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Red Priest

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Season Listing | Program | Program Notes | Biography
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Go for Baroque!   A BBC Radio favorite, Red Priest is a British quartet famed for 
its energetic musicality and theatrical stage style, complete with dramatic lighting, props, costumes… and attitude. They take their name from Antonio Vivaldi, the flame-haired Italian priest, and their music pays homage. On violin, harpsichord, recorder and cello, they serve up bold arrangements still faithful to the original music of Vivaldi, Bach and Baroque Era composers. An album offering a fresh take on “The Four Seasons” was a big seller.
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Red Priest – Program Notes

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Season Listing | Program | Program Notes | Biography

Baroque music revels in the extravagant. The very word “baroque” implies bizarre, irregular and over the top, and the leading musicians of the day were true pioneers, riding the seas of change with wild abandon, ever searching for new musical ideas to titillate the ears and move the souls of the public. Boundaries between high art and street music were yet to be fully established and composers were free to draw inspiration from myriad sources, resulting in a wild and colourful carnival of musical styles.In tonight’s program we have employed a palindromic structure to make a journey through the highways and byways of this fascinating era. Along the way we encounter well known works by the greatest masters of the day – Bach, Handel, Purcell and Vivaldi – alongside strange and fascinating, works from the early days of the Baroque, by composers whose names have not stood the test of time: Castello, Ortiz, Cima and Cazzatti, whose daring stylistic innovations paved the way for the luminaries who followed them.

Most of the works in tonight’s program have been arranged and adapted for the instruments of our ensemble, a procedure which was common throughout the Baroque era; Bach, for instance, adapted the works of Vivaldi and others for solo keyboard, Handel frequently reworked his orchestral material as chamber music, and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons appeared in numerous arrangements (in some 80 different publications) in the century following their composition – including a French transcription for recorder, violin, cello, harpsichord and hurdy-gurdy!The inspiration of folk and dance music is ever present in music of the Baroque – not just in the bucolic revelry of the Four Seasons, but also, for instance, in the music of Bach (hear the rustic Gigue from the suite in A) – a facet which our violinist David Greenberg has taken to its logical conclusion in his amalgamation of Bach with his other love, Cape Breton folk music. We hope the great masters of the past would approve of this kind of juxtaposition — and that through our free and uninhibited approach to their music we are able to bring the Baroque vividly to life!

Red Priest – Biography

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Season Listing | Program | Program Notes | Biography

Since its founding in 1997, Red Priest — Piers Adams (recorder), Julia Bishop (violin), Angela East (cello) and David Wright (harpsichord) has given hundred sell-out concerts in many of the world’s most prestigious festivals.

Piers Adams (recorder) was recently heralded in the Washington Post as “the reigning recorder virtuoso in the world today.” He has performed in numerous festivals and at premiere concert halls throughout the world, including London’s Royal Festival, Wigmore and QueenElizabethHalls, and as concerto soloist with the Philharmonia, the English Sinfonia, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music, the Singapore Symphony and the BBC Symphony. In addition to his work with Red Priest Piers has made several solo CDs reflecting an eclectic taste, ranging from his award-winning Vivaldi début disc to David Bedford’s Recorder Concerto — one of many major works written for and premiered by him. He has also researched, arranged and recorded many classical, romantic, impressionist and folk-influenced showpieces, which are a mainstay of his recital programs. For further information please visit www.piersadams.com

Julia Bishop (violin) is one of the outstanding baroque violin specialists of her generation, with a virtuoso style described in the BBC Music Magazine as “psychedelic.” She has toured the world with most of the U.K.’s leading period instrument orchestras, including the English Concert, of which she was a member for six years. Julia has worked extensively as an orchestral leader and soloist, in particular with the celebrated Gabrieli Consort, with whom she has performed internationally and appeared on numerous discs for Deutsche Grammophon. She has also appeared as concerto soloist with Florilegium, the Brandenburg Consort and the Hanover Band.

Angela East (cello) is widely respected as one of the most brilliant and dynamic performers in the period instrument world, praised in The Times, London, for the “elemental power” of her cello playing. She has given numerous concerto performances in London’s Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls, and has performed as soloist and continuo cellist with many of Europe’s leading baroque orchestras. Among her impressive list of concert credits are La Scala, Milan, Sydney Opera House, Versailles and Glyndebourne. In 1991 Angela formed “The Revolutionary Drawing Room” which performs chamber works from the revolutionary period in Europe on original instruments, and whose first eight CDs have received glowing reviews world-wide. Her long awaited disc of Bach’s Cello Suites has recently been released on Red Priest Recordings. Her CD of popular baroque cello works, “Baroque Cello Illuminations,” has received excellent reviews and was chosen as “CD of the Fortnight” in Classical Music Magazine.

David Wright (harpsichord) has established himself as a prominent figure in the early music world. He was an almost entirely self-taught musician before gaining a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, where he won several prizes, including the International Broadwood Competition, and graduated with distinction. He has worked with some of the world’s leading musicians including Emma Kirkby and James Bowman and performed as a soloist with many groups of international renown. He has directed numerous concerts from the harpsichord, including the first modern performance of Arne’s The Blind Beggar of Bethnel Green, and is guest conductor to several orchestras on the continent. Much of David’s time in recent years has been devoted to performing the Goldberg Variations, which he recorded in 2007 and has since toured extensively. With many television and radio broadcasts to his credit, David continues to pursue a busy and varied career as a harpsichordist and became a permanent member of Red Priest in January 2011.

David Greenberg — Red Priest’s regular U.S. guest violinist — taught himself folk fiddle tunes by ear as a young child growing up in Maryland. In the mid ’80s he studied baroque violin with Stanley Ritchie. Greenberg spent the 1990s with Tafelmusik while developing a specialty in Scottish baroque-folk music, recording three groundbreaking CDs in this genre with the group Puirt A Baroque. He immersed himself in Cape Breton traditional music and co-authored the popular treatise on Cape Breton fiddle music, the DunGreen Collection, with his wife, Kate Dunlay. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In addition to Red Priest, regular collaborators include his own Tempest ensemble, David McGuinness, Chris Norman and Doug MacPhee.

Red Priest – Program

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Season Listing | Program | Program Notes | Biography

Piers Adams – recorders
David Greenberg – violin
Angela East – cello
David Wright – harpsichord

Viva Baroque

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Preludio

Giovanni Paulo Cima (C.1570-1622) / Dario Castello (C.1590-C.1630)
Two Sonatas in “Stile Moderno”

Johann Sebastian Bach
“Bach on A”
Arioso – Bourrée – Sarabande – Gigue

Georg Frederick Handel (1685-1759)
Recorder Sonata in B Minor
Largo – Vivace – Furioso – Adagio – Alla Breve

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Concerto in F major: “L’Autunno” (Autumn, from The Four Seasons)
Allegro (Dancing Drunkards) – Adagio molto (Sleeping Drunkards) – Allegro (Autumn Hunt)

— Intermission —

Antonio Vivaldi
Concerto in F minor: “L’Inverno” (Winter, from The Four Seasons)
Allegro non molto (Bitter Frostbite and Winds) – Largo (Peaceful by the Fire with Rain Outside) – Allegro (Ice Skating and Freezing Wind)

Georg Frederick Handel
Aria in D major

Johann Sebastian Bach/O’Carolan/Dow/Trad (Arr. Greenberg)
“Bach on G”
Prelude – Allegro – Poppy Leaf Hornpipe – The Princess Royal Hornpipe I & II – Miss Charters’ Reel

Henry Purcell (1659-1695) / Maurizio Cazzati (1620-1677) / Diego Ortiz (fl 1580)
A Suite of Grounds

Johann Sebastian Bach
Toccata and Fugue in D minor

Red Priest appears by arrangement with Lisa Sapinkopf Artists, www.chambermuse.com