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The Daily Telegraph

March 2003


Dorian DOR-90305

   Red Priest, adopting Vivaldi’s nickname, are a radical period group bringing a fresh, fiery flair to Baroque music. I heard them in a pre-Christmas concert provocatively entitled The Red Priest and the Virgin, and this disc recaptures all the zest of their live performances.

   Vivaldi’s G minor concerto La Notte is the peg on which they hang this “nightmare” tour of the European Baroque, taking in 17-th century English music by Robert Johnson and Purcell, together with sonatas by the Italians Giovanni Paolo Cima and Dario Castello and a French suite from Jean-Marie Leclair’s Scylla et Glaucus.


Witches, ghosts and fairies are the main characters in this music, and Red Priest, made up of violin, cello, recorders and harpsichord, lose no chance in bringing them to life, “bending” notes, scratching on the bridge of the string instruments, and generally establishing an atmosphere of spectral shock.

   Red Priest are a crack ensemble with serious virtuoso credentials, but they also know how to make this music fun: quoting Elgar’s Cello Concerto in the middle of their own Fantasy on Corelli’s ‘La Folia’ is one example of their saucy spirit.

Geoffrey Norris

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