Chinese Recorder Concertos listed on January CDHotlist in US
26 January 2014
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This is the third installment in the series Dialogue -- East Meets West, which recorder virtuoso Michala Petri inaugurated with her husband on their own record label to facilitate musical exchanges between China and the West. This disc features four recorder concertos by Chinese, Chinese-American, and Taiwanese composers with Petri as soloist. The playing is thrilling; the pieces themselves are all very good, with varying levels of chromaticism and varying blends of European and Asian melodic influences. Petri's recorder is, as always, a joy to hear. (RA)


Classicalcdreview.com on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Classicalcdreview.com
26 January 2014
Michala Petri (b. 1958) began playing the recorder when only three years old and went on to become the world's leading performer on the instrument. Her numerous recordings of standard repertory were staples for collectors decades ago and many are still in the catalog. She also has a keen interest in contemporary music and has commissioned many works. This splendid Da Capo issue offers music by four contemporary Chinese composers. These are not miniatures; they are substantial evocative showpieces for soloist and orchestra. Tang Jianping (b. 1955) wrote his three-movement Flying Song for the Chinese dizi (bamboo flute) accompanied by a Pan-Asian ensemble, heard here in a version with western orchestra. China's best-known composer, Bright Sheng (1955), wrote his Flute Moon on a commission from the Houston Symphony which gave the premiere in 1999 with Christopher Eschenbach on the podium. This music was inspired by Chi Lin, the Chinese unicorn also known as the "dragon horse." The two movements (Chi Lin's Dance/Flute Moon) are a virtuoso display for the solo piccolo which is often accompanied by dynamic percussive orchestral outbursts. Ma Sui-long (b. 1939) wrote his best-known composition for the Chinese dizi (bamboo flute), an instrument with a rather piercing sound because of an extra hole covered with a membrane. The music successfully fuses eastern and western music. Chen Yi (b. 1953) was the first woman in China to receive a master's degree in composition. Since then, she has received many awards both for her music and her teaching. The Ancient Chinese Beautyhas three movements inspired by ancient Chinese totems and clay figurines written to showcase Petri's instruments. It was premiered in April 2008 in Beijing to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Denmark and the People's Republic of China. All of these performances were recorded in Copenhagen's Royal Danish Academy of Music in April 2010 and must be considered definitive. Audio quality is outstanding. A terrific release!
Classicalcdreview.com

Excellent review in US Magazine Fanfare on Cafe Vienna
Fanfare Magazine
23 November 2013
GIULIANI Gran duetto concertante. CARULLI Fantaisie sur un air national anglais. KüFFNER Potpourri sur des airs nationaux français. BEETHOVEN Sonatinas: in c; in C. KRäHMER Introduction, Theme, and Variations. MAYSEDER Potpourri on Themes of Beethoven and Rossini. SCHEINDIENST Variations on an Austrian Folk Tune.


Café Vienna
Audio CD; Hybrid SACD - DSD
Our Recordings
This likeable disc of guitar and recorder duets presents the sort of light classical music that might have been heard in a coffee house in early-19th-century Vienna. Potpourris and variations abound, along with a general air of high-spirited fun alternating with an occasional sentimental melody. Even Beethoven is in an unbuttoned mood in his Sonatina in C (originally for mandolin and recorder, as is its discmate), although the Sonatina in C Minor is not so cheery. Still, it's hardly a heavy or portentous statement. Giuliani's Gran duetto concertante, not unexpectedly, introduces some Italianate warmth, and Carulli converts God Save the King (the Air national anglais of his Fantaisie) into a lyrical, even happy hybrid of English and Italian style. The recital is primarily Petri's show, although Hannibal plays with flair whenever he's given the opportunity; otherwise, he's pretty much restricted to simple accompaniments. Petri, of course, is the reigning diva of recorder music, and it's always a pleasure to hear her display her effortless virtuosity. Overall, this is a charming recital that introduces listeners to some composers whose light has faded over the years, and the Beethoven is far from a repertoire staple. Production values are consistent with the other Our Recordings releases I've seen: informative notes in a well-designed booklet, clear and present recording, and sturdy cardboard packaging that dispenses with the plastic jewel-box format. Robert Schulslaper

This article originally appeared in Issue 33:4 (Mar/Apr 2010) of Fanfare Magazine.
Fanfare Magazine

10/10 in ClassicToday on Chinese Recorder Concertos
ClassicalToday.com
02 November 2013
CHINESE RECORDER CONCERTOS
TANG JIANPING
Flying Song
BRIGHT SHENG
Flute Moon
MA SHUI-LONG
Bamboo Flute Concerto
CHEN YI
The Ancient Chinese Beauty
Michala Petri (recorder)

Copenhagen Philharmonic

Lan Shui

OUR Recordings- 6.220603(CD)
No Reference Recording



Does anyone need 71 minutes of Chinese recorder concertos? On evidence here, the answer is "yes". This is beautiful music, often astoundingly so. Sure, there's a touch of film music glitter to Tang Jianping's Flying Song, and Ma Shui-long's Bamboo Flute Concerto starts with the somewhat oxymoronic designation "Andante Grandioso", but so what? Both Bright Sheng's and Chen Yi's works effortlessly integrate a more contemporary musical syntax with traditional Chinese idioms, and the music works perfectly--intriguing, beguiling, and full of character. It also goes without saying that Michala Petri has no peer today as a master of her instrument, and she wrings more color and expressive intensity from the recorder than you ever believed possible. Toss in fine accompaniments and outstanding engineering, and the result is an absolute joy from start to finish.


--David Hurwitz




ClassicalToday.com

5 Star review in Danish Magazine Klassisk on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Klassisk Magazine
02 November 2013
PIBLENDE PERLENDE FRA RIGET I MIDTEN
5 star in Danish Magazine Klassisk

Sjældent er så meget energi, virtuositet og vildskab blevet samlet på ét sted som på denne CD, hvor blokfløjtenisten Michala Petri med de lynhurtige hænder fortolker tonerne fra fire vidt forskellige kinesiske komponister.
Østens fremmedartede musikalske strukturer kommer stærkt til udtryk i all fire værker. Det vestligt prægede klangbillede i form af Sjællands Symfoniorkester danner spændende kontrast til de orientalske klange.
Tang Jianpings Fei Ge (Flyvende Sang) er iørefaldende fin og farverig med sin bløde, svævende klange. Man fornemmer et jazzet præg i den bløde andensats. Tit synger blokfløjten solo i kadenceagtige, helt frit og luftige passager. Orkestrets chefdirigent Lan Shui er skarp og præcis og skaber et rytmisk, fremadrettet drive gennem værkets piblende passager. Han holder orkestret tilbage og giver plads til fløjtens sprøde klange.
Mystisk og mørkt åbner Bright Shengs tosatsede værk Flute Moon for strygere, harpe, klaver, slagtøj og et arsenal af forskellige blokfløjter. Værkets indledende toccata står distinkt med sine karakteristiske rytmiske motiver. Åbningssatsen Chi Lin's Dance beskriver det mytologiske væsen enhjørningen, som er et sagnomspundet væsen i kinesisk kultur.
Michala Petri former værket med smittende solistisk autoritet og driver energisk orkestret frem med fløjtens eksotiske klang-og rytmemotiver. Undervejs skifter hun behændigt mellem blokfløjter i mange størrelser og skaber varierede klanguniverser.
Ma Shui-longs Bambusfløjtekoncert klinger filmisk med storladen orkestrering, og den lyse, dansende blokfløjte imiterer med lyrisk lethed orkestrets motiver. Igen får Lan Shui det levende og sprudlende frem i orkestret. Chen Yi's The Ancient Chinese Beauty afspejler forskellige elementer fra den antikke kinesiske kultur. Satserne har hun symbolsk kaldt Lerfigurerne, De gamle totemmer, og Det dansende blæk. Fløjten er igen fri i de stille, atonale passager, mens orkestret leverer et sparsomt, transparent og rytmisk akkompagnement. Det enkle lydbillede kulminerer i en ilter dans til sidst. Musikalsk er denne koncert dog pladens mindst interessante. Det er mere figurer og fragmenter end egentlig musik.
Skiven åbner en spændende og eksotisk sprække ind til den mangfoldighed og farvestrålende kinesiske musikkultur, vi kun kender en flig af i Vesten. Michala Petri er overbevisende som frontfigur hele vejen- en spillevende, lysende ledestjerne. Christine Christiansen, Januar 2011

Klassisk Magazine

Norwegian Music Magazine Klassik on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Klassik Magazine, Norway
01 November 2013
Norwegian Music Magazine Klassisk
by Martin Andersson, Nov/Dec 2010

The Our Recordings CD of four recorder concertos by Chinese composers is more of a halfway house. The concerto Flying Song (2002) by Tang Jianping (född 1955) is bright and energetic, martial and dance-like as required, but with moments of introspection. I see from Joshua Cheek's highly informative (necessarily so!) booklet notes that Tang writes film music as well as in almost every other genre; this concerto suggests his film scores must be extremely effective. Bright Sheng's Flute Moon (1999) is in two movements: a
driving toccata representing a huge 'dragon horse' in Chinese mythology and the second an angular and vigorous elaboration of a melody from c. 1200. The
good-natured and attractive Bamboo Flute Concerto (1984) by Ma Shui-Long (född 1939) has become something of a classic: written for dizi, or soprano
bamboo flute, it accommodates Chinese melodic material within the framework of a western concerto – and there's a 'western' flavour in another sense,
since there's more than a hint of Hollywood in Ma's scoring; the grandiose peroration of the slow movement is wonderful. The Ancient Chinese Beauty
(2008) by Chen Yi (född 1953) is a step or two on from Bartók, with astringent, mildly dissonant folk-based harmonies and insistent, almost minimalist rhythms. Here, too, the idea is almost more interesting than the
music: all four pieces are relatively lightweight in terms of their musical content – it will need a real heavyweight of a composer to come along and
crunch west and east together in an individual language before this kind of cross-fertilisation sounds natural. Michala Petri's performances are nonetheless breath-taking (literally, I suppose), and she gets fine supports from her Danish compatriots under Lan Shui.



Klassik Magazine, Norway

Classical.net on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Classical.net
26 October 2013
Classical.net
The style of music in this selection with which most non-aficionados of Chinese music will be most familiar is to be found on Chinese Recorder Concertos (OUR Recordings 6.220603), where Michala Petri plays recorder in four modern concerti with The Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lan Shui. Fei Ge ("Flying Song") by Tang Jianping, who was born in 1955 contains much beautiful and atmospheric music with many Western orchestral techniques, though has the aura at times of film music. The best known of these composer is Bright Sheng (b.1955), who has lived in the United States since 1982 and is a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan. His Flute Moon is in two movements and driven by dance rhythms and Stravinsky an insistence on forward movement.
More conventionally Chinese-sounding are the two works, the "Bamboo Flute Concerto" by the oldest of the composers represented here, Ma Shui-long (born in 1939) and "The Ancient Chinese Beauty" by Chen Yi (the only woman composer, born in 1953 and a classmate of Bright Sheng at the Beijing Central Conservatory in the late 1970s after the end of the Cultural Revolution). In all cases the playing of Petri is impeccable, though she is not recorded so closely as to afford us a clear hearing of all the nuances written for the recorder. That's a pity. The orchestration, skillful though it is, swamps the recorder, especially in the louder passages. At times – in the work by Tang Jianping, in particular – there is little except some vaguely modal writing and an emphasis on the more plangent tones of which the solo instrument is capable to suggest a thoroughly Chinese métier. But this should not be seen as a drawback: the composers' aims were specifically to blend Eastern and Western traditions, using melodies and musical theories from China with techniques of orchestration and instrumentation from the West. To that end this CD can be taken very much at face value and not necessarily as an entrée into to Chinese music. This CD does consciously represent a push to make the traditions of the older musical culture available and enjoyable to Western audiences. The recorder's gentle and expressive qualities and sound approach so closely the natural breath rhythms of human beings (listen to the slower passages in Flute Moon [tr.5], for example). So it's well-placed to convey the essence of this world. And all the more so when in Petri's hands. Mark Sealey.

Classical.net

Gramophone review on Chinese Recorder Concertos
Gramophone Magazine
20 September 2013
Gramophone January 2011, Ken Smith.

Eastern works for flutes transcribe admirably for Western recorder.
The title is a bit of a stretch, since only Chen Yi's The Ancient Chinese Beauty (2008) was actually composed for recorder (in this case for Michala Petri herself) Bright Sheng's Flute Moon (1999) was originally written for Western flute, while Ma Shui-Long's Bamboo Flute Concerto (1984) and Tang Jianping's Fei Ge (2002) were composed respectively for the hampi and dizi, two different styles of Chinese transverse flutes. That said, the recorder is probably the only instrument with both the Western tuning and woody timbre to bridge the gab, and Petri proves to be a brilliant cultural negotiator in her own right.
Tang, the head of the composition department at China's Central Conservatory, offers a rousing opener, ostensibly inspired by Miao singing styles but often sounding more like a cross between Copland's prairie music and Elmer Bernstein's film scores. Sheng's Flute Moon marks a clear departure from his earlier works, the unrelenting aggression of H'un ("Lacerations") now giving way to unapologetic lyricism. Chen, unsurprisingly, reaches a wholly different level, with a range of emotional states and contrasting playing techniques that fits Petri's instrument and personal playing style with bespoken elegance.
The composers from People's Republic stand in stark contrast to Taiwan-born Ma, who was an established composer when his younger colleagues were picking rice in the Cultural Revolution. His Bamboo Flute Concerto (1984) may not have Chen's emotional breadth or Sheng's orchestrational brilliance but its pioneering fusion of Chinese sonority and Western form radiates with a thrill of discovery that practically percolates off the page.
Gramophone Magazine