SOLO CDs (click on the images to purchase)
WILD MEN OF THE SEICENTO
This stunning new recording focusses on the extraordinary, trailblazing music of the Seicento – the 17th Century. Frequently overlooked nowadays in favour of the baroque ‘household names’ who followed, the musicians of the Seicento were truly innovative – surprising, expressive, quirky and often demonically virtuosic. Piers Adams has teamed up with Red Priest cohort David Wright to explore the best of this forgotten musical genre, giving new voice to the Wild Men of the Seicento!
Ever wondered what great Romantic virtuosi such as Liszt or Paganini would have sounded like if they had played the recorder? Would women have swooned in the aisles at the spectacle of a fully grown man performing feats of bravura showmanship on a humble descant recorder, or melted at the seductive tone and soaring romantic lines of the tenor instrument? Recorder Maestro Piers Adams, together with pianist Howard Beach explore this intriguing possibility in a wealth of music by Chopin, Rachmaninov, Sarasate, Schubert and others, fearlessly arranged and performed on this extraordinary disc.
Piers Adams’ best-selling disc of virtuoso recorder music from 1590-1830 was recorded 25 years ago but remains a classic today. Named after a charming piece by the Dutch 17th century musician Van Eyck, the album explores a wealth of music by well known baroque composers – Bach, Corelli, Telemann – alongside lesser-known masters, and culminates in the flamboyant music of early 19th century czakan (keyed recorder) artist Ernst Kraehmer. A wide-ranging recital which will delight all recorder fans.
This intriguing album is something of a ‘hidden secret’, exploring a corner of the recorder’s repertoire which has become unjustly neglected. The middle years of the 20th century saw a revival of interest in the instrument spearheaded by Carl Dolmetsch, who commissioned over 50 new works by leading British composers, mostly in a pleasingly tonal, neo-romantic style, a pre-cursor to the recorder’s ‘avant garde’ period from the 1960s onwards. This recording brings together the highlights of this important area of the recorder’s heritage, together with one or two more recent works in similar style – deeply evocative, playful, expressive and often thrilling music, which will surprise even the most hardened critic of the recorder!
A superb double album featuring the cornerstones of the recorder’s baroque repertoire, performed by Piers Adams in his 1989 debut recordings, which still compel today. The unadulterated virtuosity of the Vivaldi is undimmed across the decades, as a youthful Adams proved himself more than a match for the very best players of the day, bringing his own individual sparkle to these monumental works and earning multiple awards from the music press. The Handel sonatas provide an elegant foil.
RED PRIEST CDS
Red Priest’s sixth album focusses on the music of Handel, and features in particular a daring romp through his greatest work, the Messiah. The BBC Music Magazine wrote: “For sheer technical wizardry, charismatic showmanship and expressive devilment, Red Priest is in a exhilarating class of it’s own”, whilst Germany’s classical music station WDR3 described this recording as “72 minutes of pure listening pleasure”.
Taking its title – bizarrely – from a David Bowie hit, Red Priest’s fifth offering is a tribute to the greatness of Johann Sebastian Bach. The disc features well known favourites such as the Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Brandenburg Concerto no.3 alongside a host of colourful arrangements from the sonatas, concertos, suites and keyboard works. According to the International Record Review: “It’s pretty difficult to imagine anyone in Bach’s time or our own managing to pull off quite such a coup of collective virtuosity and unashamed display as does Red Priest, a singularly skilled foursome”.
Album number four from the brigands of baroque music is a colourful chest of stolen musical jewels, featuring Vivaldi’s famous ‘Tempesta di Mare” concerto, a theatrically piratical suite of pieces by Couperin, the famous Albinoni Adagio and much more! The London Times described this disc as: “Ferociously enjoyable…. Superb musicians lie behind their affectionate stylistic tricks … I loved it all”, whilst Classic FM’s celebrated critic David Mellor proclaimed it “an extraordinary performance from one of the most exhilarating groups I’ve encountered in many a long year.”
Red Priest’s recording of the Four Seasons was perhaps the defining moment in the group’s career. With this groundbreaking interpretation of Vivaldi’s much-loved classic Red Priest truly burst onto the international scene, and attracted rave reviews worldwide. Even the generally conservative Gramophone Magazine included it in their top four all-time recordings of the work, stating “there’s nothing like their blend of virtuosity and mahem. This is The Four Seasons like you’ve never heard it before”, and the BBC music magazine added “for sheer imagination it’s unbeatable.” If you buy no other Red Priest recording you should own this one!
The second album from Red Priest, recorded in 2001, is a startling affair, inspired by the very first piece the group performed, in its first concert four years earlier – Vivaldi’s gothic-horror concerto, ‘La Notte’. Upon this they have built a nightmarish collection of strange and wonderful music featuring ghosts, witches, demons and fairies, and culminating with their own, still hugely popular fantasia upon Corelli’s ‘La Folia’. As the London Times put it: “Baroque music revels in the extravagant… Red Priest’s larger-than-life approach only enhances the music’s energy and lets its spirit fly. Magnificent!”
Hear where it all began! Red Priest’s 1998 debut CD immediately established the ensemble as one of the most exciting early music groups in the world, and set the course for the stellar career which was to follow. No holds were barred in their interpretation of music by Vivaldi, Telemann, Castello, Purcell and others, but as Gramophone Magazine commented: “Red Priest has the fire, technical ability and sheer daring to bring it off.” This stunning and still-fresh recording is an essential part of the Red Priest collection!