American Recorder Concertos

As a veteran of the childhood recorder experience, the appearance of this album in my list produced some skepticism: my own involvement with the recorder was long ago, obligatory and not particularly memorable. Which probably heightened my delight listening to this delicious survey of works by American composers for recorder by Danish virtuoso Michala Petri.

Each of these highly individual works showcases the range and agility of the instrument’s family in unique ways. Anthony Newman’s Concerto for recorder, harpsichord and strings cleverly nods to the recorder’s traditional association in a quasi-Baroque setting but with distinctly contemporary tints. The other three works are in a more contemporary idiom but with their own distinct characters. Roberto Sierra’s atmospheric and zesty Prelude, Habanera & Perpetual Motion channels the pan flute vibe of Latin America. Steven Stucky’s ghostly Etudes showcases the instrument’s quicksilver flexibility, and Sean Hickey’s A Pacifying Weapon, contrasting the recorder against a complement of winds, brass, percussion and harp, is a tour de force with twistingly, fiendishly difficult heroics contrasted by meditatively ponderous reflective moments.

Definitely a rewarding listen.