Priest, pirates and Adam and Eve.
Brinkburn Music Summer Festival, Brinkburn Priory, Northumberland.
The 12th Century priory near Rothbury found itself with a run of full houses for the first weekend of this year's festival.
Hardly surprising, really. The music started with the instrumental quartet Red Priest in an off-the-wall Pirates of the Baroque programme, recalling a pre-copyright age when composers were virtually free to plunder the ideas of their rivals. Vivaldi, Handel, Corelli and Telemann all, it seems, flew the musical skull and crossbones.
The King's Singers followed their Saturday afternoon masterclass for boys' choir with what was hopefully the first of many Brinkburn performances.
A first-half sequence of sacred music spanning five centuries held us rapt. But there's another side to The King's Singers with their hugely entertaining wordless vocalisations. They were there in Paul Patterson's re-write of the Adam and Eve story, Time Piece, in which he impresses her with his state-of-the-art wristwatch ( cue sound effects you wouldn't believe the human voice could create. Then there were the American religious songs popularised by Paul Robeson, a wordless jazz ensemble and a spine tingling My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose. Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort and Players made their first recording at Brinkburn in 1989, a reconstruction of A Venetian Coronation 1595, leading McCreesh to found this festival. It trans- lates well to Brinkburn.
Next weekend features pianist Joanna MacGregor, the Gabrielis, The Lindsays and the Scottish Ensemble with violinist Nicola Benedetti. Box office tel: (01289) 330999.