This choir is a lynchpin of York’s musical scene. Under director Nicholas Carter, the luxurious beauty of their sound belies their non-professional status.

The Micklegate Singers were a delight to listen to: ensemble top-notch, intonation secure, everything unhurried and under control.

Sacred music of the Reformation was interspersed with a related selection of more recent works. Sancte Deus by Tallis preceded the first two movements of Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G Minor. Well-judged speeds, strong solo contributions, and beautifully sustained quiet singing set the tone.

It was illuminating to hear next the piece on which Vaughan Williams based his famous Tallis Fantasia. We heard all nine of Tallis’s Tunes for Archbishop Parker’s Psalter: the choir found a different character for each one, and thus escaped the potential for monotony.

Stanford’s serene Beati quorum via was given ideal balance. James Lavino’s recent setting of the same text seemed insufficiently characterful in comparison. Two versions of Justorum anime, by Byrd and Stanford, made for another apt pairing, consistent with the thoughtfulness of the programme.

Byrd’s 1593 Ne irascaris Domine was a highlight, the lamentation of its second part touchingly sorrowful.

Hearing the remaining movements of the Mass in this context showed how much more than mere pastiche Vaughan Williams achieved.

The Credo’s …et sepultus est… was appropriately desolate, and the final Agnus Dei brought a rapt end to a rewarding evening.

- Robert Gammon