"Mozart’s Flute Quartets played on recorders? Unusual but not improbable; and Michala Petri, who uses recorders in three different pitches, is likely to disarm resistance or hostility. She chooses a sopranino instrument for K298. But no shrill piping, no phlegmatic phrasing. The first movement is a theme and four variations, the overall marking Andantino implying a single tempo. But as Mozart offers each musician an individual role in each of the four variations, Petri treats the components as separate facets of a single entity. She relaxes or tightens the pace as necessary without compromising unity; and no one hogs the limelight. These artists know when to blend, separate or step forward without upstaging one another. The return to the theme at the end, not in the score and therefore "unauthorized" is, nevertheless, a thoughtful interpretative touch. The sound on this disc (in SACD) is alluringly recorded..."
Nalen Anthoni - Gramophone magazine - November 2008
"Can anyone believe that Michala Petri is now 50 years old? Time is certainly beginning to pass me by more rapidly than I’d like to admit, but I was taken aback when reminded that she made her debut all the way back in 1969, and the career ever since has certainly approached legendary status. Her playing doesn’t seem to have suffered much either, judging by this new SACD of stunning Mozartian revelry and extraordinarily rich surround sound. But why the recorder? I supposed one could be flippant and answer, “Because she is Michala Petri and wants to do it.” But even as the notes to this deluxe release admit, the recorder was well on its way out the door when these quartets were written, and the transverse flute had already replaced the instrument as the primary home wind instrument, fairly easy to play and featuring a more luxurious and subtle sound than the more piecing recorder. But, using the model that Mozart himself was a practical man and would have approved playing the pieces on recorder if there were a Thaler involved, we now have this very interesting and well-played (if not really definitive, only because of instrumentation) release. It is not probable that these works were written either for commission or for initial publication, but for Mozart’s friends and colleagues. But the question remains as to the choice of solo instrument here. I must say that Petri does her dead level best not to remind us that this is a recorder by playing with a softer sound and using a variety of instruments. Nonetheless, for those who know the works well it will come as a slight shock to hear them played this way, though by the end you will have long forgotten about it and been completely swayed by the stunning musicianship and excellent rapport among these sterling colleagues... —this is a remarkable and enchanting disc of exceptional attributes."
Steven E Ritter - Fanfare - October 2008
"Not Mozart’s favourite instrument nor are these my favourite Mozart works - they are given loving performances which make convincing the use of recorders, rather than the more usual modern flute in many of the recordings available. Michala Petri rings the changes with several instruments and finishes K285b on sopranino, which I doubt she would claim as in any way authentic, but no matter, it makes for an effective finish. I have a personal interest in this release because, in long since student days when I used to play the recorder, I deplored the lack of any Mozart solo music for my instrument. So I transcribed the (inauthentic) solo part of the "violin sonata K.570" [Peters Edn] to create a Mozart sonata for treble recorder, which was belatedly published by Peacock Press in time for the Mozart 250 celebrations year; it is available from Recorder Music Mail. **
The disc is a high quality SACD recording (if you have the equipment to appreciate its niceities*) but the music sounds fine on a variety of ordinary players. It should inspire recorder players to bring the quartets into their chamber music repertoires."
Peter Grahame Woolf - Musical Pointers - August 2008
“A Winner – FIVE STARS!”
"The four smiling women on the cover of this new edition of Mozart’s flute quartets have much to be happy about. They’ve compiled a winner. For a start, search and discover these wondrous samples of their craft from K285 alone: in the Allegro, there’s a graceful diminuendo at the conclusion of first theme’s opening statement; at the conclusion of the Adagio two tantalizingly long rests; then there is the keen attention the ensemble gives to subtle shadings between repeats; and of course the pure hardwood tones of the recorders . . .what? Recorders? That’s right. Michala Petri plays these four sublime “flute” quartets on a variety of recorders: alto, soprano, even the birdlike sopranino. The first two may have originally been played on such instruments. However, this unorthodox programming choice works gloriously for all four pieces. She may dazzle us, but never do we get the impression that she’s showing off her virtuosity (of which there is plenty). She is merely revealing this music in its best light. In fact, these quartets just happen to sound better than when played by most modern flute players. The sonics of this SACD seem perfectly balanced, with tones warmer than a comforter in March. The three string players are extraordinary: their instruments complement the recorders the way balsamic vinegar does virgin olive oil. These performances are not only smooth, they are entertaining. The Tema con variazioni of K285b recalls affective moments from Mozart’s serenades: its poignant opening melody is seasoned with tasty triplets half way through. (Catch Petri’s deft witty switch to sopranino at the conclusion.) There are many such high points on this CD. You will have to pick out the best for yourself, so listen close. This is music that may inspire you to curl up next to a fire, cat, or lover and forget the world’s colossal disarray.
*Michala Petri performs on the Mollenhauer Modern Alto recorder and the Moeck Rottenburgh Soprano and Sopranino recorders
Peter Bates - AudiophileAudition.com - August 2008
Artistic Quality 10 Sound Quality 10
"Petri’s playing-accompanied by a very capable string trio with the rapport and ensemble awareness of seasoned chamber musicians (listen to the delicate phrasing in the Menuetto of K. 285a)-allows her lines their "solo" character while achieving a more gratifying integration with the strings than is possible with the modern flute’s more assertive, metallic voice. The warm, ebony-timbre of the three different recorders Petri uses (alto, soprano, and sopranino) actually has a closer affinity to the quality of the stringed instruments, and thus to the flute of Mozart’s day. Although even in the hands of a master like Petri the recorder’s intonation challenges can’t be absolutely solved, the few slightly under-pitch moments are just that-momentary-and will be unnoticed by all but the most keen-eared, attentive listeners.Petri’s impressive technical command of these instruments-supported by gorgeous, natural, ideally balanced sonics-allows her complete musical/expressive freedom, and in pieces that are not among Mozart’s most notably sophisticated creations, she and her responsive partners make music that’s both eloquent and entertaining--just what Mozart would have wanted. Highly recommended!"
David Vernier - ClassicsToday.com - June 2008
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