The Baroque Bohemians

Telemann believed that a composer could gain a lifetime’s inspiration from gypsies’ improvisations, but exactly what gypsy music might be is hard to pin down. Whether it is Spanish, Romanian or Hungarian ‘gypsy’ tunes that we hear, musicologists from each country tell us that we are, in fact, enjoying the country’s own folk-tunes through the distorting prism of gypsy players. Jewish Klezmer music is also conflated with gypsy music: one of the earliest famous gypsy players was in fact a Jewish fiddler. The Roma themselves were recently pinned down by DNA evidence to having originated as a low caste tribe of musicians from Northern India called the Doma or Rom. Since they first appeared in 14th century Hungary, they spread through Europe, becoming must-have players for village dances, for aristocrats and for the courts. Although written source material is by its very nature limited, the Uhrovska Collecion – a Slovakian fiddler’s songbook from 1730 – provided a starting point for this disc, out of which we have explored, speculated and re-imagined the multi-layered relationships between folk and court music.
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"Of course gypsy music has inspired many musicians over the years. As you might expect from Red Priest they take some liberties. The booklet, which you definitely must read paints the picture of an evening of gypsy music round the camp fire. As they say in the booklet, a plethora of strange and wonderful things were to be heard. Some are familiar and some less so. We hear Biber, Telemann, Byrd, Handel and of course Vivaldi. Less known composers include Campra, Richard Nicholson, Marcin Mielczewski. Adam Summerhays, who is described as a multi-instrumentalist has arranged various pieces wonderfully. Listen out for strains of "Blackadder". An excellent recording, very enjoyable and light-hearted. You must read the amusing booklet. If you get the chance to see and hear Red Priest live then make every effort to get there. You will not be disappointed." - Anonymous

"You can't beat Red Priest live, but this is the next best thing. A large swathe of this release has been played live in recent concerts, and it comes over very well. The fairly recent addition of Adam Summerhayes has also brought something new to the table. Excellent!" - James T

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