<< -- 2 -- Keith Bramich MUSICAL EVANGELISM
The angular, comic and red themes extended to the musicians' attire,
with virtuoso baroque violinist Julia Bishop's pointed black boots -- she apparently owns
two pairs -- forming a talking point in the Old Black Bear
(reputedly Gloucestershire's oldest pub) after the concert. Amongst
other prestigious positions, Julia is leader of the Gabrieli Consort, recording for
Deutsche Grammophon, and she coaches and directs the baroque orchestra at
London's Royal Academy of Music. We caught more than a glimpse of her
performing intensity in Biber's Crucifixion Sonata (No 10 of the fifteen
Rosary Sonatas which depict the story of Christ in allegory).
Howard Beach, at the harpsichord, possibly the
most priest-like of the group, swapped his dark red shirt for one with red and black
stripes during the interval. Also an experienced singer, violinist and pianist,
Howard works as a soloist and continuo player with groups such as
Les Arts Florissants and the London Mozart Players, and makes frequent broadcasts.
Angela East, the group's cellist (and secret weapon), wore
a black outfit with large gold lightening bolts and stars, and
boasted the wildest hairdo.
She has appeared as soloist with many of Europe's leading baroque orchestras,
and has played at La Scala, Sydney Opera House, Versailles and Glyndebourne.
Her powerful performance of the Prelude from
Bach's Fifth Cello Suite began the concert's second half, providing
a taster to her 2001 recording of the complete Bach Cello Suites on Dorian.
Recorder player Piers Adams was dressed mostly in black, with a red waist band,
leather trousers, and one red shoe, one black. Hailed recently by The
Washington Post as the world's reigning living recorder virtuoso, his
musical tastes are eclectic, and many major contemporary works have been
written for him. He's probably the only recorder virtuoso to use vibrato
to signify irony.
With various communications channel(s) to the audience already open and humming,
there was no need for the usual tricks of the trade, the building of rapport by
telling stories, playing whilst walking amongst the audience or
using vocal sound effects such as cackling and shouting Olé during
gaps in the music, but Red Priest used them anyway, including Adams' surprise
appearance at the back of the auditorium, Pied Piper like,
for a wonderfully fluid and singing performance of
The English Nightingale by the blind Dutch composer and recorder
virtuoso Jacob Van Eyck (1590-1657).
Copyright © 1 June 2003
Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK