Michala Petri

English Recorder Concertos [2012]

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Danish recorder player Michala Petri has commissioned a number of works, including the Malcolm Arnold and Richard Harvey concertos heard here. She has executed this process intelligently, eliciting works that not only display her nonpareil technical skills but also reflect on the connotations a recorder carries in a modern setting. The Harvey concerto contains some of the conventions of neo-Renaissance writing, but sets them against both the extreme virtuosity of the solo part and the "incantations" of the title; if not exactly spiritual, it's a fresh and utterly accessible work. The short concerto by Arnold is one of the slight but luminous works of his old age. The Suite for recorder and strings of Gordon Jacob, composed in 1957, was commissioned by recorder revivalist Carl Dolmetsch. Its language was in no way restricted by the amateur ethos of the mid-century recorder revival, with hints of jazz present both rhythmically and harmonically and a solo part that yields nothing to the other two works. Petri is icily superb throughout, but the real pleasure here is in the music, not simply the mechanics.

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