Music review: Red Priest entertains with unique technical wizardry

from Houston Chronicle

Music review: Red Priest entertains with unique technical wizardry

By CHARLES WARD ARTS WRITER

Oct. 29, 2009, 5:55PM

If any Baroque-music purists survived the Houston debut of Red Priest, Tuesday’s concert at Midtown’s Trinity Episcopal Church would have been their personal Nightmare on Main Street.

Actually, the four-member, Britain-based ensemble called the evening Nightmare in Venice and, in the spirit of Halloween, featured music composed in Stylus Phantasticus, a 17th-century style noted for its free-form, fantastical moods and unexpected musical effects

Red Priest recorders, violin, Baroque cello and harpsichord opened with a concerto by the original red priest, Italy’s Antonio Vivaldi. ForLa Notte (The Night), the players entered in black hoods and robes, one musician from the side of the church’s chancel and the rest from the church’s rear. They played the horror film-like special effects with ghoulish glee and fabulous virtuosity. Continue reading

Red Priest red hot!

From Matthew Dirst The Real Quill- Red Priest red hot!

Red Priest gave an amazing performance tonight for Houston Early Music, complete with their trademark rearrangements of famous Vivaldi concerti and Halloween-inspired shenanigans. These four players, led by recorder virtuoso Piers Adams, have been compared to the Rolling Stones (among other groups), and now I see why. They play with an enthusiasm that goes well beyond the familiar swaying and ducking of even the most physical of early music practitioners. It’s a fascinating combination of both spot-on playing with the imagination — and sheer nerve — of the best jazzers or rock musicians. Utterly fascinating, though some of the music — particularly the Corelli "Folia" at the end — came completely apart in their hands, though no one there (myself included) seemed to mind!

RED PRIEST outreach concert at Shepherd School

Red Priest will do their outreach concert at the Shepherd School this 
coming Tuesday, October 27, at 12:10pm.  They’ll perform in Hirsch 
hall (enter the building from the parking lot and turn left), and it’s 
free.  Please do come and spread the word!


Thanks,

Greg

Gregory Barnett
Associate Professor of Musicology
Rice University
The Shepherd School of Music – MS 532
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892

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.” …

See also video at Red Priest conjures the spirit of Halloween – Living – MiamiHerald.com

RED PRIEST: A Nightmare in Venice, 27 Oct 2009

Known as The Rolling Stones of early music!

 

The season launches with the notorious renegade of the recorder, Piers Adams, and his famed UK-based group, Red Priest, presenting Nightmare in Venice, just in time for Halloween, on Tuesday, October 27, 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1015 Holman at Main.

Adams, a rock star of the early music genre, is known for bending the rules and for high theatrics. “We don’t set out to cause trouble, honestly,” quips Adams, Red Priest’s artistic director. “But we do like to shake off all of those early music straitjackets and preconceptions, so that we’re no longer bound by a fear of what the composer—long dead as he is—might think.”

According to Houston Early Music artistic director Nancy Ellis, Red Priest is a bit like early music gone wild. “They are known for being way out there,” says Ellis. “They will most definitely add some spice to our programming.” The program includes Vivaldi’s Nightmare Concerto, Tartini’s Devil’s Trill sonata, Masque music by Robert Johnson, Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spirits, Leclair’s Demon Airs and Red Priest’s own Fantasia on Corelli’s La Follia. “Expect some Halloween flavor,” says Adams. “Taking Vivaldi’s spooky and dramatic concerto La Notte as a place to begin, we will explore the myriad themes of fantasy, myth and horror in the Baroque, not forgetting that the word ‘baroque’ itself means strange, bizarre and irregular.” Red Priest really lets it go in Corelli’s La Follia. “Using this famous ground as a starting point, and Corelli’s variations as a loose structure, we pass through many musical styles from gypsy to Indian to modern jazz,” adds Adams.

Some of the fun ingredients in the Red Priest mix include creating their own original arrangements, incorporating stylistic elements from the world and folk music realms, bringing out stories and drama in the music, and wildly colorful costumes. Adams has been referred to as early music’s version of The Rolling Stones, and he doesn’t mind the comparison in the least. “We definitely want to shake things up,” says Adams. “We want to find the most eye- and ear-catching ways to present what we consider to be some of the most fantastic music ever written to the widest possible audience, even if that does mean stretching the boundaries a little.”

Adams will give a pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m.

View a short video of Red Priest

Venue

Trinity Episcopal Church
1015 Holman (at Main)
Houston, TX 77004

Map

Tickets

Tickets to RED PRIEST may be purchased through our new online ticket service.

Prices at the door are $35 for general admission, $30 for seniors, and $10 for students (with student ID.) Free admission for children under 15.

