TheArtsDesk (UK) - "Irresistible stuff, and warmly recorded"
Garden Party Michala Petri (recorder), Lars Hannibal (guitar) (OUR Recordings)
Danish virtuoso Michala Petri is the one recorder player most of us are likely to have heard of, and this laid-back charmer of a CD is a collection of 23 ‘character pieces’, Petri celebrating 25 years of working with her long term musical partner, guitarist Lars Hannibal. The title work, Garden Party, was composed for the pair in 1992 by Asger Lund Christiansen. These six bird portraits aren't Messiaen-like song tran-scriptions, but musical portraits, the birds’ movements and personalities described along with the calls. Christiansen’s peacock struts jerkily, and there's a confrontation between a wagtail and a cuckoo. Most of the rest of the disc consists of idiomatic transcriptions. Five of Grieg's Lyric Pieces scrub up nicely, Petri’s rapid tonguing in the “Elve’s Dance” spectacular, and she even nails to the bovine inflections of Grieg's “Cattle Call.” Shrillness is avoided in the perky “Stumping Dance”, Hannibal’s guitar following Petri every step of the way.
Less familiar are Nielsen's Humoresque Bagatelles, easily adaptable as Nielsen's right hand only ever plays one line. Small in scale, they're still echt-Nielsen, beautifully quirky portraits of musical clocks, pup-pets and spinning tops. Lalo’s Fantaisie Norvégienne was originally a long-forgotten fantasy for violin and orchestra, and sounds more Iberian than Nordic, despite the excellence of the playing. Extras are a pair of mellifluous miniatures by Hannibal, and a transcription of an ancient Chinese melody. Irresistible stuff, and warmly recorded. Graham Rickson,27.08.2018