Michala Petri: Recorder Virtuosa

Michala Petri, the extraordinary musician who makes her music on the recorder, performed a thrilling concert, February 10, at the Center for Performing, Menlo-Atherton, presented by Music@Menlo(see photo below). Are you, Dear Reader, one of those who thinks that the words “Thrilling” and “recorder” could not belong in the same sentence? If so, it’s time to tune in to Ms Petri’s artistry. The recorder is much more widely performed in Europe, but there are contemporary composers rediscovering the surprising versatility of what Ms Petri calls “the simplest of instruments–only eight finger holes.” Ms Petri’s recording of The Nightingale, a work for choir and recorder, received ¬†Grammy nominations for Best Choral Performance and Best Classical Contemporary Composition. The Latvian composer, Ugis Praulins based the work on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. The Danish National Vocal Ensemble recorded it with Ms Petri. The recorder’s heyday was the Baroque era, and Ms Petri’s performance demonstrated the great variety of musical explorations and achievements by composers of grandeur, complexity, and endless invention: Bach, Vivaldi, Corelli. Ms Petri performs without any extras, no arm waving or posturing. She picks up her instrument and lets her faster-than-a-speeding-bullet fingers fly with perfect precision. The result is music one feels and feels one sees sculpting the air, reinventing what one thought was time. Her gifted companions were oboist Allan Vogel and harpsichordist John Gibbons. For more about this performance, Ms Petri, and the recorder, look for the next in print issue of The Hedgehog.petri-eblast-web.091334