THE churches of Ryedale really come into their own as recital arenas during the festival. The first of three I attended over the week-end brought together the clarinettist Joseph Shiner and pianist Somi Kim, with soprano Alice Privett joining them in Schubert’s The Shepherd On The Rock.

Lutoslawski’s Dance Preludes made a pleasing opener, its moods alternating between darting staccatos and wistful slower sections. There was much finesse from both players in Mozart’s Divertimento in B flat, K.439b, an arrangement of jottings for three basset horns. Composer-in-residence Sally Beamish was on hand to introduce Tom’s Turn, a three-minute sorbet inspired by her younger son. Based on its opening motif, it developed an irresistible momentum.

The Schubert was utterly magical. Privett’s beautifully focused tone turned the shepherd-lad’s expression of loneliness into a real tear-jerker, while the return of spring brought back joy and caprice, shared equally between the trio. Here is a soprano whose poise and musicality suggest another Felicity Lott in the making.

Review: John Tomlinson/Christopher Glynn, Easingwold Church, July 23

THE opportunity to hear Sir John Tomlinson’s magnificent bass as Wotan was too good to miss. This was Wotan’s Journey, his own compilation of music of Wotan and the Wanderer from Wagner’s Ring. It consisted of eight extracts, ingeniously coupled by Christopher Glynn’s deft pianism throughout much taxing accompaniment. It was sung by rote in German, with Tomlinson’s own linking English narrative available in the programme.

Wearing a long cloak, he roamed restlessly between altar and nave, sitting or standing at points between. Here was Tomlinson in all his pomp, distilling Wotan’s world-weary moodiness, sometimes intense, sometimes remorseful, eventually resigned to immolating himself in Valhalla.

It was too much to expect that a similar style would suit Schubert’s Schwanengesang in a new English translation by Jeremy Sams. Many of the 12 songs needed a more intimate, altogether less operatic approach. But the Wotan made a memorable half hour.

Review: Elias Quartet/Beamish, St Cuthbert’s, Crayke, July 23

FOLLOWING the Tomlinson event there was late-night chamber music, atmospherically candlelit. Sally Beamish added her viola to what would have been the full Elias Quartet, with Robin Ireland standing in for their absent viola. The centrepiece was Mozart’s G minor String Quintet, K.516.

G minor was a key of special significance for Mozart and invariably reveals more of his soul than any other. The well-integrated group built a comprehensive picture over its first three movements, so that the finale’s dreamy opening heralded catharsis in the closing Allegro.

Ideal balance would have required a touch more cello, but the overall effect was extremely satisfying. Sally Beamish’s Epilogue, an ingenious theme and variations in reverse order, based on Tallis’s Canon, made a touching closer.