"...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 - January 2011
Artistic Quality 10 Sound Quality 10
"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 - ClassicsToday.com - August 2011
"...Kudos to her[Michala Petri], to the wonderful Copenhagen Philharmonic and conductor Lan Shui – and to the composers of these wonderful pieces..."
The Whole Note - December 2010
"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."
Ken Smith - Gramophone magazine - January 2011
"...A strong outing from Denmark’s new OUR Recordings label..."
James Manheim - AllMusic - November/December 2010
"...Michala Petri’s performances are nonetheless breath-taking (literally, I suppose), and she gets fine supports from her Danish compatriots under Lan Shui."
Martin Andersson - Norwegian Music Magazine Klassisk - November/December 2010
"...All four recorder concertos are fascinating, most enjoyable, and quite different from one another. The three-part Fei Ge is translated Flying Song, and it was originally created for the Chinese bamboo flute accompanied by a Pan-Asian group of instruments. The composer rearranged it for recorder and western orchestra. The title comes from the melodies of the improvisatory opening section being reminiscent of some Chinese Flying Songs. Flute Moon, by well-known Chinese composer Bright Sheng, was a commission of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. Its inspiration came from the Chinese unicorn, which is also known as the “dragon horse.” The first and shorter of the two movements is in a Stravinskian style. The second movement is based on an art song by a Song Dynasty poet and composer. The Bamboo Flute Concerto, also known as the Bang Di Concerto, is the best-known composition of Chen Yi, and a successful musical synthesis of East and West. The Bang Di is the sopranino member of a family of Chinese flutes which have an extra hole drilled in the flute body, covered by a square piece of bamboo membrane to add resonance and amplify the flute’s sound. Though the melodies often come from Chinese folk music, the composer has followed the conventions of the western classical concerto. I found these three-movement concerto less tonal and melodic than the other three. The closing concerto is a lovely work inspired by various elements of Chinese culture, including Han Dynasty clay figurines, ancient totems, and the script style of the Tang Dynasty. She specifies the use of the alto recorder for the first and third movements and the tenor recorder for the second movement. The tenor is intended to invoke the sounds of both the large bamboo flute and the Xun, an ocarina-type of instrument. The wide-range frequency spectrum of the excellent SACD surround preserves the often extended and expressive highest timbres of the various recorders, which are beautifully set off against the orchestra." *****
John Sunier - AudiophileAudition.com - October 2010
"This is not the first Chinese collaboration by the Danish recorder virtuoso Michala Petri, but it`s the most interesting yet. Inspired by their country`s rich variety of flute traditions, these four concertos reflect the way China`s composers are melding their musical heritage with the symphonic one of Western Europe and America. And they also reflect the thoroughness with which Chinese composers have transcended the privations of those terrible years when they were condemned to hard labour in the countryside.
Tang Jianping`s Fei Ge draws on the folk music of the Hmong, but has at times a confident, almost Broadway lushness of sound; Sheng`s Flute Moon calls on all Petri`s virtuosity, plus that of the Danish orchestra`s piccolo player; Ma Shui-Long`s Bamboo Flute Concerto is initially relentlessly cheerful, before moving into a graceful echo of 20th-century English pastoralism. The three movements of Chen Yi`s The Ancient Chinese Beauty – the most original of those works – use Petri`s three recorders to reflect the respective timbres and tone-colours of three very different Chinese flutes. Each of these works has its own charm, each will help to build China`s still-evolving indigenous symphonic tradition." ****
Michael Church - BBC Music magazine - December 2010
"This excellent album is the third release in OUR Recordings "Dialogue-East meets West" project and features concertos by four Chinese, Chinese-American and Taiwanese composers. The variety of tonal colours and textures that Michala Petri and the Copenhagen Symphony Orchestra coax from their instruments is spectacular. There is great energy in these performances, and the balance between the soloist and the orchestra is spot on. Petri uses newly designed Mollenhauer and Moeck Ehlert recorders, which project well and are therefor never overpowered, even in the percussive orchestral passages. The works themselves are so well constructed that the recorder soars effortlessly out from the rich textures.The influence of the dizi or bambooflutes, for which some of the concerts were originally scored, is clear. While Petri uses special techniques including glissandi, flutter.tonging and different kinds of vibrato to emulate the Chinese instruments, she also makes the concertos very firmly the recorder`s own. Tang Jianping`s "Feige" sounds almost like a film score, particulary in the second movement`s emotionally charged tenor recorder parts, the cadenza of Ma Shui-Long`s "Bamboo Flute Concerto", meanwhile, showcases Petri`s celebrated virtuosity. Perhaps the most evocative work, however, is by Chen Yi. "The Ancient Chinese Beauty" is a fascinating piece with great contrasts and wonderful interplay between the recorder and the orchestra. *****
Jill Kemp - Musolife magazine (UK) - September 2010
"...This is Want List material."
Raymond Tuttle - Fanfare - September 2010
Recording of the Fortnight.
"Todays composers in China are achieving east-west fusion with none of the formalism of previous decades. From the wild melange of rock, jazz and classical in Tang Jianping`s ’Feige’ to the finely crafted classicism of Chen Yi`s ’The Ancient Chinese Beauty’, individuality and energy abound. Even 71-year-old Ma Shui-Long`s ’Bamboo Flute Concerto’ deftly mixes traditional Chines and western traditions with a sence of freschness. All four works make demands on virtuosity that few other than Petri could meet!" 4 out of 5 stars
Classic Music Magazine - 28 September 2010
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