Johann Im Only Dancing

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Red Priest, Friday July 18

Johann, I'm Only Dancing!!

Turning into Shrewsbury on a glorious evening after a day of most dispiriting weather, we did not at first realise that the concert would be a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. St Chad's Church in Shrewsbury is a glorious Church, built in the 1790s, with a circular nave and white painted galllery, wooden pews and hatchments hung around the walls.

Red Priest is a small group - only four - but, to use the old phrase, perfectly formed. They also turn what can be a rather sober event these days of "historically informed performance" - a concert of baroque music - into a whirlwind of entertainment.

These musicians wear their scholarship lightly, and do not forget that some of the composers we revere so much were the rock stars of their day.

This programme - their newest - was prepared in homage to Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the giants of his times. He, of course, was an inveterate recycler and rearranger of music, so I am sure he would approve of the way the musicans alter and arrange the music to suit their forces. They gave us a totally new perspective on old friends and favourites by hearing them in new arrangements.

"These people are really hot because, at their root, they are outstanding, serious musicians." - The Mail on Sunday
All of these arrangements, of course, are made with a sound basis in scholarship and musciality: we were regaled with a very familiar solo cello piece in not quite the usual rythms, - but then, Angela East was playing it as taken down by Anna Magdalena Bach, and not as tidied up by the eventual publishers!

The concert finished with a rousing rendition of the Toccata in D minor. And one of the audience was heard to say as he left that he "hadn't enjoyed a concert so much since Pink Floyd in 1968"!

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