Click here to return to Reviews

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette (USA)

1st October 2002

Red Priest plumbs the fun in Vivaldi's 'The Four Seasons'

Whatever stuffiness remained in the once-stodgy field of early music blew out the windows of Synod Hall on Saturday. Taking its place was the uproarious conduct of Red Priest, an English foursome that appears to have discovered music's fountain of youth. This Renaissance & Baroque Society concert found the period ensemble -- comprising recorders, violin, cello and harpsichord -- revitalizing Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" and several works by Biber, Van Eyck and Bach.

Fun-loving minstrels and good musicians, virtuoso recorder player Piers Adams and the bunch are master arrangers, especially if you include theatricality.

Their pared-down version of "Seasons" lacked some musical elements, but the work's essence emerged. Its comic nature was pronounced in Adams' uncanny mimicry and the troupe's acting out of some of the programmatic elements (becoming drunkards, hounds and flies in the process).

Even though Red Priest gave a new arrangement of "Seasons," (originally written for strings and continuo), the performance seemed more authentic than one by an orchestra, modern or period.

And that is simply amazing. Any group that can make you rethink a masterpiece and also make it fun is rare indeed.

Review by Andrew Druckenbrod,

Post-Gazette Classical Music Critic

Click here to return to Reviews