have been a elaborate forgery on the part Nicalos Chédeville (1705-82), who wishes to give the greater credibility which the more famous composer would afford, to his own efforts. He needn`t have worried, his accomplished pieces delightfully evoke the arcadian world of the Amusements Champétres so beloved of the early 18th – century French aristocracy, and Petri here enters perfectly into their pastoral spirit with her sopranino and tenor recorders.
La Folia was a favourite melody throughout Italy, Spain and Portugal, attracting thew imagination of composers as early as 1500s, and the creativity of Lully, Vivaldi and Bach, among many other masters, but Arcangelo Corelli made the piece his own, and his set of 24 variations on the theme, op 5 no 12, originally written for violin, was appropriated by players of many other instruments; the present version for recorder was published in London 1702.
Guiseppe Tartini`s Sonata in G minor, Trillo del Diavolo (“The Devil`s trill”) the composers most famous work, was suppressed during his lifetime, and even the story behind its composition an attempt by Tartini to capture the music played to him in a dream by Satan himself – was not published until after the composer`s death. Although only a shadow of what he said he had heard, Tartini considered this work “indeed the best that ever I wrote”,- and Michala Petri`s sopranino recorder version is an astonishing tour de force.
With Handel`s Sonata in B flat major HWV 377, we return to the recorder`s more familiar terrain; although this manuscript, from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, does not specify instrumentation – and Handel recycled the sonata`s three movements in various other directions,- the work lies naturally within the recorder`s range, and it has long been embraced by players of the instrument.
This engaging programme explores repertoire far beyond the regions normally inhabited by the baroque recorder, and Michala Petri`s fine playing is so sensitively supported by the creative accompaniment of Lars Hannibal that my only regret is that room has not been found on this CD for some solo music for his archlute. Maybe next time? And perhaps, next time a note or two about the players themselves , to go with the excellent information on the music. Margareth Rees, June 2012

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