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Piers Adams and David Wright make up half of Red Priest, the self- proclaimed bad boys (and girls) of early music; when a group’s previous recordings include ‘Pirates of the Baroque’, ‘Handel in the Wind’ and ‘Nightmare in Venice’, you know you’re dealing with musicians with a distinctly alternative approach. Therefore, it comes as a surprise to learn that the wildness alluded to in the title of this disc refers to the quirks of composers such as Biber, Falconieri and Bull, rather than to any fantastical aspect of the programming; rather, apart from translating some pieces from violin to recorder, the works included are more or less presented in their original formats.

It’s all a showcase for Adams’s lightning-quick, virtuosic style, although there are moments where one might feel that clarity (of phrasing and gesture – certainly not of articulation) has been sacrificed for the sake of pure speed. But the more contemplative episodes are also movingly done; Corelli’s third sonata from his op. 5 collection is a good choice to round off the disc.

The carefree suavity of Wright’s harpsichord solos – particularly in a D’Anglebert prelude – show that he’s no mere background support act, and reinforce the disc’s underlying message that this age of musical exploration manifested itself not only in manic craziness, but also in more self- indulgent envelope-pushing.

Adrian Horsewood Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing