UK DK – Michala Petri (recorder) & Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) – [TrackList follows] – OUR Recordings

UK DK – Michala Petri (recorder) & Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) – [TrackList follows] – OUR Recordings multichannel SACD 6220611,   66:00 [Distr. by Naxos] (2/2/15) ***:

This is an interesting recording from OUR Recordings from Germany. It features two fine musicians, Michala Petri playing the recorder, and Mahan Esfahan at the harpsichord. Jahan lives in the UK and Petri is Danish, hence the album title. The two musicians first performed publicly together t the Pharos Chamber Music Festival on the Island of Cyprus.

The album theme is continued through the selection of music, with composers from Denmark and England. The music focuses completely on 20th century compositions , some of it composed especially for Petri, including a newly commissioned work from Daniel Kildane as well as CD premiers of works by Holboe and Henning Christiansen.

It’s interesting to hear two instruments considered ‘baroque’ playing these contemporary pieces, but overall, the concept works very well. I particularly liked the Gordon Jabob Sonatina for Recorder and Orchestra and the Daniel Kildane Tourbilon, which is a solo encore for Petri, but all the works are listenable and well played.

The recording is good, but the audio balance is curious. The recorder is pretty well anchored to the left speaker, while the harpsichord seems generally centered. The right channel is weak. I confirmed this by listening to two separate audio systems, an audio level meter, and also headphones. It seems an odd choice for balancing the audio, but there you are. There’s no problem with the sound of the instruments, it’s just that the stereo and surround outputs seem a bit lopsided. If I hold my ear to the right speaker, there is audible output, it’s just lower than the left channel. The recording was in a Copenhagen church, but I doubt the acoustics determined the channel balance, which really is under the control of the producer.

Having said that, this is a listenable album with a well thought out selection of music most listeners will not have heard. I’m still scratching my head over the balance of the channels.

TrackList:

Arnold: Recorder Sonatina Op. 41
Borup-Jørgensen: Fantasia for sopranino recorder and harpsichord, Op. 75
Britten: Alpine Suite for Recorder Trio
Christiansen, H: It is spring, Op. 56
Holmboe: Sonata, Op. 145
Jacob, G: Sonatina for treble recorder and harpsichord
An Encore for Michala –
Kidane: Tourbillon

—Mel Martin

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