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Recorder & Koto; Recorder & Choir

Three Haikei And More

Composers: Erwin Koch-Raphael, Annette Schlünz, Yatsuhashi Kengyou, Yuji Takahashi, Misato Mochizuki, Toshio Hosokawa & Traditional 13C
Performers: Jeremias Schwarzer (recorders) & Makiko Goto (koto)

Neos 11010

Two remarkably innovative CDs hot on the heels of our attending the International Recorder Competition in Greenwich, where we were able to share in the remarkable development of this once-humble schools instrument to the force in the music world it now has become.

Jeremias Schwarzer with his partner Makiko Goto take us from 13th C Japan to contemporary Germany. The ancient solos sound very different on recorder from shakuhachi, and the two instruments (with occasional vocalisms too) display subtle timbres in a range of music by contemporary composers. Very absorbing, if a little on the sombre side, so better not played straight through.

Classy production, as evidenced by the publicity photo of the two artists.

New Nordic Music for Recorder and Choir

Börtz: Nemesis divina
Bruun: Scenes with Skylark
Praulinš: The Nightingale
Rasmussen, S: ”I”

Danish National Vocal Ensemble
/Stephen Layton with Michala Petri (recorders)

OURrecordings 6.220605

The latest release by Michala Petri, masterminded by Lars Hannibal, is in many ways her best. An extraordinary selection of Nordic commissions, each one is completely riveting in its unique way.

Praulins' nightingale decorates a Hans Christian Anderson tale about two nightingales, the real one (Michala) eclipsing the monotonous repetitions of an artificial one. Börtz's Nemesis divina treats a quite extraordinary text by the botanist/thereotician Linnaeus; broken up in such a way that the text is essential to follow it. Likewise for Rasmussen's modernist "I", in which "A man and a woman and a blackbird (Michala) are one". Finally, the younger Peter Bruun's G M Hopkins settings involve the "breathy, human tessitura of the tenor recorder" as the poet's Caged Nightingale.

Tremendous texts and marvellous music for each one. Lavishly produced in a fully illustrated glossy booklet.

Peter Grahame Woolf