MP3 Red Priest - Priest on the Run
A wild musical ride through renaissance and baroque Europe. Recommended if you like the Four Seasons by Vivaldi.
19 MP3 Songs in this album (62:59) !
Related styles: Classical: Baroque, Classical: Vivaldi, Instrumental
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PRIEST ON THE RUN – A Fantasy
Darting furtively from doorway to doorway with surprising agility for one of his advancing years, the flame-haired priest makes his way through the moonlit streets of Venice, his black cloak billowing behind him. Few catching sight of this lone figure would guess that he had once been the city’s most renowned violinist and composer – so quickly do musical fashions change. One of the old man’s early compoitions comes suddenly to mind as he runs, its pounding rhythms and frenzied bass line mirroring his own beating heart and rushing blood. Priest on the Run. A fitting title indeed!
What could be the cause of our priest’s unceremonious exit from the city which created him? Have the Church authorities finally heard of his dabblings in the Hermetic arts, which lie behind so many of Venice’s towering cultural achievements? Has his extravagant lifestyle – unbefitting to his priestly role – caused him problems of a more material nature? Or has he simply been less than discreet in his dealings with the young orphaned women under his tutelage? In any case a journey across Europe has now become inevitable, both to escape his fate here, and – maybe – to recapture some of his former glory. Once again he pauses to consider his possible destinations.
Spain – itself richly steeped in the magical arts – was home in days past to musicians of divine inspiration: Diego Ortiz, the legendary viol virtuoso, whose skill at the art of playing divisions surpassed even that of the Venetian masters of that time. A generation earlier, the great Luis de Narváez had captured the very essence of this land in an exquisite setting of an old Flemish refrain: Canción del Emperador. And how about that rogue Augustine monk, Bartolomeo of Salaverde, who came a hundred or more years ago to live at the Royal Court of Innsbruck, adding a piquant Spanish flavour to the new Italian canzona style which was already popular there?
Yes, Spain could certainly provide a refuge for the weary priest, but now, like Venice, it is becoming less tolerant: the effects of the Inquisition have inevitably taken their toll on the spirit of the land. England, however – more progressive by far in recent times – might welcome him openly. The German Georg Händel has made his home there, and would surely provide a safe haven – in exchange, if nothing else, for the musical ideas the priest unwittingly gave the German during the latter’s stay in Italy (did he not recently hear an aria from one of Herr Händel’s trio sonatas which sounded suspiciously Venetian?) Interesting, too, to see where the doomed genuis Henry Purcell had lived, and died so young: who else but he could make such easy work of writing a 2-bar canon over a 6-bar ground, and suffuse the same with such arresting beauty?
And what of the thriving Hanseatic port of Hamburg, home to the extraordinarily famous and still influential Georg Telemann, who has, by coincidence, written several flamboyant trio sonatas for the same uncommon combination of recorder, violin and basso as the newly christened Priest on the Run concerto, still playing relentlessly on the red-haired man’s mind? Or even Bavaria, land of that mad musical alchemist of bygone days, Heinrich Schmelzer, whose fiddle playing has been said by those old enough to remember, to equal that of the priest himself?
As he finally comes within sight of the habour, and the merchant ship which might smuggle him to safer shores, the old man is overcome with emotion. What has happened to his beloved Serenissima that his ideas are no longer welcomed? Gone is the intoxicating air of innovation and experimentation which had produced a century of musical genius – maestri such as I Signori Monteverdi, Castello, Uccellini and Cazzati – to whom the Red Priest is probably the last worthy successor. In those days extravagances were cheered and music was unrestrained by the conventions of fixed tempo and structure which have now crept up insidiously to rob music of it spirit – just as the rigid rules of the Church seem to rob our spirits of the music of life.
Suddenly frail and breathless, the priest pauses at the water’s edge, a silhouette against the moon’s reflected light, and he bids a final farewell to his home. What is to become of him?
July 28th 1741
The Abbé Don Antonio Vivaldi, known as the ‘Red Priest’, an outstanding violinist and famous composer of instrumental concertos, who is said at one time to have earned 50,000 Ducats, has died in Vienna in direst poverty owing to his extravagance.
