Renowned recorder-player virtuoso Piers Adams has joined forces with electronic-trance-chill-ambient master Larry Lush to create Bach Side of the Moon (subtitled Baroque Adagios Reimagined), an album that Adams says “takes the music of the best 18th Century composers, frees it from the court, cloister and cathedral of its time, and gives it a surprisingly-natural new home in the 21st Century chill-out lounge.”
Press release by The Creative Service Company * thecreativeservicecompany.com
Adams is well-known worldwide for his performances with orchestras across the globe as well as shows and recordings as part of the flamboyant and genre-bending classical quartet Red Priest (their latest best-selling album, The Baroque Bohemians went to No. 1 on the UK Classical Charts). Larry Lush (aka Laurence Elliott-Potter) flies high in the electronic music and remix world with his own recordings, collaborations and productions. He has worked with and written with Mixmaster Morris, Coldcut and Faithless to name only a few of his prestige projects.
Now the duo Piers Adams & Larry Lush has taken sublime adagios composed by classical-music favorites Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Albinoni, Sammartini, Purcell and Gluck, and given the music a twist. Adams plays the main melodies on a variety of recorders (an internal duct flute), sometimes overdubbing several parts, while Lush lays down a richly-woven tapestry of electronic sounds that are spacey, dreamy soundscapes. The result is beautiful music for listening enjoyment, but that has added dimensions when used for relaxation or meditation. The recording has appeal to audiences who enjoy new age, classical-crossover or chill-out music.
More information on the Piers Adams & Larry Lush collaboration is available at the website (bachsideofthemoon.com). Their Bach Side of the Moon album, on Red Priest Recordings distributed internationally by Nimbus Records, is available as a CD at select stores or as digital download tracks at a variety of online sales sites such as CDBaby, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, eMusic and many others. The music also can be heard (and the duo can be followed) at many major streaming platforms such as Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Google Play and more.
“There is something about the music of the baroque masters, especially in their intimate, down-tempo works, which speaks directly to us across the ages telling universal tales of the yearning of the human spirit,” states Adams. “Music at that time was regarded as a spiritual activity, subtly using melody, harmony and inflection to remind us of our divine origins. I wanted to combine music from that era with new age music of today to create something spiritually powerful, uplifting and healing. The recorder is so often treated these days as a naive instrument – an image not helped by its association with the elementary school classroom – but in its heyday was regarded as a profound tool of expression, capable of imitating all the nuances of the human voice. I first heard recordings of the pioneering Dutch recorder virtuoso Frans Bruggen when I was a teenager. The sound lodged in my soul and set me on the musical course which has defined my life.
“Working with Larry Lush has been truly inspiring. He has taken the composers’ original backing instrumentation, which was generally strings and harpsichord, and sailed them through the vast universe of possibilities open to the 21st century sound artist, but always following and enhancing the melody lines, while transporting them to surprising new worlds of which Bach, Vivaldi and the other composers could scarcely have dreamed.”
Adams goes on to explain, “The album brings together 13 of my favorite slow pieces from the baroque era, mostly the central slow movements of sonatas and concertos. Although
the outer movements of these works are often full of excitement and showy virtuosity, the slow, inner movements contain the emotional core of the works.
“As befits the title of the CD, tracks 1, 10 and 13 are all by Johann Sebastian Bach, taken from three of his sonatas for flute and harpsichord. These are pieces I have performed in their original format the past four decades, and have always struck me as being particularly transcendent. Antonio Vivaldi’s music has a beautiful clarity and directness. Of his three compositions on this album, two are taken from recorder concertos. Track 11, ‘Largo,’ hails from a little-known ‘Chamber Concerto’, which epitomizes the Venetian spirit for which he is well-known and which led us to further that sentiment by introducing a chorus of mandolins. ‘Cantabile,’ performed on a tiny sopranino recorder, comes from Vivaldi’s famous ‘Goldfinch’ Concerto, as we imagine a lone bird riding the thermals on a warm summer’s day. Darker emotions come to the fore in ‘Adagio’ from a little-known concerto for oboe,” says Adams.
“The music of Georg Frederick Handel is often characterized by a comforting warmth and stateliness, and his two compositions presented here reflect this quality. Track 7 (‘Largo’) is the slow movement from one of his ‘trio sonatas’ for flute, violin and harpsichord, and Track 9 (‘Eternal Source of Light’) was originally written as a vocal piece. Tomasso Albinoni was a contemporary and Venetian compatriot of Vivaldi, and wrote many fine adagios, the two on this album both hailing from oboe concertos. Guiseppe Sammartini is probably known best to recorder players, as being the composer of the only substantial concerto for the soprano recorder, and Track 4, ‘Siciliano,’ is suffused with a sense of wistful longing and nostalgia with hope for redemption in the future. Mythological stories were constant themes in the baroque times and ‘Dido’s Lament’ from a Henry Purcell opera is a tale of death while Gluck’s famous flute melody in ‘Dance of the Blessed Spirits’ conjures up the underworld.”
Piers Adams, who grew up in England’s Thames Valley, is considered one of the greatest recorder players of our age, recognized by major media (the New York Times noted his “astonishing, all-out virtuosity”) for his breadth of repertoire and uniquely compelling style which boldly transcends the instrument’s traditional limitations. After garnering a BSc degree in Physics, Adams embraced a musical career, studying with Dutch recorder pioneer Kees Boeke, debuting on disc and winning awards with Vivaldi’s recorder concertos, resurrecting forgotten 19th Century Viennese recorder music, commissioning and debuting new recorder music, performing with orchestras around the world in renowned concert halls, giving private concerts for HRH The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh, playing with the Dodo Street Band, and appearing on major film soundtracks including the Harry Potter series. His quartet, Red Priest, has become one of the foremost baroque ensembles in the world with more than 1000 concerts, seven albums and many TV appearances.
Larry Lush, inspired by the electronic albums of Tomita and Jean-Michel Jarre, established himself as an innovative and creative producer, remixer and keyboardist in the London underground music scene of the Nineties. He first teamed with Philip Earle, started Friends Lovers and Family (which hit with “Children’s Stories”), worked with the artist Faithless, and had major success when his remix of “You Got the Love” by The Source featuring Candi Staton went to No. 2 in the UK and was used in the last scenes of the series finale of the popular TV show “Sex in the City.” Lush also co-produced with Mixmaster Morris “The Irresistible Force Remix” of Coldcut’s “Autumn Leaves,” co-wrote with Casper Pound (as The London School of Electronics) the albums The Deepest Cut and Electronic Dub, composed as Quietman much of the album Shhh, contributed to film soundtracks, and in 2018 released Crystal Conscience under his own name. Lush is currently living in Portugal.
“Bach Side of the Moon is my latest attempt to create something new, relevant and meaningful with music of the past,” explains Adams. “In making this album I have truly poured my soul into the melody lines of some of the most sublime music ever composed, in the hope, in turn, of touching the souls of listeners.”
For more information and music samples, see bachsideofthemoon.com