Live music came back to the Cavendish Hall with the wonderfully irreverent baroque quartet, Red Priest, playing two concerts on the same day to ensure all members of Peak Music, alongside some lucky ticket holders, could enjoy the performance whilst meeting the current social distancing requirements. Restrictions aside, it was glorious, delightful, magnificent and just plain brilliant to be able to experience live music once again. The clip below was recorded on the night:
Red Priest, who last performed at the Cavendish Hall in 2012, offered a lively programme of early baroque music delivered with true theatrical flair; the harpsichordist, David Wright, who crossed his legs, the cellist, Angela East, who could treat her instrument like a guitar, Julia Bishop, the stand-in violinist and admittedly an original Red Priest member, who played with flair and wonderful facial expressions, with the jocular leader, Piers Adams, on recorder. That was 10 different recorders ranging from base to descant with not a “miss-squeak” to be heard.
The delight of the Cavendish Hall is that it enables an intimate conversation between artists and audience. We heard explanations about the pieces typical of the period; Sonatas, concertos topped and tailed by two pieces by J S Bach. But it was the witty repartee from Piers Adams that really enlivened the evening. We learnt that Johann Bach “surely had the descant recorder in mind when he wrote his stirring music for cathedral organ” and that a contestant on “Who wants to be a millionaire” lost several thousand pounds in winnings because he did not know that “Telemann was the most prolific composer of all time, the original musical thief who borrowed ideas for his copious output”. We also learnt that the combination of two different instruments on the top line such as recorder and violin last night (rather than two oboes or two violins, say) was banned in many places at the time as it was considered to lead to dangerously improper thoughts being planted in the minds of those listening!
At the end the audience wanted more and were duly rewarded with an encore – the oompah sounds from the base recorder echoed by the other instruments were rivalled by motorbikes roaring outside, an inevitable consequence of open doors to increase ventilation in these Covid times.
Roll on the next concert featuring pianist Tim Horton on Thursday June 10th. It’s great to be back!