Classical music with a creative twist

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WITH comparisons to the Rolling Stones and Cirque du Soleil, Baroque ensemble Red Priest will begin Chamber Music New Zealand’s 2019 season in Invercargill in style.

Originally founded in 1997, the United Kingdom-based group features Piers Adams (recorders), Adam Summerhayes (violin), Angela East (cello) and David Wright (harpsichord).

Adams, who, along with East, has been with the group since its inception, said it was their first time touring New Zealand.

He said the group’s stage performance was “quite different from your typical classical music performance”.

“We do it from memory, we move around the stage. [It’s a] high-energy performance.”

They also use an interesting line-up of instruments.

Adams said he brought about 12 recorders along for the show, and Summerhayes was also a multi-instrumentalist, playing some Baroque guitar and a wind instrument called the gemshorn.

Along with the variety of instruments, Red Priest would perform works by several composers including Biber, Telemann and Handel.

Adams said the programme The Baroque Bohemians, drew connections between early music, Baroque music and Gypsy music.

“Which are really exciting in their own right – but put them together and it’s quite explosive.”

Adams described it as a very audience-friendly programme, with lots of short pieces, surprises and changes, and interactions with the audience.

“It’s a very lively programme.”

The performance would end with Antonio Vivaldi’s The Gypsy and the Priest. Vivaldi also inspired the ensemble’s name, as the Italian composer was known as the ‘Red Priest’.

“That’s where we got the name. It’s really worked well for us because it sounds a bit like a rock group or something, but people in the know immediately think of Vivaldi, so it covers both bases.”

Adams encouraged people to come along and experience their music. He said it should be enjoyable for both classical music fans, and people new to Baroque.

“If you’ve never heard Baroque music before this is definitely going to be the way to hear it – everyone’s going to get something out of it.”

  • Red Priest, Victoria Rooms, Civic Theatre, Thursday, March 28, 7.30pm. Tickets are available from TicketDirect.
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