Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Berlioz, Michala Petri | Classical music reviews, news & interviews
Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Berlioz, Michala Petri
Funereal Bach, Byronic Berlioz and a Danish fairytale for choir and recorder
The Nightingale: New Nordic Music for Recorder and Choir Michala Petri, Danish National Vocal Ensemble/Layton (OUR Recordings)
You don’t find many discs of music for recorder and a capella voices. Veteran Danish virtuoso Michala Petri joins forces with a crack Danish choir in a fascinating selection of new works. The delight lies in hearing just how well the unadorned clarity of Petri’s tone blends with the vocals. Perhaps it’s less of a surprise when you’re reminded of the recorder’s purity – no valves, reeds or mouthpieces stand in the way of sound production. The main attraction here is Latvian composer Ugis Praulins’ English setting of Andersen’s The Nightingale. Praulins’ eclectic compositional style is readily accessible, encompassing fierce dissonance, speech-like chant and warm diatonic simplicity, over which Petri’s lyrical nightingale song can effortlessly soar, contrasting with the shrill staccato squeaking of the bird’s mechanical replacement. Wonderful stuff, with a radiant conclusion.
Daniel Börtz’s Nemesis divina sets words by an 18th-century botanist. Most effective is the close, with the text reduced to hushed detached syllables punctuated by chirruping recorder. Faroese composer Sunleif Rasmussen’s “I” is harder to assimilate, though it’s impossible not to marvel at the fearless accuracy of the Danish National Vocal Ensemble’s singing. Peter Bruun cites his first musical influences as Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran. There’s little trace of either in his Two Scenes with Skylark, a contrasted pair of poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Petri excels when playing a softer-toned tenor recorder accompanying The Caged Skylark. Stephen Layton directs with style, and the disc is spectacularly engineered.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more Classical music
A heartfelt and moving performance with a star Evangelist
Music and image meet through Musorgsky and Janáček, with unpredictably successful results
A popular symphony, guitar music from Argentina and choral delights from the holiest of minimalists
Two playful Ballets Russes scores outdance the UK premiere of an elephantine concerto
A detailed and engaging portrait of the iconic composer
Vibrant string quartets, an upbeat Mass setting and late music from a 20th-century British composer
A compelling duo runs the gamut from Schumann to Adams
What's it like to listen to umpteen recordings of one work? Heaven, says a Radio 3 regular
Futility and magic in Julian Anderson’s new work, and not enough joy from Ravel
Anniversary Mendelssohn and Beethoven under the fiery leadership of resident Russian
Two discs of romantic orchestral music, and a 20th-century ballet gets a makeover. Twice.
An absorbing encounter with a late masterpiece