Madrigali Redux gave a concert of world premieres on Saturday. Although they gave every impression of being an established and experienced group, they were actually brought together and rehearsed especially for this concert by Professor William Brooks.

Their excellent pianist, Mark Hutchinson, performed four premieres of solo piano works as well as supporting the singers: David Power’s pleasant Seven perhaps had the least connection with the theme of madrigals that informed the evening; James Williamson’s rich and sexy Gesualdo Fragments took up the theme more closely; Timothy Raymond’s Cruel, unkind… was dramatic and atmospheric; and Peter Reynolds’ Ecco Mormorar was charmingly understated.

Brooks’ Tracce, based on a Petrarch sonnet, rattled and hissed with atmosphere.

The amplification and microphones, which did not promise well at first sight, were immediately justified.

Jonathan Brigg’s Scat-Man was an extraordinary text sound piece. Michael Parkin’s Two Bridge Songs was a powerful close to the first half, climaxing in an increasingly frantic dance.

Alto Stef Conner’s clever and amusing Rustico and Alibech was accompanied by a rather distracting projected translation which would have sat happily in the programme.

Steve Crowther’s Ginsberg Settings first brought cheerful animated skeletons to life and then followed with a moving and heartfelt setting of Ginsberg’s lovely New Stanzas for Amazing Grace.

The concert ended with Jon Hughes’ Aestas, accompanied by a recorded background of fragments of vocal and piano sounds. The singers excelled in this work, and it is to be hoped that this will not be the only time that they come together to perform in public.

- Charles Hunt