High Priest

With Priest on the Run, the early-music ensemble Red Priest (the nickname of famed Venetian master Antonio Vivaldi) presents a delightful collection of diverse selections.

The members of the group — Piers Adams on recorder, Julia Bishop on violin, Angela East on cello and viola da gamba, and Julian Rhodes on harpsichord — perform with equal aplomb as soloists or ensemble players. The pieces offered here range from Spanish ricercars to a concerto by Vivaldi, showing a commitment to extending the scope of what's considered early music.

The "Gypsy" Sonata of Georg Phillip Telemann (RealAudio excerpt) sparkles with earnestness and fervor, with Adams and Bishop matching phrase lengths and articulations well. Adams, however, steals the show with a technique that is nothing short of astounding, though it can get a little thick at points, as on Johann Scmelzer's Cuckoo Sonata. Adams' more musical side emerges on later selections, such as the Aria (RealAudio excerpt) of George Friedrich Handel. The slow movement does not drag in the slightest, with cellist Angela East providing a capable grounding.

Julian Rhodes performs a pair of nice harpsichord interludes, most notably the Canión of Luis de Naváez (RealAudio excerpt)

These selections show the depth of the ensemble's playing and the diversity of its repertoire.