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OU 0603
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OU 0603
Recorder Concertos: Petri, Michala - TANG, Jianping / SHENG, Bright / MA, Shui-Long / CHEN, Yi (Chinese Recorder Concertos)

Recorder Concertos: Petri, Michala - TANG, Jianping / SHENG, Bright / MA, Shui-Long / CHEN, Yi (Chinese Recorder Concertos)

The Classical Shop
release date: February 2013

Originally recorded in 2010


Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra

Shui, Lan

Lan Shui


Michala Petri



The Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen, Denmark

Record Label
Our Recordings


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 71:14
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Recorder Concertos: Petri, Michala - TANG, Jianping / SHENG, Bright / MA, Shui-Long / CHEN, Yi (Chinese Recorder Concertos)

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Fei Ge (Flying Song) (version for recorder and orchestra)

1 Part I - 7:01
 Lan Shui Soloist
2 Part II - 6:14
 Lan Shui Soloist
3 Part III 5:41
 Lan Shui Soloist



Flute Moon (version for recorder and orchestra)

4 I. Chi Lin's Dance 6:04
 Michala Petri Soloist
5 II. Flute Moon 12:53
 Lan Shui Soloist



Bamboo Flute Concerto (version for recorder and orchestra)

6 I. Andante grandioso 8:07
 Lan Shui Soloist
7 II. Adagio cantabile 6:25
 Lan Shui Soloist
8 III. Finale: Allegretto con gioco 3:51
 Lan Shui Soloist



The Ancient Chinese Beauty

9 I. The Clay Figurines 5:12
 Michala Petri Soloist
10 II. The Ancient Totems 4:15
 Lan Shui Soloist
11 III. The Dancing Ink 5:31
 Michala Petri Soloist
 Shui, Lan

A little more than 30 years ago, most western audiences’ knowledge of contemporary Chinese music rested upon two works: The “Yellow River” Piano Concerto and the “Butterfly Lovers” Violin Concerto. Indeed, 30 years ago, these were the only two works permitted to be performed for western audiences. But everything changed after the death of Mao and the end of the Cultural Revolution. As a result of the economic reforms instituted by Deng Xiaoping, China was suddenly thrust upon the world’s stage and when the universities reopened in 1977 (most were closed for the duration of the Cultural Revolution), there was a manic drive for China to take her place in the modern world.
The past 30 years have witnessed one of the most phenomenal episodes in human history: following Deng’s reforms and the subsequent opening up of China, the entirety of 20th century western cultural innovations were suddenly made available to China’s artists and musicians. From Isaac Stern’s pioneering visit to China in 1979, to the later cultural exchanges that brought over many of the West’s most progressive composers and artists to lecture and teach (including George Crumb and Alexander Goehr), the country’s young composers were all at once exposed to the totality of 20th century western music, from Debussy (a composer whose music was detested by Madame Mao), to John Cage!
It was during this cultural melee, that the Central Conservatory in Beijing reopened. Students from around the country who had been “sent down” to work in China’s rural areas during the Cultural Revolution rushed to Beijing to be considered for admission. It was this first class, the now legendary “Class of 1978” that would produce China’s first generation of truly international composers, including Chen Yi, Bright Sheng, Zhou Long, Tan Dun and others.
The current program features the music of four contemporary Chinese composers – each of whose works display a distinctive approach to blending eastern and western aesthetic traditions. In the music of classmates Chen Yi and Bright Sheng (both of whom currently reside and teach in America), they wrestled with how to approach the problem of incorporating traditional Chinese material within the largely Western-derived language of modern music. For Sheng, this takes place primarily in terms of utilizing Chinese melodies and subject matter within the context of a 20th century symphonic idiom. In Chen Yi’s music, she not only incorporates Chinese melodies into her works, but frequently bases her compositions on ancient Chinese musical theories, abstracting and distilling them into a unique, contemporary musical language. In the case of versatile and prolific mainland composer Tang Jianping, the sky is the limit! Tang freely draws on every available resource from Buddhist chants to Bach Preludes and Fugues, creating accessible and emotionally compelling works that could only have been written by a Chinese. The fourth voice in our fugue, Ma Shuilong is the dean of Taiwanese composers and has the honor of being the first-ever Taiwanese composer to have been performed at New York’s Lincoln Center. Ma’s music is also characterized by the amphibious quality seen in that of his younger colleagues – namely adapting Chinese content to western forms and idioms in a musically and aesthetically satisfying manner.
And yet, despite the individuality and diversity of each voice in our four voice fugue, this represents only a fraction of China’s vibrant, kaleidoscopic contemporary music scene. To date, English-language texts about contemporary Chinese music are still rare, and while the number of recordings of contemporary Chinese composers has increased in recent times, many of China’s greatest living composers remain unknown outside of their homeland. To this end, it has been the wish of Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal, through their “Dialogue – East Meets West” to provide the opportunity for both Western and Chinese musicians and composers to creatively collaborate in an international, musical dialogue.
"...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 - - 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 - - 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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