Red Priest conjures the spirit of Halloween

Red Priest conjures the spirit of Halloween – Living – MiamiHerald.com

BY REBECCA J. RITZEL
SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD

… Adams leads Red Priest — a quartet named for the flame-haired cleric and composer Antonio Vivaldi — that opens the St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series in Miami Shores on Saturday.

Ever since the ensemble released its Nightmare in Venice CD in 2000, he says, it has been asked to play music from the album on U.S. tours.

“For some reason, you tend to go very big into Halloween over there, so we always end up playing our big Nightmare in Venice Halloween spectacular,” Adams said, speaking from his home in England last week. “It’s actually nice to come back to it each year. It’s a funky program, and we rather like doing it.”

If “funky” seems an odd adjective for Baroque music, well, that’s because Red Priest is an unusual Baroque ensemble, given to creeping onstage in dark-hooded capes, employing atmospheric lighting and even fog machines to amp up the ambience for Vivaldi’s La Notteconcerto, otherwise known as The Nightmare.

Red Priest brings drama to chamber music, but that’s not why Paul Posnak, a piano performance professor at the University of Miami and founding artistic director of the St. Martha’s series, booked the group.

“Under all the theatricality, all the costumes, these are serious musicians and scholars,” Posnak said. “People are going to be dazzled.” …

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¡Cancionero! – Houston Chronicle Review

By CHARLES WARD – Houston Chronicle
….Brazilian-Uruguayan countertenor José Lemos sang with appealing simplicity and directness. With a smooth sound that served the music, he could twist listeners around a vocal finger with sensuous melodies or, aided by the instrumentalists, make them fidget with energy. Playing a wide variety of flutes, recorders, strummed and bowed string instruments (the crumhorn was ailing and couldn’t be used), the Consort had great fun producing spirited, polished music for the large audience in Midtown’s First Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is slowly becoming a location for performances of liturgical and early music as part of its overall rejuvenation. Consort members noted that the ensemble is now in its 28th year of touring, but one took a moment to congratulate Houston Early Music on its 40th anniversary (it previously was known as the Houston Harpsichord Society). Because of the group, Houston has become a key stop for touring early-music performers, he said.
More at The dark side of ¡Cancionero! | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Review of Fortune’s Wheel concert

Fortune’s Wheel: making music from the far past seem like it was wrriten yesterday

By CHARLES WARD, January 13, 2008
…. But the Fortune’s Wheel singers – Lydia Heather Knutson, Aaron Sheehan and Shira Kammen – perfromed as if the Medieval English style had become their primarily musical language. Their simple communication with the audience made the essentially unfamiliar music as appealing as the Three Bs. Kammen, on the harp, and Mealy, on the fiddle, added sinuous accompaniments. ….
Read the full review

San Diego Reader Review of MIRIE IT IS

From Jonathan Saville, San Diego Reader
… The group’s latest program, Mirie it is, presented them with difficulties of a special kind. A great deal of medieval French music has come down to us with both words and tune, and to realize it in a modern performance what is needed is an informed feeling for the style and an ability to improvise historically suitable accompaniments and embellishments. The Fortune’s Wheel musicians are exceptionally good at this, neither too bold nor too cautious, but with a wonderful air of spontaneity and freedom.
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