RED PRIEST: program notes and biographies

Houston Early Music Presents RED PRIEST NIGHTMARE IN VENICE: a Baroque Fantasy Piers Adams – recorders David Greenberg – violin Angela East – cello Howard Beach – harpsichord 7:30PM Tuesday, October 27, 2009, Trinity Episcopal Church 1015 Holman 6:45PM Preconcert talk Piers Adams Continue reading

Houston Early Music launches season with UK-based group Red Priest

Download Press Release HOUSTON EARLY MUSIC P. O. Box 271193 Houston, TX 77277-1193 HoustonEarlyMusic.org Media contact: Susan Love Fitts, 936-597-8825 susanlovefitts@consolidated.net Houston Early Music launches season with UK-based group Red Priest Known as The Rolling Stones of early music! HOUSTON, TX— July 27, 2009 – The season launches with the notorious renegade of the recorder, Piers Adams, and his famed UK-based group, Red Priest, presenting Nightmare in Venice, just in time for Halloween, on Tuesday, October 27, 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1015 Holman at Main. Continue reading

Press release for 2009-2010 Season

Download this Press Release in MS Word file HOUSTON EARLY MUSIC P. O. Box 271193 Houston, TX 77277-1193 HoustonEarlyMusic.org Media contact: Susan Love Fitts, 936-597-8825 susanlovefitts@consolidated.net Houston Early Music announces 2009-2010 Season HOUSTON, TX— June 27, 2009 – Houston Early Music announces its 2009-2010 season featuring four internationally known groups – Red Priest, The Rose Ensemble, Ensemble Caprice and Tapestry. Each will delight audiences with inventive programs, outstanding virtuosity and their expertise in early music performance. Continue reading

Houston Early Music—2009-2010 Season

Houston Early Music is excited to announce the concerts in its 2009/2010 season. We hope you will join us for the outstanding performances by some of the leading artists in early music today. Please see our Subscription Page

 NOTE NOTE NOTE

This season we will send our concert reminders via email. Please be sure to give us your contact information by emailing us at info@HoustonEarlyMusic.org or calling us at 713-432-1744. If you don’t use email, please let us know that by phone or mail at Houston Early Music, P.O. Box 271193, Houston, TX 77277-1193
 
     
clip_image001 Tue., Oct. 27, 2009, 7:30PM      RED PRIEST A Nightmare in Venice Trinity Episcopal Church 1015 Holman (at Main)  
  Just when you thought it was safe to go to a Baroque concert – UK’s Red Priest comes to town with a Halloween fest of some of the most extraordinary chamber music of the Baroque era, featuring Vivaldi’s Nightmare Concerto, Tartini’s Devil’s Trill sonata, Masque music by Robert Johnson, Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spirits, Leclair’s Demon Airs and Red Priest’s own Fantasia on Corelli’s La Follia. www.piersadams.com “If the Rolling Stones played recorder, violin, cello and harpsichord and their genre was 17th-century music, they would be the band called Red Priest” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  
      HISPANIC HERITAGE SERIES 
clip_image001[5]         Sun., Dec. 13, 2009, 5:00PM THE ROSE ENSEMBLE Celebremos el NiñoA Mexican Baroque Christmas Christ Church Cathedral 1117 Texas Ave.
  Early Mexican music resounds in this joyful holiday program featuring over two centuries of festive Christmas dances, ballads and villancicos from the great cathedrals of Puebla and Mexico City. Accompanied by viola da gamba, vihuela da mano and percussion, solos and choruses burst forth in this program that’s anything but predictable. www.roseensemble.com “a scholarly, period-conscious group, they sing and play with a lusty ease that blows the dust off old music.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  
     
clip_image001[7] Fri., Mar. 5, 2010, 8:00PM      ENSEMBLE CAPRICE Music of Paradise and Hell Christ the King Lutheran Church 2353 Rice Blvd    
  Montreal-based Ensemble Caprice, under the artistic direction of recorder virtuosi Matthias Maute and Sophie Larivière, returns to perform a dazzling selection of 17th century works on recorders, viola da gamba, baroque guitar and percussion. The performance in conjunction with Society of Seventeenth-Century Music annual conference. www.ensemblecaprice.com “Such dazzling virtuosity on the recorder leaves you in staggering daze!  We wonder by which diabolical trick the flautists manage to articulate at such speed, with so much breath and energy.” Le Devoir – Canada Check out Matthias Maute at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzp_fD6JlAQ –  
     
clip_image002       Fri., Apr. 16, 2010,  8:00PM TAPESTRY Faces of a Woman Trinity Episcopal Church 1015 Holman (at Main)
  The three women of Tapestry, joined by Shira Kammen, vielle and harp return to Houston with a program crisscrossing borders and centuries to tell tales of remarkable women who inspired nations and generations. These women captured the imaginations of artists, composers, and writers throughout the ages. www.tapestryboston05.com “An ensemble that plants haunting vibrations, old and new, in our ears.” Cleveland Plain Dealer  
      SUBSCRIPTION RATES Subscribe to our season and receive a discount on ticket price. As a season subscribers you will be given priority seating. Prices at the door are $35 for general admission, $30 for seniors and $10 for students (with student ID). Free admission for children under 15. Please see our Subscription Page