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Todd Gorman
American Record Guide, March 2018

This program takes its title but not its theme from the gentle and genial suite by Asger Lund Christensen written in 1992. It’s a short set of six pieces named for birds; characteristic pieces make up this program. From a selection of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces to Nielsen’s Humoresque Bagatelles to Hannibal’s Dreams and Sunset Dance (both 1989, arranged in 2015), it all shows us that no matter how much these two have recorded, they can always find more and make it worth hearing. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Dave Saemann
Fanfare, November 2017

Part of recorder player Michala Petri’s appeal as a concert artist, apart from her musicianship and stunning virtuosity, is that she is a beautiful woman. With the years, she has grown more beautiful in body and soul. I’m sure the two are connected. …Now, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Petri’s duo with guitarist Lars Hannibal, they have released Garden Party, a collection of character pieces. The guitar parts have been arranged by Hannibal, except for the title work, Garden Party, which was written for Petri and Hannibal by the Danish cellist and composer Asger Lund Christiansen.

Garden Party is a wonderful celebration of a quarter-century of the Petri/Hannibal duo. Here’s wishing them another 25 years of eloquent music-making together. Highly recommended. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, November 2017

This CD is identified as a collection of character pieces… For Petri, such works, because they bear a descriptive title, let audience members know what the composer had in mind, and therefore listeners are made to feel “safe.” In this way, a shared listening experience is created.

Asger Lund Christiansen’s Garden Party, a suite of six sketches based on birds (the blackbird, the chaffinch, etc.) was composed for Petri and Hannibal. It’s a charmer, and I particularly liked how the cuckoo, more clueless than aggressive, has the very last word in his duet with the wagtail, as if he hasn’t realized that the piece has ended! The works by Nielsen and Grieg were composed for piano. The former’s Humoresque-Bagatelles sound very unlike Nielsen, and I suppose that’s because a) they are early works, and b) they were composed for children. They work beautifully when played on a recorder and a guitar.

Lalo’s Fantasie, probably most familiar in its version for violin and orchestra, also exists in a version for violin and piano. It has never seemed particularly Norwegian to me, and it seems even less so in this version for recorder and guitar, but that doesn’t matter, given how nicely Petri and Hannibal play it. It has plenty of atmosphere; just don’t expect Scandinavia! …The closing work is Zhang Weiliang’s adaptation of a traditional Chinese tune whose title is translated as “Flowering [Blossoming?] Flowers at the River Ge.” …the recorder imitates Chinese bamboo flutes and the guitar imitates the pipa, the traditional Chinese lute. It brings Garden Party to a quiet and somewhat mysterious close—just perfect! © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, November 2017

Garden Party, the title work, is inspired by birds that friend Asger Lund Christiansen has encountered on forest walks. He avoids the obvious by characterizing the birds portrayed as much as imitating the songs. The six brief avian portraits—clever and amiable—were written for the duo in 1992. Two evocative works by Hannibal are also included. Originally written for the unusual quartet of violin, trumpet, double bass, and electric lute, they are here performed on recorder (alto, tenor, and bass) and acoustic guitar, a combination that seems perfect for these delicate, warm-hearted works. The program ends with a reminder of the Petri/Hannibal Duo’s work with Chinese musicians: a realization of an ancient melancholy Chinese melody by Chinese flute master Zhang Weiliang. It is arranged here for Western instruments, but with an appreciation for Eastern aesthetics and technique. The result is both exotic and deeply moving.

Little needs to be said of the performances themselves. These extraordinary artists would seem to be incapable of anything less than the superlative. They clearly have lavished the same attention on these delightful trifles as on any imposing modern score they have tackled together, and their affection and delight is contagious. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

James Manheim, October 2017

The great Danish recorder player Michala Petri, having inspired a generation of younger virtuosos, has turned in the later part of her career to recordings of a personal kind, issued on a label of her own distributed by Naxos. Here, together with guitarist and frequent concert partner Lars Hannibal, she explores the character piece: not in itself a personal genre, but Petri explains in an elegant note how such pieces help her connect with new audiences, an enterprise to which the recorder is well suited. To this end she offers delightful miniatures, arranged from piano pieces by Nielsen and Grieg; a lovely and all-but-unknown Fantaisie norvégienne by Lalo that exists in various versions, and some contemporary pieces that fit the mood, as well as a Chinese finale. Throughout, Petri offers the mix of clarity and tonal precision and warmth that has had her setting the standard for a while now. Highly recommended. © 2017

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, September 2017

In celebration of their 25th anniversary, Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal have selected a very special program of mostly calm and reflective music, wonderfully played. The relaxed beauty of the performances allows the listener to drift off in the dreamlike realm of peace and pleasure. © 2017 Pizzicato

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