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Robert Schulslager
Fanfare, October 2008

When I read the word “Siesta,” I picture a recumbent Mexican wearing a multicolored serape snoozing under his extravagantly brimmed sombrero. For Lars Hannibal, however, a siesta offers a break from work which doesn’t have to be spent sleeping. Instead, it’s a good time to listen to music. You certainly wouldn’t want to doze through this CD, as even in the familiar pieces the recorder’s woody rusticity shines a new light on the old tunes. Piazzolla’s Histoire du tango—a four-movement suite chronicling the evolution of tango in Argentina—expresses itself with humor, melancholy, and in the last movement, irony. Joan Albert Amargòs’s Tango Català has a Spanish title, but I hear Brazil in its mood, melody, and harmony. After the guitar sets the scene, the recorder joins in, substituting for a sultry singer in a work “having the quiet sadness of many a Jazz ballad” (from Leo Black’s notes). Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Sonatina is the work of a classicist in love with Spain; Ravel’s Pièce en forme de habanera sways to its endlessly seductive rhythm; and Entr’acte, Ibert’s swirling mini-travelogue, recalls the old cliché that some of the best Spanish music is by French composers. Three works by Villa-Lobos close the recital: Modinha (literally, little song), a lyrical, syncopated melody; Distribução de flores, a haunting tune (especially when played by the tenor recorder), with an unmistakable South American Indian sound; and the Cantilena from the well-loved Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5. The recorder and guitar probably won’t displace the voice and cellos of the original in listeners’ affections, but the melody is as beautiful as ever…Overall, a very enjoyable disc that introduced me to some unfamiliar music while providing a fresh look at some perennials.

Zane Turner
MusicWeb International, May 2008

Michala Petri is one of today’s leading instrumentalists.  The amazing capabilities of the recorder in the hands of a virtuoso are admirably demonstrated in Ms. Petri’s rendition of the Albert Lorentz variations for solo recorder (Philips 6514199).

Lars Hannibal is a musician well qualified to partner Ms. Petri in this recording of duets.  He studied guitar at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and lute with Toyohiko Satoh in The Hague.

On the review disc the highly complementary nature of the two musicians is immediately evident. The guitar playing, essentially accompaniment, is never dominant; neither is it unnecessarily subdued or secondary. Mr. Hannibal manages the right balance between attack and empathy for his partner.

It was once suggested that to obtain the technically perfect face, all one must do is create a collage of separate features each individually considered to be perfect. The results of such endeavours are invariably disappointing and fall short of that anticipated.

On this occasion the collage of outstanding individual musicianship, fine duet playing and excellent programme music produces less than that anticipated on several of the tracks; in the Piazzolla I was unable to feel at ease with some of this music played on the recorder.

This same uneasiness emerges in the slow section of the Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No 5 (13). Interestingly arrangements for classical guitar and saxophone fare no better in this particular piece of music.

With no recollections of similar reactions to the Schaupp/Lacey recording I again reviewed their disc. The programme is all from late eighteenth and nineteenth century classical composers, which may in part explain the ease with which the recording garnered appeal.

This may be a reaction paralleling that experienced when listening to the saxophone playing classical music having enjoyed it predominantly in a jazz context. When considering arrangements/transcriptions of music and the instrument or combinations of instruments on which it is to be played, personal preferences are invariably a dominant factor.

It is interesting to note that five different recorders are used on this recording; the guitar played by Lars Hannibal is a fine Ignacio Fleta made in 1961.

My overall impression of the review disc is one of outstanding musicianship, great duo playing and a most enjoyable programme.

That said, some may require a period of adjustment before full appreciation of the recorder’s role in interpreting certain of the programme items is realised; others may have no problem with this combination.

James Manheim, May 2008

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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