Café Vienna

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Carulli,etc,Giuliani,Krähmer,Küffner
LABELS: OUR Recordings
WORKS: 19th-century café music by Giuliani, Carulli, Küffner, Beethoven, Krähmer, etc
PERFORMER: Michala Petri (recorder), Lars Hannibal (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: 6.220601

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Michala Petri has done great things for the recorder, helping to bring it back centre-stage after its 19th-century eclipse by the flute and clarinet, and here she takes the process on further. However, Café Vienna is a misleadingly modish title for her collaboration with Lars Hannibal: what they have done is to bring a chamber-music genre out of the shadows, and also to extend – through new arrangements – the extremely narrow repertoire for their unusual instrumental combination, with Beethoven’s unassuming little pieces in their collection being actually the least interesting.

Far more noteworthy are the gravely spacious Fantaisie sur un air national Anglais – ‘God save the King’, that is – by Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841), the intricate Introduction, Theme, and Variations by Ernest Krahmer (1795-1837), and the Variations on an Austrian Folk Tune by Carl Scheindienst. Some of these works were written for violin and guitar or mandolin, and some (including the Krahmer) for a rare Hungarian instrument called the csakan.

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In Dialogue: East meets West Petri teams up with a Chinese player on the xiao and dizi flutes to perform pieces specially written for this East-West instrumental combination by five young Chinese composers and five young Danish ones. The real interest of this collaboration lies in the contrast between what the Western and Eastern instruments can do, with the latter capable of an amazing variety of tricks. Michael Church