Red Priest, King's Lynn

A couple of hours of the new century were suspended at St Margaret's Church, King's Lynn, while Red Priest, a revolution in early music, gave a virtual cabaret of the Baroque — and that just in the first piece, Sonata Decima.

By MICHAEL DRAKE

A couple of hours of the new century were suspended on Saturday evening at St Margaret's Church, King's Lynn, while Red Priest, a revolution in early music, gave a virtual cabaret of the Baroque — and that just in the first piece, Sonata Decima.

St Margaret's surely has seen and heard little like it. It was to set the pattern from the Red Priest himself, a musical jester with recorders and his colleagues playing violin, cello and harpsichord.

In dramatic theatre music, an English Masque Suite Medley, the quartet conjured up all sorts of fantasies as the instrumentalists changed moods in an instant, while Van Eyck's Variations for Solo Recorder became more and more complicated in the embroidery of the plaintive melody. No wonder this pied piper has such a following.

A fantastic version of Vivaldi's Concerto Grosso in A minor preceded an arrangement of an arrangement of Couperin's Pieces Fantastique for cello and keyboard while Biber's Mystery Sonata for Violin was the platform for outstanding virtuosity and intensity with the mystery held to the last few bars.

The venue was not ideal, the intimacy being lost, but it allowed a large number of people to see and hear instrumentalists at an extraordinary level.