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Priest on the Run
Dario CASTELLO (1590–1658) Sonata Terza [5.15]
Diego ORTIZ (1510–1570) Two Ricercadas (Recercadas sobre Doulce memoire - Recercada seconda; Recercada primera) [3.14]
Georg Phillip TELEMANN (1681–1767) Sonata in A minor Gypsy [10.20]
Luis de NARVAEZ (1500–1555/1560) Cancion del Emperador [3.29]
Anon Renaissance Revels [2.41]
Bartolomeo de SELMA E SALAVERDE (1580–1638) Canzona Prima [5.46]
Johann Heinrich SCHMELZER (1623–1680) The Cuckoo Sonata [4.31]
Marco UCELLINI (1603/1610–1680) La Bergamasca [3.08]
Henry PURCELL (1659–1695) Two in One upon a Ground (The History of Dioclesian, or The Prophetess, Z627) [3.20]
George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) Aria Amorosa (Trio Sonatas,Op. 2 HWV386-91) [2.58]
George Phillip TELEMANN (1681–1767) Fantasia for Viola da Gamba [4.44]
Maurizio CAZZATI (1616–1678) Zefiro’s Ground [3.52]
Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741) Chamber Concerto RV92 [10.00]
Red Priest (Piers Adams (recorders); Julia Bishop (violin); Angela East (bass strings); Julian Rhodes (harpsichord))
rec. Forde Abbey Somerset, March 1998

Experience Classicsonline



Red Priest are no ordinary baroque ensemble and they don’t do ordinary recitals. So anyone coming across this disc hoping for a sedate stroll through baroque chamber music will get something of a shock. This disc is a re-issue, on the group’s own label, of a disc that originally appeared in 1999. As now packaged, with a cover illustrated by rather lurid coloured graphics, you would never mistake this for something ordinary.

The group have given a new nickname ‘Priest on the Run’ to one of Vivaldi’s concertos and used this as an excuse for a highly coloured narrative about Vivaldi’s final days in Venice. This narrative provides the excuse for the music on the disc, as if we needed a reason. There are no programme notes per se, just a rather strange monologue that purports to be Vivaldi thinking over the places where he could flee to from Venice. So we start in Spain before moving over to England and then Hamburg.

The group’s performance style is as highly coloured as their disc. Not for them the sedate, well behaved chamber music that the works on the disc would imply. Instead they bring a rather ‘bad boy’ rock sort of attitude to their performances. Performers improvise within - and without - the structure of the music, new harmonies are created and references made to music which the original composers would never have known. All use every expressive device possible, with much pitch bending, over articulation and rhythmic emphasis.

The results are hardly true to the original composer’s intention, but have a certain joie de vivre which may appeal. Occasionally they go much further than this. The Telemann Sonata has all sorts of anachronistic gypsy effects which may delight or may (as in my case) rather annoy.

But not all is over-excited get up and go. For the two English pieces, we enter a period of repose with Purcell’s Two in one upon a ground and a movement from a Handel Trio Sonata.

This disc will not appeal to everyone. Frankly I think that they try far too hard to be new and different. There is even a suspicion of a rather adolescent desire to shock. But for those people for whom Baroque chamber music is something to be viewed with suspicion, this disc might be a winner.
Robert Hugill

See also review by Jonathan Woolf


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