Sean Hickey speaking into microphone

Klassik-Heute reviews A Pacifying Weapon

Those who are said to have lived longer: After the unstoppable triumphal procession of the compact disc has increasingly supplanted the conventional long-playing record since the eighties of the last century, the LP was predicted to be in rapid decline. But despite all prophecies of doom, she has never really disappeared completely and in particular she was still considered the true hi-fi enthusiast as the sonic non plus ultra. Vinyl is back in shape today. Even the larger record labels are now releasing black discs again, so it's no surprise that OUR Recordings, one of the most innovative Scandinavian classic labels with a pronounced penchant for exquisite sound, has decided to release the present production exclusively on vinyl. With the label's proven sound engineer, the Grammy-nominated Preben Iwan, you also have one of the world's best sound magicians on board.

And in many ways this recording is surprising: not only because of its exceptional sound and the high production quality, but above all because of its musical qualities. Above all, Michala Petri as outstanding soloist, but also the young musicians of the Royal Danish Academy of Music under the direction of Jean Thorel.

With this "American" record, Petri's series of concerts for recorder and orchestra from various countries ends for the time being and with Sean Hickey (born 1970) one can win one of the most famous and successful American composers of his generation. Hickey's three-movement Concerto A Pacifying Weapon was written in 2015 for recorder, brass, percussion and harp, an original cast, albeit not used for the first time: already the Swedish Composer Ingvar Karkoff and the Austrian Viktor Fortin have composed concertante works for the recorder and symphonic wind orchestra. What makes Hickey's work so unmistakable is his distinctively American sound language - in the best sense eclectic and incorporating influences from very different worlds and styles Hickey manages a convincing and often exceedingly sound piece, in which the recorder repertoire (from sopranino to bass) in many beautiful dialogues and chamber music sequences combined with the various wind and percussion instruments of the orchestra. For Hickey, the recorder, this millennium-old instrument, is a tool of peace in a world that is becoming increasingly unfriendly. Quite rightly, the attractive, dazzling score and extraordinary recording was recently awarded the Gold Medal at the 2017 Global Music Awards.

Recordings

A Pacifying Weapon album cover