DESCRIBING the assembled sound of in Echo – cornetto, violin, trombone, viola da gamba, organ – is far from easy.

The opening chords that Gawain Glenton’s group unleashed on Thursday night were so replete with quirky textural marriages that it was difficult to know where first to direct attention.

Luckily this newly minted ensemble allowed us to spend the evening unpacking the talents and timbres of its constituents.

The vehicle for this was a carefully assembled patchwork of seventeenth-century pieces written by a dozen composers. Linking them all was the Hanseatic League, a community of ports running along the shores of Northern Europe that facilitated numerous artistic exchanges as well as those of economy and industry.

An easy flow between genres allowed the expertise of the individual performers to be showcased. Violinist Bojan Cicic swooped through a virtuosic tour de force by Baltzar, underpinned ingeniously by Silas Wollston at the keyboard. Glenton (cornetto) and Emily White (trombone) dazzled, in a Becker sonata, before Richard Boothby (viola da gamba) spun a compelling narrative with Schenck’s L’écho du Danube.

The evening’s centrepiece was Northern Soul, a new work by British composer Andrew Keeling. Although distinctive in its use of wayward folksong and jaunty syncopation, its contemplative tonal frictions resonated with its Renaissance bedfellows. Be sure to keep an ear out for in Echo.

Review by Richard Powell