RED PRIEST is the only early music group in the world to have been compared in the press to the Rolling Stones, Jackson Pollock, the Marx Brothers, Spike Jones and the Cirque du Soleil. This extraordinary acoustic foursome has been described by music critics as ‘visionary and heretical’, ‘outrageous yet compulsive’, ‘wholly irreverent and highly enlightened’, ‘completely wild and deeply imaginative’, with a ‘red-hot wicked sense of humour’ and a ‘break-all-rules, rock-chamber concert approach to early music.’
Founded in 1997, and named after the flame-haired priest, Antonio Vivaldi, Red Priest has given several hundred concerts in many of the world’s most prestigious festivals, including the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Moscow December Nights Festival, Schwetzingen Festival, Prague Spring Festival, Bermuda Festival, and in most European countries, Japan, Australia, and throughout North and Central America. The group has been the subject of hour-long TV profiles for NHK (Japan) and ITV (UK) - the latter for the prestigious South Bank Show in 2005, which documented the launch of the Red Hot Baroque Show, an electrifying marriage of old music with the latest light and video technology.
Red Priest’s latest venture is the launch of its own record label, Red Priest Recordings, distributed globally by Nimbus. Alongside the re-release of the group’s highly acclaimed back-catalogue – Priest on the Run, Nightmare in Venice and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – is the brand new recording, Pirates of the Baroque. Many exciting projects are planned for the coming months, including solo recordings from group members, an all-Bach CD, a DVD of the Four Seasons and downloadable sheet music. For further details please visit https://www.tradebit.com.
Piers Adams was recently heralded in the Washington Post as ‘the reigning recorder virtuoso in the world today’. He has performed in numerous festivals and at premiere concert halls throughout the world, including London’s Royal Festival, Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls, and as concerto soloist with the Philharmonia, the English Sinfonia, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music, the Singapore Symphony and the BBC Symphony. Piers has made several solo CDs reflecting an eclectic taste, ranging from his award-winning Vivaldi début disc (Cala) to David Bedford’s Recorder Concerto (NMC) - one of many major works written for and premiered by him. He has also researched, arranged and recorded many classical, romantic, impressionist and folk-influenced showpieces, which are a mainstay of his recital programs.
Julia Bishop is one of the outstanding baroque violin specialists of her generation, with a virtuoso style described in the BBC Music Magazine as ‘psychedelic’. She has toured the world with most of the UK''s leading period instrument orchestras, including the English Concert, of which she was a member for six years. Julia has worked extensively as an orchestral leader and soloist, in particular with the celebrated Gabrieli Consort, with whom she has performed internationally and appeared on numerous discs for Deutsche Grammophon. She has also appeared as concerto soloist with Florilegium, the Brandenburg Consort and the Hanover Band.
Angela East is widely respected as one of the most brilliant and dynamic performers in the period instrument world, praised in The Times, London, for the ‘elemental power’ of her cello playing. She has given numerous concerto performances in London''s Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls, and has performed as soloist and continuo cellist with many of Europe''s leading baroque orchestras. Among her impressive list of concert credits are La Scala, Milan, Sydney Opera House, Versailles and Glyndebourne. In 1991 Angela formed ‘The Revolutionary Drawing Room’ which performs chamber works from the revolutionary period in Europe on original instruments, and whose first eight CDs have received glowing reviews world-wide. Her long awaited disc of Bach’s Cello Suites is due for release on Red Priest Recordings in 2009. Her CD of popular baroque cello works, ‘Baroque Cello Illuminations’, has received excellent reviews and was chosen as ‘CD of the Fortnight’ in Classical Music Magazine.
Howard Beach’s uniquely wide-ranging style of keyboard playing has been developed through years of partnering fine musicians in many different fields of music, as well as his own experience as an accomplished singer and violinist. Since 1989 he has worked regularly with Piers Adams in concert and in the recording studio as both harpsichordist and pianist - including several performances in London''s Wigmore Hall and tours throughout Europe, Canada and the Far East. He has also performed and recorded as a concerto soloist and continuo player with Les Arts Florissants, the Apollo Chamber Orchestra and the London Mozart Players. Howard broadcasts frequently on radio and has been consultant and performer for Channel 4 TV.