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Early Music Today

May 2004

VIVALDI: Four Seasons

Dorian DOR 90317

Reviewed by Peter Skuce

There can be no doubt that with every Red Priest performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, dear old Antonio (the red priest himself) turns in his grave – but only because he wants to get up and join the show. There’s a thin line between genius and insanity and Red Priest have crossed that line several times, the trouble is I can never be sure in which direction.

If you think you know the Seasons, if you’ve heard it (or played it) far too often to ever want to hear it again – go straight out and buy this recording. Red Priest’s performance on this disc is passionate but criminal, drunken and disorderly, manic and demonic, outrageous yet compulsive. Their playing is virtuosic to the point of dementia, infectiously irreverent, laughable but hilarious, exciting yet excruciating…. This stuff is cheaper than cocaine, but there’s no way it should be legal. I only hope that next time Customer Services put me on hold for twenty-five minutes it’s the Red Priest version that’s playing.

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