Michala Petri / Lars Hannibal

Siesta

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This recording, a new manifestation of the increasingly common trend that has seen virtuoso performers issuing new material on their own labels, looks as though it should be almost impossible to pull off, and recorder player Michala Petri and guitarist Lars Hannibal execute it so smoothly that you forget they're doing anything unusual. The program consists mostly of music originally written for flute and guitar, with a few other transcriptions including two from vocalises (Ravel's Pièce en forme de Habanera and Cantilena from the Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5). Many are full of quick runs that are much more difficult on the recorder than on the flute, yet they are smoothness itself in Petri's hands. As the Siesta title suggests, the music has a Latin tinge and a consistent relaxed mood. All of it is from the twentieth century, and it contains one unfamiliar but worthwhile find -- the Tango Catalá or Catalan Tango of Joan Albert Amargós. Petri accomplishes some of her technical wizardry by switching from recorder to recorder according to the music's range, even among movements of the four movements of the Astor Piazzolla Histoire du tango. (The Castelnuovo-Tedesco Sonatina, Op. 205, is all played on a single alto recorder.) The result is not a jarring diversity of tone but rather greater homogeneity as Petri uses the instruments' differences to bring the music more comfortably under her fingers. This album might even fulfill the relaxation function the title suggests, and for recorder players it's a more or less mandatory look at what the instrument can accomplish. For any listener it's a superb example of light music, which at its best always carries an element of surprise.

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